You are probably thinking that this little lake was the unfortunate target of some prankster or maybe it was a crazy publicity stunt for Breast Cancer Awareness. But you would be wrong to think that.
This is Hillier Lake, a small (1/3 mile long) salt lake located on Middle Island, one of the larger islands in the Recherche Archipelago, off the coast of Western Australia, just south of Cape Arid National Park.
Hillier Lake was first discovered in 1802 by navigator and map maker Matthew Flinders who took samples from the lake and wrote about it in his journal.
The water in this lake is actually captured ocean water. For eons the process of water evaporation and regular refilling of ocean water has caused the salt content to become extremely high, evident by the thick rim of salt on its shoreline. Not surprisingly, salt was extracted for human consumption in the early 20th century. But that practice ended after six years.
Hillier Lake’s only real claim to fame is the other-worldly color of its water. Depending on the time of year, and the angle at which you view it, the water may appear as though someone just stirred a little Koolaid into the water, or that someone replaced all the water with Pepto-Bismol.
The reason that this little lake sports such a unique color is still in debate, but most scientists studying this lake, suspect a micro-algae known by its scientific name, Dunaliella Salina. Its probably a good guess, because this lake is filled with it. Dunaliella produces carotenoids, a pigment which is responsible for making carrots orange.
The north side of Middle Island is lined with eucalyptus and paperback trees. A narrow strip of land, about 150 feet wide, separate the lake from the Pacific Ocean. The water is safe for swimming, but you won’t have the pleasure of doing so. It is not possible for tourists to visit the island.
You may, however, consider booking a charter plane and flying over Middle Island to capture this blushing beauty in pictures. In fact, the best way to view the little lake is by air. The colors are more intense when viewed from above. As unique as Hillier Lake is, it is not the only naturally pink lake in the world.
Here are a few others: