I remember very clearly the first time a friend told me that I HAD to visit a “pink lake” while I was in Australia. She informed me that one of the coolest things she had ever heard about Australia was the fact that there were actual lakes that were… pink. I wasn’t too shocked because I knew Australia was going to be the most amazing adventure of my life, but I still couldn’t believe my ears. From then on, I knew it was going to be a goal of mine to find one as close to Perth as possible so that I could check that one off my bucket list.
Just 3 months later, I was on my way up the north coast of Australia in search of Hutt Lagoon, a supposedly pink lake. Again, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Originally, I wanted to travel to Esperance, but I soon discovered that it wasn’t the easiest place to get to – especially for someone without a car. As my friends and I did a little bit more research, we decided that Hutt Lagoon in Yallabatharra (yup, that’s a mouthful) was the way to go.
Just merely driving up the north coast was one of the most fun adventures thus far. Whenever we were driving early enough in the morning, we could see wallabies and kangaroos in the fields on the side of the road! However, I definitely got a glimpse at what the Australian outback truly looks like: huge, open fields of sand and grass. It was crazy to see how quickly the scenery could change from a cute town into barely-touched land!
After driving about 6 hours, we arrived at the location Google Maps told us was the Pink Lake at Hutt Lagoon. We parked near a group of cars with other tourists and headed to check out the lake. However, as soon as we got close enough, we could tell that this was not at all what we were expecting. The lake was completely dried up and brown! We walked toward the dried-up ground of the lake – completely disheartened and disappointed. We had driven 6 hours for literally nothing.
But… as we continued walking, we noticed that the ground was changing from dirt to salt. And not just any salt… pink salt. This was a good sign, because it meant we had found the correct pink lake, even if it didn’t have any water at the moment. We spent a solid amount of time trying to take pictures of the areas where there were small puddles of water, because in those areas you could at least see that it was SUPPOSED to be a pink lake. Even though we were still disappointed, we had a great time digging up pink salt crystals and taking pictures together, so we headed back to the car. We decided to drive a tiny bit farther down the road, desperately hoping there would be some section of the pink lake that WASN’T dried up…
…and we were SO glad we did. After driving another 5 minutes, we could see a lake in the distance! From our view, it looked blue, but we figured we’d check it out. As we got closer and closer, we realized that it was actually a pink lake! The pink color – which comes from a the high salinity of the water plus a salt-loving algae, Dunaliella salina – was visible when we were close enough so that the blue sky wasn’t reflecting off of the lake. We couldn’t believe our eyes – we truly had found the pink lake, and it was astonishingly beautiful!
We spent the afternoon floating in the lake (a high salinity means it is MUCH easier for people to float!) and taking as many pictures as we could. The water truly was the saltiest water I have ever swam in, but it was still refreshing on that hot, Australian day. Once we had our fill of taking pictures, we were extremely grateful to return to our accommodations: salty and in need of a shower, but 100% satisfied with our decision to travel to the pink lake at Hutt Lagoon.