There are so many incredible natural phenomena in the world and I won’t lie, I learn most of them from David Attenborough and I don’t tend to see them in person. I haven’t been to lots of natural wonders in the world and one day I hope to, but for now this pink lake in Melbourne is certainly one of the most impressive natural phenomenons I think I’ve ever seen.
If your eyes are bulging out of your head and you’re thinking how on earth is this possible but also it’s kind of amazing, you’d be right! It’s certainly amazing and the reason for its pink hue is really cool.
Why Is The Lake Pink?
This pink lake in Melbourne isn’t the only one of its kind. There are a handful around the world and they tend to draw visitors far and wide. You’ll find one in Western Australia, another in Senegal, even some in Canada, Spain and Azerbaijan.
These pink lakes occur when there’s a very high concentration of salt and very hot temperatures. This combination brings out a specific kind of algae that produce a red pigment, which uses the sunlight to create more energy and thus turns the lake pink.
Fun fact, flamingos eat this algae and that is why they develop a pink color. When they’re born, flamingos are really only grey, but as they eat brine shrimp and this specific kind of algae they turn pink over time. Who knew this pink lake in Melbourne would give me a fun science lesson?
How To Visit The Pink Lake In Melbourne
The pink lake is located in Westgate Park, which isn’t the easiest to get to from the city but still totally doable. While the main mode of transport in Melbourne are trams, you’ll need to take a bus to get to the pink lake.
There are two buses you can take to get to Westgate Park, the 234 or the 235. Depending on where you’re starting, one will be easier than the other.
If you’re coming from St. Kilda or south of the city, then the 234 bus is your best bet. You can get it from City Road near the South Melbourne Market and get off at the last stop, Garden City. From there it’s about a 15 minute walk to the park. Westgate Park is near the freeway, so you will run into a fair amount of traffic on your walk, but there are very safe pedestrian walkways and bike paths.
If you’re coming from the CBD, the 235 bus will be best for you. There are several stops in the city but you can get it from Southern Cross Station, Bourke St./Queen St. and a few others. The bus will drop you on Todd Rd., just a five minute walk from the pink lake.
When Can You See The Pink Lake In Melbourne?
Because the lake needs very high temperatures for it to turn pink, you’ll only be able to see it during the summer time. According to Parks Victoria, you’ll need a summer with high temperatures and very little rainfall in order for the lake to turn pink. Come fall (or autumn, depending on your country of residence) the lake will go back to its normal color.
What kinds are high temperatures are we talking? For the lake to turn lipstick pink, you’re looking at temperatures that really exceed 100 degrees fahrenheit (40 degrees celsius). You don’t need this kind of consistent temperatures, as it wasn’t nearly that hot when I went, but a hot summer is what is needed to cause the reaction.
What’s The Pink Lake In Melbourne Like?
Honestly the lake is so cool. I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to expectations or that it may no longer be very pink because of the cooler temperatures. I was totally wrong and it’s just as amazing in person as it looks in the photos.
However, the lake does smell and I found it to be a bit of a sulphuric smell. It’s not as offensive as places like Rotorua or Yellowstone, but it still was a little unpleasant. Although there’s no evidence that this algae is unsafe, experts recommend you don’t go in the water. If nothing else, you don’t want to have the smell following you around.
The pink lake in Melbourne is an awesome experience and if you’re in the area during the summer it’s well worth a visit to see this candy-colored lake in person. Nothing can prepare you for the shock you’ll get at seeing liquid cotton candy in front of you made by nature and not the nice man at the fair.
It may not be a big deal to some, but for me this was just really cool and I’m so glad I got to see it. When I return to Australia, maybe I’ll see the one on the other side of the country. Have you seen a pink lake? What was it like for you?