Travel Trouble

Courtney Allan

Picture perfect poison: Warning over Melbourne’s bizarre pink lake

Picture perfect poison: Warning over Melbourne’s bizarre pink lake

Rangers in Melbourne have issued a warning to tourists against going for a swim in the pink lake to achieve the perfect shot for their social media feeds.

Melbourne’s new attraction in Westgate Park has people flocking to take photographs of the pink lake, much to the chagrin of rangers.

The lake turns pink due to replacing the original saltmarsh that was already there.
When levels of the saltmarsh are higher than normal, along with high temperatures, lots of sunlight and a lack of rain, algae grows in the lake.

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The type of algae grows in the lake produces a red pigment according to the ABC, which is called beta carotene. This turns the lake pink.

The lake is currently pink and is expected to stay this way until later in autumn, where it will return to being blue. This is due to the weather cooling down as well as the increase of rainfall.

People have been warned by the park authorities in Victoria to not come into contact with the water. Despite the algae not being harmful to local wildlife, the same can’t be said for humans.

“Algae growing in the salt crust at the bottom of the lake produces the red pigment (beta carotene) as part of its photosynthesis process and in response to the extremely high salt levels,” Phil Pegler, manager conservation planning and programs at Parks Victoria, told the Herald Sun.

“In order to protect the sensitive saltmarsh vegetation around the lake, visitors are urged to obey all signage and any barriers in place.

“We recommend people avoid coming into contact with the water as it is very saline (salty) so can cause skin irritation.”

However, this shouldn’t stop people from getting out and exploring nature.

“Getting out in nature has proven health and wellbeing benefits. As the lake is currently pink, grab the kids and take them down so they can better understand and appreciate how fragile and beautiful our environment is and hopefully take steps to protect it so future generations can also enjoy it,” explained Pelger.