Lake Hillier, Australia - The Traveller


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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lake Hillier, Australia


Lake Hiller – A Saline Lake

Lake Hillier, a saline lake is located on the edge of Middle Island. It is the biggest of the islands and islets which make up the Recherche Archipelago in the Goldfields Esperance area, off the south coast of Western Australia. It is specially known for its pink colour.

A long and thin shore tends to divide the Southern Ocean from the lake. The Lake Hillier is said to be 600 metres in length by around 250 meters wide. It is surrounded by a rim of sand together with dense woodland of paper-bark and eucalyptus trees together with a narrow strip of sand dunes which are covered by vegetation extricating its northern edge from the northern coast of Middle Island.

 The most appealing feature of the lake is its pink colour and the vibrant colour is said to be permanent. It does not seem to alter when the water is taken in a container. The best mode of transport to view the lake is by air. From space, the lake appears a solid bubble gum pink. Lake Hillier’s colour is appreciated best when seen from the air where it contrasts intensely with the lush forest surrounding it.

Pink Water Not Toxic

Travellers sometimes get dropped off on Middle Island by helicopters tours or cruise ships. The lake water looks more transparent though still very pink and even in a glass or a bucket; the pink hue of the water still tends to remain. The pink water is not toxic and due to its salinity one would bob like a cork.

No one is really sure why the lake appears to be pink and scientists are of the belief that the colour comes from a dye created by bacteria that lives in the salt crusts, while others are of the belief the source of the pink colour could be due to the presence of the organism Dunaliella salina.

The Middle Island’s pink lake dates back to 1802 journals of explorer Matthew Flinders who had climbed Middle Island’s highest peak in order to survey the surrounding waters when he had discovered the amazing lake. Middle Island and its pink lake are situated in the pristine wilderness and the only way to take a look of this lake is from the air. One could explore the islands and the wide life of the Recherche Archipelago from Esperance, on a cruise.

Important Bird Area - IBA

In good weather condition, the lake tends to turn a soft shade of pink due to the high concentration of algae in the water. The lake has been recognised by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area – IBA since it tends to support important number of native as well as migratory birds.

The Esperance Museum has on display material regarding the local history, which includes pioneer memorabilia, shipwreck items together with pieces of the US Sky Lab which had fallen on the earth in Esperance region in 1980, Aboriginal artefacts as well as antiques.

There is an artificial reef immediately off the end of the town jetty which seems to be a good spot for strolling or for fishing. Several countries around the world have pink lakes some of which are Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Senegal and Spain. The lakes are said to be protected national parks and are a sanctuary for migratory birds, divers, flora and fauna.

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