Lake Hillier is a salty pink lake in Australia

Pink Lake Hiller.

Hiller is the most unusual lake in Australia and probably the most amazing in the world. Its main feature is the pink color of the water. The lake is located in southwestern Australia, on Middle Island, one of the 105 small islands that make up the Exploration Archipelago. Pink Lake is surrounded by sand and eucalyptus forest around its edges.

Hiller Lake is unique in its own way. Every year travelers from different countries come to it to see that the water is really an unnatural pink color, even if you pour it into a separate vessel, and to admire this creation of nature. The lake is spectacularly bordered by a white belt of salt, and from a bird’s-eye view it looks as if it was painted by Monet, who showed his imagination to the full, or Van Gogh, who muted the colors a bit. Not surprisingly, tourists often take pictures of the Pink Lake, just being in the air, to keep the vivid impressions for a lifetime and once again be convinced of the ingenuity of nature.

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Video: Lake Hillier

Why is the water pink?

This question comes to mind first and is asked by almost every traveler who has visited this anomalous place. But the answer is still not found. Unlike other colored lakes in the world, such as Retba in Senegal and the salt water in San Francisco Bay, the origin of the pink color of Hillier Lake is not unequivocally proven.

At first, the color was thought to be the result of dye created by the organisms Dunaliella and Halobacteria that live in saltwater reservoirs. Another hypothesis says that the pink color is due to red halophilic bacteria. It has been suggested that the reason for the pink color of the water is due to a combination of a certain salinity of the water and specific microorganisms. But tests carried out in 1950 did not confirm these assumptions. In the following years a number of studies were also carried out, but the mystery of Hiller Lake has remained unsolved, not in a hurry stirring the minds of scientists.

Lake location

Hiller Lake is located at the very edge of Middle Island, separated from the ocean only by a small strip of eucalyptus trees surrounding the reservoir on all sides. The evergreen trees provide a splendid contrast to the landscape, looking especially bright against the pink lake.

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As for the size of the lake, you can not say that it is large. Its width is about 600 meters. Due to its oval shape, the lake is often compared to a fabulous cake with delicious pink icing.

History of Lake Pink

The first mention of Lake Hillier dates back to 1802. British navigator and hydrographer Matthew Flinders stopped on Middle Island and spotted the unusual lake on his way to Sydney.

Seal hunters and whalers stopped on the island in 1820-1840, and in the early twentieth century salt began to be extracted from the pink water. But the resource quickly dried up, and in 6 years, salt mining was discontinued. The lake has not been used for industrial purposes since.

The Legend of Lake Hillier

This mysterious place has its own, very beautiful legend that explains the pink color of the water. It is known to few sailors and rare travelers.

In the seventeenth century, in the waters surrounding the island, a ship was caught in a violent storm and sank. The only surviving sailor was thrown onto uninhabited land. The struggle with the elements severely injured him. Because of his broken limbs, every movement hurt the sailor, and getting food became torture. A few weeks later, distraught with pain, loneliness, and hopelessness, he exclaimed: “I would sell my soul to the devil if this nightmare would cease!” Then a man came out of the shade of a nearby tree with two jugs in his hands, one containing blood and the other milk. He walked leisurely to the small inner lake of the island and said: “The blood will help you to forget what pain is. The milk will take away your hunger. All you have to do is take a dip in those waters.” Then the stranger poured the contents of the jars into the lake, which changed its color. The sailor, who thought he had lost his mind, slowly stepped into the suspicious pink water and dove in, and when he came up, the strange stranger was nowhere to be found. To the traveler’s surprise, there was no trace of fractures or hunger. Later, pirates landed on this island and took the poor sailor captive. The pirates were later alerted to the fact that the prisoner felt no pain and needed no food. Considering it a bad omen, the superstitious pirates threw the sailor overboard, not believing in his mystical story of healing. By the way, that the original name of the lake “Hiller” is pronounced absolutely consonant with the English word “Healer”, which translates as “Healer”.

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Hiller Lake on Middle Island: Why is the water pink?

Lake Hillier on Middle Island in Australia

No other continent on our planet has as many unique natural attractions as Australia. Many of them look so unusual that they seem unearthly. One of these natural wonders is Lake Hillier, on Middle Island. The main feature of this body of water is a rich pink color. There are rivers and lakes whose water is colored from red to pink in other places. Hiller (also spelled Hillier) differs from them in that its color remains year-round, although the hue changes slightly. The water in the lake is very salty. And the reason for the pink color, scientists determined only in 2016. Until then, it was a mystery what colors the water in such an unusual color. Unfortunately, it is not easy to see this attraction with your own eyes. The water body is very inconveniently located. And it costs a lot of money to make such a trip. So most tourists who visit Australia have to settle for photos. A brief description of the lake and the island can be read below.

Where is Lake Hillery Island Middle

Off the southern coast of Western Australia is the Recherch Archipelago (sometimes spelled Recherch). Middle Island is the largest island in this archipelago. It is where this amazing body of water is located.

How to get there:

To get to Middle Island you need to fly (domestic airlines) to the large Western Australian city of Perth. Then you have to drive to the small town of Esperance. From Perth to Esperance is 700 km. You can take a plane, a bus, or rent a car.

