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the Pink Lake

The Mystery of the Pink Lake

Lake Hillier from the air. Only a narrow, overgrown strip of dunes separates the lake from the sea. Its water is always pink – no matter the season 

In Australia there is a lake whose water is completely pink. Lake Hillier is located on a small island and was discovered more than 200 years ago – and yet it still puzzles researchers to this day.

It was exactly 212 years ago, in 1802, when the British explorer Matthew Flinders was probably the first person to climb the highest peak on the Australian island of Middle Island. Flinders was on an expedition off Australia’s south coast and wanted to get an overview of the archipelago from the 185 meter high mountain. What he saw from up there must have left him speechless: Amid the intense green of the island stretched something that glowed with a far more intense color: a pink lake bordered by perfectly white sandy beaches.

linders shortly thereafter announced the discovery of the wondrous pink saltwater lake and also mentioned it in his notes. At the time, the researcher did not find out what the unusual coloring was all about. And the mystery hasn’t been solved to this day.

The island of pink lake, later christened Lake Hillier, remains as pristine as it was 200 years after its discovery. Middle Island and all other 104 islands of the so-called Recherche Archipelago are under strict nature protection.

A bird's-eye view of the play of colors from the sea, beach, forest and lake.
A bird’s-eye view of the play of colors from the sea, beach, forest and lake.

Also, give a look at our article on San Servolo – Venice’s “Island of the Mad”

Lake water is permanently pink

The special thing about Lake Hillier: It is constantly pink. Even if the water is removed and placed in a vessel, the color does not change.

This is what it looks like when you stand on the shore of the lake.
This is what it looks like when you stand on the shore of the lake. 

There are more lakes in Australia that have hues of pink water, such as nearby Pink Lake. Also known for its pink color is Lake Retba in Senegal, also known as Lac Rose. However, unlike Lake Hillier, these lakes only show their special water color under certain weather conditions and lighting conditions. And here scientists were able to clearly prove that algae or certain bacteria are responsible for the pink tones.

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