Every traveller who is in the know is aware that Western Australia has some of the most incredible natural wonders. The beautiful pink lakes of Western Australia near the town of Esperance are no exception and have to be seen to be believed. The region is famous for the bubblegum pink lakes of Lake Hillier and the Pink Lake. While the Pink Lake is only a stones throw from Esperance, Lake Hillier is found on Middle Island, part of 100 stunning islands in the Recherche Archipelago.
Is it true the Pink Lake is not pink now?
Yes, the Pink Lake has not been pink since 2007! However, just recently scientists have been investigating how to make the lake return to its former bubblegum pink glory.
At this stage, the scientists believe the tiny organisms that are responsible for making the lake pink are still living there. But they’re not producing the beta-carotene responsible for the pink hues because the salt levels are not as high as before. If they are able to re-introduce higher salt levels it could become pink again. Performing this kind of work will be an Australian first and we hope it will work.
Should this stop you from visiting the Pink Lakes?
Of course not! If the pink lakes are the only thing you want to see around Esperance, then there is still the option of visiting Middle Island and seeing the incredible Lake Hillier. We think this is even better than Pink Lake as you can genuinely appreciate the Pink Hues contrasted to the deep blues of the Southern Ocean.
How to get to the Pink Lakes of Western Australia
The best way to visit the Pink Lakes is to get to Esperance. Esperance is roughly 720 kilometres (447 miles) southeast of Perth. Most people will choose to drive the eight hours or take a short two-hour flight from Perth. If visiting from interstate or abroad and needing a vehicle to explore, Europcar has great deals on rental cars from their base in Perth. Another option is to take a guided tour from Perth.
Once you have arrived in Esperance, it is straightforward to visit the Recherche Archipelago. Here you will find Middle Island and the wonderfully pink Lake Hillier. There are several boat tours, but the best way to truly experience Lake Hillier is by a scenic flight.
Goldfields Air Services’ operate the 2 hour return flight from the Esperance airport. From the comfort of a modern aircraft you will be able to take in some of the most magnificent scenery the south coast of Australia has to offer. Depending on the time of year, you may also have the chance to see a range of wildlife. Dolphins, Seals, Whales, Turtles, as well as Dingos Emus and Kangaroos, are all regular sightings on the tour.
What Else you should not miss around Esperance
- Visit the National Parks around Esperance
- Snorkel or dive the Recherche Archipelago
- See spectacular Lake Hillier from the air
Top things to do around the Pink Lakes of Western Australia
Although not often as pink as it used to be, Pink Lake still makes a great day out. Pink Lake is only three kilometres (1.9 miles) from the town of Esperance. For a chance to get some great photos, there is a lookout along Eleven Mile Beach Road, a short 15 minutes drive from the Esperance Visitors Centre.
Lake Hillier is an unbelievably pink lake on Middle Island, the biggest of the islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago, around 130 kilometres (70 miles) from Esperance. One of the best ways to take in the view, is from the air. However if you would like to see it up close, Esperance Island Cruises have full-day boat cruises to Middle Island. Cruises often leave early in the morning and return in the evening.
The Recherche Archipelago – Snorkel or dive
There is over 100 islands in the Recherche Archipelago, so it is no surprise that it offers world class diving and snorkelling. Esperance Diving & Fishing can help organise offshore diving or snorkelling trips for you.
There’s an abundance of things to see and do around Esperance. You can enjoy walking, fishing, cycling, scuba diving, whale-watching (May to October), surfing, 4WD tours and kayaking. Worth visiting is The Esperance Museum. It has fascinating displays about local history, Aboriginal artefacts and pieces of the US Sky Lab, that plunged to earth around Esperance in 1980.
Visit nearby national parks
Esperance has with not one, but three stunning National Parks close by. It’s the gateway to Cape Le Grand National Park, Cape Arid National Park and Stokes National Park. Each park has its own unique characteristics but all possess incredible coastal scenery, beautiful native plants and animals, tranquil bushwalks and impressive campgrounds.
Hit the world famous beaches
Pack some lunch and meander along the Great Ocean Drive Tourist Loop to a series of stunning white-sand beaches. Swim or snorkel in the tranquil, crystalline waters of Blue Haven Beach and Twilight Cove, just a brief drive from town. You could even hit the surf at West Beach, Fourth Beach or Observatory Beach that are some to some excellent waves on the right day. Don’t miss Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park. It is one of Australia’s whitest beaches, where kangaroos can be found sunbathing on the sand.
Immerse yourself in natural surroundings
A great way to discover nature is on Woody Island, a small island in the Recherche Archipelago. It is home to Woody Lake Nature Reserve, an official Ramsar Wetland filled with precious bird life. Take a stroll along some of the islands boardwalks and experience close encounters with curious birds and lazy lizards or take the dive into the clear water of Shearwater Bay and discover marine life via a snorkelling trail. Woody Island Eco Tours will get you there.
Wander among wildflowers
Between June and September, the Esperance wildflower season comes into action. You will experience an incredible array of colours from the more abundant blooms like native orchids and banksias. See coastal wildflowers lining the granite hills and heathlands of Cape Le Grand National Park or admire an indoor exhibition of more than 400 wildflower species at the Esperance Wildflower Festival which takes place in September.
Where to stay in Esperance
Esperance is a popular tourist destination and during peak times such as Easter and Summer Holidays, people from Perth flock here in numbers to see the pink lakes of Western Australia. There are plenty of places to stay in Esperance but be aware that it can get busy. You will be able to find a place to suit your travelling style from luxury serviced apartments to caravan parks by the sea.
Family friendly Options
Families will enjoy the Esperance Bay Holiday Park. They offer a variety of brick self contained chalets, basic cabins and well maintained grassed sites to suit tents, camper trailers and sites with concrete slabs for motor homes and caravans.
For a touch of pure luxury you could check out Esperance Island View Apartments with its stunning panoramic views of the Recherche Archipelago; or Tranquil Retreat which rests on the margins of Woody Lake Nature Reserve.