Tourists book a helicopter in Esperance, because it is prohibited to navigate by water transport because of the numerous reefs and shoals. According to the reviews of tourists, despite the ban it is possible to negotiate with the locals and get to the island by water.

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History of Lake Hillier and Middle Island

The first person to describe the incredible lake lost in one of the islands of the archipelago was the British captain and traveler Matthew Flinders, who, according to Wikipedia, did so in 1802. He was also the first to map the south coast.

This is interesting. The Rechurch Archipelago consists of hundreds of islands. Many of them are just rocks rising above the water. In Esperanza, you can book a water tour of the islands. Wildlife enthusiasts can visit Woody Island. There is camping and facilities for outdoor activities.

Among the many islands, Flinders’ vessel docked specifically on Middle Island. The captain, accompanied by his officers, climbed one of the hills where they had an incredible view of the lake.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, seal and whale hunters settled on the island. But they did not become permanent residents. Although until this day, preserved caves, in which they lived.

Later, salt was mined here, but it did not last long, only 6 years. This business was unprofitable because of the uncomfortable location. No one ever settled on this piece of land for permanent residence.

Today the island is visited by a small number of tourists who want to see the unusual pink lake. Tour guides tell an interesting local legend.

The Legend of Lake Hillier

After a shipwreck that killed the entire crew, one sailor was carried to a deserted island. He was wounded, and had very little left to die of injury, hunger, and thirst. Hoping for nothing else, the sailor said: “Let it stop, I’m ready to give my soul.” Suddenly a man came out from behind a tree, holding two jars in his hands. One was filled with milk, and the other with blood. The man poured the contents into the lake and said: “Take a bath. The milk will take away the hunger, the blood the pain.” The lake changed its color in front of his eyes and became pink. The sailor bathed and stopped feeling pain, hunger, and thirst. When the healed man came out of the lake, there was no one on the shore. The sailor did not stay long on the island. A pirate ship came ashore and they took the man with them. During the voyage, one of the crew noticed that the rescued man never ate or felt pain. This was reported to the captain. Although the man honestly told his story, the superstitious pirates threw the unfortunate man overboard.

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Description of the body of water

An unusual lake of natural origin can not boast of large dimensions. The pond is 600 meters long and only 250 meters wide. The lake is shallow, there is no exact data on the depth. The water is very salty, in this respect Hillier is often compared to the Dead Sea.

The shore is covered with white salt deposits. The reservoir is surrounded by a dense eucalyptus forest. Just imagine how it looks – bright pink water, fringed with white shore, and lush greenery. Just a surreal view!

The bottom of the reservoir is rocky. The color of the water changes slightly in different seasons.

Why is Lake Hillier pink?

Scientists have always been interested in the reason for this unusual color. For many years, it was believed that this color is caused by Dunaliellasalina, a type of algae that secrete a red pigment. Some bodies of water in other parts of our planet owe their unusual color to these algae. But after conducting a study in the 1950s, scientists were greatly puzzled because they did not find these algae in the lake. Hiller remained a mystery until 2016.

Microbiologist Ken McGrath from Australia was able to determine the reason for the pink color of the water.

He first became interested in the lake after watching a video about it on YouTube. Later he learned about the scientific project Extremmicrobiome. McGrath contacted the organizers and managed to get them interested in the mystery of the lake. A group of scientists went to the island and began research. McGrath was part of the expedition. After conducting many tests, the scientists finally solved the mystery of the mysterious lake. The pink color of the water is due to halobacteria and other related organisms. They are able to survive in a salty environment.

This is interesting. Galobacteria are the oldest inhabitants of the Earth. They were first discovered in the microflora of the Liman mud in the early 20th century. But the study of these organisms began only in the second half of the last century. Galobacteria are safe for humans.

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Can I bathe in the lake?

You can swim in the lake, water samples do not reveal any substances harmful to humans. But since the water is very salty, it should be washed off after swimming. It is better to swim on your back, so that the salt water does not get into the eyes and mucous membranes.

Features of Middle Island

Middle Island, as the name translates, is uninhabited. Its length is just over 6.5 km. The relief is mostly flat with small hills. The coastline is indented with promontories. The area is covered with eucalyptus forest and patches of sand dunes.

In addition to several species of eucalyptus, grows on the island and the tea tree. In some places, there are impenetrable forest areas. No one takes care of the forest, there are fallen trees, traces of fires, dense bushes. The only attraction is Lake Hillier.

Interesting Facts

  • In 1909, the Penguin ferry near Middle Island was wrecked. Of the 105 passengers, 30 people survived.
  • In the 1950s, a cave was found on the island, with remnants of furniture still intact. There were also seal skins, leather gloves and salt. All finds were transferred to the museum.
  • The highest point of the island is Flinders Peak (30 m above sea level).
  • There is a colony of pygmy penguins on the island. At one time they were seriously threatened by foxes, but man came to the rescue. Now these animals are out of danger.

Lake Hillier in Australia attracts tourists with its unusual appearance, but we cannot say that it is a frequently visited attraction. Because of the inconvenient location of the excursions are expensive, long and inconvenient to get to. So few people can see this miracle of nature with their own eyes.

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