When one thinks of Australia striking images of the Sydney Opera House, sweeping beaches, and adorable kangaroos normally come to mind. But did you know that the Land Down Under’s also famous for a well sought after Instagram-worthy phenomena? That’s right, Australia’s also home to a handful of bubblegum pink lakes scattered across the country. The most famous of which is Lake Hillier, a strawberry milkshake-esque body of water situated near the coast of Middle Island, Western Australia. But what exactly accounts for the whimsical cotton candy hue of these rare lakes, you may ask?
Though the cause may not be known for sure, over the years scientists have agreed that pink lakes owe their color to Halobacteria, and a type of salt-tolerant algae called Dunaliella salina, both of which exude carotenoid red pigments. In fact, research conducted in 2015 in Lake Hillier by scientists from the Extreme Microbiome Project (XMP) backs up this belief as they discovered “10 species of salt-loving bacteria and several species of Dunaliella algae—all of which are some shade of pink or red,” according to Discovery.
Unfortunately, not all Australian pink lakes are able to retain their IG-worthy hue. In a report by ABC News it’s stated that the once aptly named Pink Lake in Esperance, Western Australia lost its color over a decade ago due to “changes in natural water flow, reduced evaporation, and salt harvesting.” To elaborate, environmental scientist Tilo Massenbauer explains "At this stage, the organism that turns the lake pink is still there. But it's not producing that beta carotene because the salt levels are not as high,"
Nevertheless, a few bubblegum pink lakes have endured the test of time. Scroll through to get a peak at them below.