The famous ‘Pink Lake’ in Melbourne

I met a German girl in my hostel room not too long ago. She wasn’t here for very long, and for this reason was eager to see as much as she could in the city. She asked if I would join her on a bike ride using the Melbourne Bike Share service in the city and for just $3, you can ride for 24 hours. A pretty good deal, the only thing is you have to park the bike within 45 minutes and use another one. I guess this guarantees bikes at every station, and as there were plenty in and around the city it wasn’t an issue.

But back to the beginning, I said yes to joining and off we went.


Now this lake wasn’t too far from the CBD, roughly 7km and would take about 30 minutes to ride there. Much less in a car. It took us around 25 minutes from the bike station we used on the south side of the river and was pretty flat the whole way.


Now to get here from the route we took meant going through an industrial part of the city. And for that I assumed that maybe the pink was the result of some kind of toxic chemical reaction from waste and things. But that isn’t the case.

After giving it a quick Google this ABC News article provides some info on this odd phenomenon, and funnily enough mentions that many people will also probably believe it is from a toxic spill.

Apparently the main cause is salt. When salt levels are higher than usual it changes colour, but a few other factors need to be in place.

The webpage states:

‘Although the lake already has lots of salt — it is a salt lake after all — it only turns pink when salt levels are higher than usual.

There are also a few other ingredients needed to turn the lake pink: high temperatures, lots of sunlight and a lack of rainfall.

It’s in these conditions that algae growing in the lake’s salt crust produce a red pigment, called beta carotene, as part of their photosynthesis process.

The result: a spectacular deep-pink lake.’

And it really is pink! It was funny to go through such an industrial area to find this tourist haven in the middle, busy with people taking selfies and updating their Instagram story. I was one of them of course as some of you that follow me there will have already seen. But I don’t blame anyone for doing so, as this is a surreal sight you would struggle to find anywhere else in the world. Australia is lucky however, it has a few of these dotted around the country.

No filters were used in these pictures, it really was as pink as it looks. I was worried that I may be left disappointed with a slightly pink scene that was overly edited when I looked at other peoples pictures… but I was pleasantly surprised.

We didn’t spend too long here as we needed to find a bike station, and got there with about two minutes to spare. It wasn’t much more of a charge for going over the time, but we tried to sick with the $3 deal and gave us more urgency to ride around and not stay in one place for too long.

Another interesting route we took was the F1 track that was recently used in the Melbourne Grand Prix. Although cars (not many though) were using it and it is accessible to the public, the fences and seating areas were still there. It was pretty cool to ride it and it was fun to imagine what it would be like for a car to take these tight bends at such high speeds.


I really enjoyed this day, what was just going to be a day off work turned into a very productive day indeed. And more exercise than I have done in a long time, talk about killing two birds with one stone. This was one of the first ‘touristy’ things I did in the city, and I am glad I got to share it with you.

What do you think of the Pink Lake? Have you seen it or another one somewhere before? Let me know in the comments!


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