Pink lake or more correctly and officially named, Hutt lagoon is located just behind the main dunes along the road between Northhampton and Kalbarri, about 60km south of Kalbarri and just behind the small town of Gregory. The lake is around 14km long and just over 2km wide, and as the official name suggests it’s not that far from the Principality of Hutt River, which is an independent sovereign state having succeeded from Australia in 1970.
The interesting aspect of the lake, why is it pink? It’s all because of algae, a carotenoid producing algae which gives the colour hue to the lake because of the beta-carotene being produced. Beta-carotene is used as a food colouring and also as a source of vitamin A, and the lake has the worlds largest micro algae production plant with 620 acres of artificial ponds to grow and harvest the algae.
You can clearly see difference within the different ponds in the image above, the area closest has obviously been harvested reasonably recently removing all the colour from the water. The southern end of the lake is far more natural and not farmed commercially or filled with pond banks.
Here you can see a small pond next to the main lake and it’s perfectly clear, not a hint of any colour within it while the main lake within just a couple of metres is bright pink. I was lucky on the day that it was quite colourful because evidently it changes all the time and often people are disappointed to find there’s no colour in the lake at all.
The lake was also earmarked very early on as a possible source of quality salt, winning commendations in the late 1800’s and in the early 1900’s it produced 4000 tons of salt a year employing up to 50 people seasonally. Check out the salt flakes in the following picture, I was tempted to collect some and I might get some while on my way back past there if I travel the same way.
Yet another interesting aspect of the lake, it provides a commercial supply of Artemia parthenogenetica – brine shrimp. Artemia are used within the aquarium industry as well as the commercial aquaculture industry as feed and feed supplements.
I was almost tempted to take a dip but evidently it’s only a about 2 feet deep.