The top five pink lakes of South Australia

  • 16/02/2023
The top five pink lakes of South Australia.
Lake MacDonnell; Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre; Lake Hart. Photo credit: David Jaske; Grant Hunt Photography; Andrew Gregory

A natural tourist attraction relatively close to New Zealand, the vibrant, dreamlike hues of South Australia’s pink lakes pop from the landscape like strawberry milkshakes.

The beauty of these natural magenta gems occurs due to high salinity levels in the water combined with salt-loving algae and pink halobacteria.

The less water in the lakes, the more concentrated the salt and the brighter the bubble-gum pink views.

For the best viewing experience, plan a visit to one of South Australia’s pink lakes on a clear sky day between 10am and 3pm when the sun is at its highest, making the pink colours even more vibrant. 

From the Eyre Peninsula to Clare Valley and the Outback, here are the top five pink lakes, as chosen by the South Australian Tourism Commission.

Lake MacDonnell, Eyre Peninsula.
Lake MacDonnell. Photo credit: David Jaske

Lake MacDonnell, Eyre Peninsula

Lake MacDonnell is one of the more stunning (and therefore salty) of South Australia's pink lakes which ensures it produces intense hues of pink and purple. With one side of the causeway pink and the other turquoise green, the contrast in colours is made for insta-worthy snaps. You could include this in your itinerary if you're visiting the seafood capital of Australia.

Lake Hart, Outback South Australia.
Lake Hart. Photo credit: Andrew Gregory

Lake Hart, Outback South Australia

Set in the rugged outback of South Australia, this shallow pink lake was at one time, the centre of a thriving salt industry. Its isolation is part of its charm and is equally spectacular at night if you love a bit of stargazing. Lake Hart makes for an amazing photo stop on a good old fashioned road trip via the Explorers Way.


Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, Outback South Australia.
Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre. Photo credit: Grant Hunt Photography

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, Outback South Australia

Lake Eyre is the largest salt lake in Australia representing a vast 144km long and 77km wide. As the lake dries up and water evaporates its salinity increases, appearing to turn pink due to the pigment of an algae species that lives in the lake. After a two-hour flight from Adelaide to Coober Pedy, you could book a trip with local flight tour operator to appreciate its incredible beauty from the air.


Lake Bumbunga, Clare Valley.
Lake Bumbunga. Photo credit: Olivia Reynolds

Lake Bumbunga, Clare Valley

At just under a two-hour drive from Adelaide, or a 40-minute drive from the Clare Valley wine region, this is an easy day trip to experience the salt-scape of Lake Bumbunga. It's one of the most accessible pink lakes in South Australia, which colours change according to the light, season, drought, or flood.


Lake Albert, Murray River.
Lake Albert. Photo credit: Getty Images

Lake Albert, Murray River

Lake Albert - named after Queen Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert - is a freshwater lake which sits alongside the Murray River and is visited regularly by people travelling to and from Melbourne, the Limestone Coast, the Coorong National Park and Adelaide.