Esperance’s South Coast is one of Australia’s most unique landscapes. Tourists from all over the world flock to see Western Australia’s famous pink lake. But more recently, expecting a pink lake to be a lake that is pink, tourists are increasingly disappointed by what they discover.
The lake once brilliantly and unexpectedly pink, has begun to fade, so much so, that the name of the lake is now being revised.
The local tourism industry is so concerned by the disappearance of the pink colouring that leaders are lobbying now to remove any mention of pink from the lake’s name. Pink Lake is not to be confused with Lake Hillier another bright pink lake just 6 hours away.
Lake Hillier, just 6 hours away from Pink Lake in Esperance, shot to fame after aerial footage was taken and circulated the web reaching millions of spectators across the globe. Lake Hillier unlike Pink Lake, is still a bright pink colour.
Tourism Esperance chairman Wayne Halliday suggested to the ABC that the original name of the lake will likely be restored to avoid confusing the two lakes:
"We are currently seeking to have the Pink Lake, just the lake name, reverted back to its original gazetted name of Lake Spencer," Mr Halliday said.
"We are continually fielding enquiries and confusion about the location of Pink Lake and Lake Hillier."
According to local conservationists, the loss of the Pink colour is most likely to do with the building of the new rail line and highway. The construction was responsible for cutting off the natural flow of water into the salt lake system.
The lake gets its pink hue from the beta-carotine pigment (the same pigment that makes carrots orange) which accumulates in certain species of algae. The super salinity of the lake encourages the growth of this algae so the reduction in salinity results in a reduction of the pink pigment in the water.
Salt mining on the lake was also a contributing factor to the loss of its vibrancy.
While tourism Esperance is pushing for a name change, many residents are hoping to see the return of the lake’s former pink hue.
The solution which would require engineering to restore the natural accumulation of salt flats to the lake will need government approval and time.
Hopefully, WA will see the lake blush pink again, before the name is changed. However, those visiting the area should take a trip to Lake Hillier, whose pink hue is still very much evident.
Lead Image: The Pink Lake, Nell Photography