better to start a desert tour than at a lake. Fear not though, I
haven't gone mad. Pink Lakes are well and truly in desert country.
Located on the southern edge of "Sunset Country" and some
60km west of Ouyen this is hardly an oasis in the desert.
As their name suggests, Pink Lakes are pink. Actually the water
is crystal clear and very salty. The bed of the lakes is solid salt
and a species of red algae that lives in these hostile conditions
gives the lakes their characteristic pink colouring. The intensity
of colour varies throughout the year and is strongest after rains
wash in fresh nutrients, triggering increased growth of the algae.
used to be mined at the lakes and a few very corroded remnants of
those days remain.
There is a camping ground at the lakes although I have never
camped there (I slept in the car one night since it was nearly
sunrise anyway) When it's wet you can easily get your car bogged and
when it's hot, it's REALLY hot. This is, after all, on the edge of
the desert. It may not be the greatest place to camp but they do get
fantastic sunsets (and sunrises if you can get up that early).
The area has several kangaroos and emus and their tracks criss
cross some of the larger lakes. Yes that's right, despite their
apparent size these lakes are VERY shallow and are usually no more
than ankle deep all of the way across with a firm bed of salt just
under the surface. Being so shallow, waves do not travel very far
and their surfaces are often mirror-like. But if you do walk into
the water remember that it is a saturated salt solution and your wet
runners and socks will dry rock hard with salt crystals (I had to
soak my socks before I could take them off after taking this shot on
Lake Harding). Don't take any treasured footwear into the water.