Pink Lakes

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesMurrayville
FinishMt Crozier Tk & Mt Honeymoon Hut Tk
DifficultyDifficulty 3/5
Suitable for4WD 
Distance80.14 km
Minimum Days1
Average Speed87.39 km/hr
Driving Time55 mins
Article By: Team ExplorOz
Page Updated: 10 Feb 2009


The Pink Lakes is a 50,700 hectare State Park located 70kms west of Ouyen, along the Mallee Highway , which was incorporated into the Murray-Sunset National Park in 1991. An all-weather gravel road gives access to the main camping areas, however, access further north is pretty much - 4WD only. Aptly named ‘Pink Lakes’ gets its colour from the red pigment beta carotene (found in carrots), secreted by the algae Dunaliella salina. This pink view can be emphasised by viewing through polarised sunglasses. Unfortunately, the lake is not always seen as pink due to the changing concentrations of algae in the water. During the wet season, highly saline ground water seeps down from the surrounding region into these lakes. This water evaporates during summer and leaves behind the shimmering salt beds. There are a number of viewable historic sites around the Pink Lakes region relating to the production of salt from the early 1900’s.

This trek runs through mallee region and is the home of the small and shy Mallee Emu-wren. The prickly clumps of triodia grass, native pine and mallee heathland protected here, provides a vital habitat for this threatened species. There are many ways to enjoy the park, like taking walks such as the Kline Nature Walk (2 hours), Lake Becking (45 mins) and Lake Hardy Walk (1 hour). Obviously these walks should be undertaken by capably fit individuals during the cooler months - not summer. If you are into photography, then you may be presented with intense and vibrant colours of the lakes especially during overcast days. Abundant birdlife and the Spring wildflowers offer more exciting opportunities. There are some nice campgrounds at Lake Crosbie, Mount Crozier (4WD) and Mopoke Hut (4WD too). There are also picnic tables available at Lake Crosbie and Lake Becking.

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The ‘Pink’ colour of the lakes is caused by a red pigment secreted by an alga called Dunaliella salina, which appears in the lakes after winter rains. The colours, ranging from a deep pink to a pure glistening white, are best seen during Spring - early or late in the day, during bright moon-lit nights or when it is cloudy. In fact, during most times of the year, the Pink Lakes are a pretty amazing sight.

It’s hard to imagine plants can happily grow in such a salty environment, but there are around 600 known species of plants native to the park. The vegetation in the Pink Lakes region consists of highly specialised salt-tolerant plant communities, Mallee woodland further up the slope, and pine-buloke woodland on the more fertile areas. During Spring, you may encounter wildflowers such as Spider orchids, Azure Sun-orchides, Desert Baekia and the Poached-egg Daisy.

Fauna that frequently habitat this area, include: Emus and Western Grey Kangaroos, Echidnas, and Bearded Dragons. Pink Lakes are abundant with birdlife such as Mallee Ringnecks, Red-rumped Parrots, Pink Cockatoos, Spotted Pardalotes, White-fronted Chats and the small, shy and threatened Mallee Emu-wren.


Edward White, a surveyor had reported the salt lakes in the Pink Lakes region in 1851. Around this time, only large scale pastoral runs would exist as the hot arid conditions made permanent settlement too difficult. By 1916, commercial salt mining brought families to the shores of the lakes, where a small settlement including a school was established. The work was hot and gruelling on both men and machines, and camels were often the most reliable means to transport the salt.

Salt was commercially harvested between 1916 right up until 1975. In 1979, the area was declared a State Park. In 1991, the Pink Lakes State Park was incorporated into Murray-Sunset National Park - Victoria’s second largest national park - being 633,000 hectares. Although salt harvesting has now ceased, there are still salt stock piles and a display on the edge of Lake Crosbie.


Take enough fuel to get you to Pink Lakes and back to Underbool. If continuing further north through the Murray-Sunset National Park, then you need to prepare for more remote travel. Read our communications, navigation and recovery gear articles for more information.

Please ensure that you wear sturdy footwear, carry enough food, water and other supplies. It is also recommended to wear a hat and sunscreen as it can get quite sunny and hot in these areas. Drinking water is not available in the park so it is advised to bring your own. During dry and hot weather, feral bees may be around water sources - even perspiration, so please be prepared and take precautions.

The main campground is at Lake Crosbie and can be utilised for an overnight or longer stay. Facilities here and at Lake Becking include: pit toilets, fireplaces and picnic tables. There are a handful of walks in the area, although if you plan to do a more extended walk in the more remote parts of the park, then it is essential to contact a Ranger beforehand.


No permits are needed fo the Pink Lakes trek note

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel Symbol Linga, Ouyen, Hattah
4cyl 11 litres4cyl 13 litres4cyl 16 litres
6cyl 12 litres6cyl 15 litres6cyl 14 litres
8cyl 12 litres8cyl 13 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Travelling in this region is generally good all year round, although it can get extremely cold at night in winter, and extremely hot during the day in summer.

Closest Climatic Station

Walpeup Research
Distance from Trek Mid Point 50.24km E
Mean Max. °C31.831.227.922.918.315.114.616.419.523.126.829.8
Mean Min. °C15.215.413.
Mean Rain mm22.223.421.422.530.729.632.835.031.233.828.024.9
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

Ouyen is a main centre servicing a large rural area & therefore has all facilities. No water available on the trek


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What to See

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.
Victorian desert country, Pink Lakes Conservation Area, gypsum plains

Showing 3 Places

Where to Stay

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.
No Places To Stay available for this trek


LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Murrayville to Danyo10.21 kmE87° 6 min
Danyo to Cowangie8.8 kmE72° 4 min
Cowangie to Tutye9.27 kmE81° 5 min
Tutye to Boinka11.49 kmE78° 6 min
Boinka to Linga9.54 kmE68° 5 min
Linga to Mallee Hwy & Linga Lakes Rd0.59 kmE85°
Mallee Hwy & Linga Lakes Rd to Lake Hardy11.96 kmN15° 7 min
Lake Hardy to Lake Kenyon5.09 kmNE31° 5 min
Lake Kenyon to Mt Crozier Tk & Mt Honeymoon Hut Tk13.18 kmN338° 13 min
Murrayville to Mt Crozier Tk & Mt Honeymoon Hut Tk80.14 km  55 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.


Nearby ExplorOz Treks

Travel Journals

The following are links to Members' Blogs that contain the words Pink Lakes. Creating Blogs is restricted to Members only. Not a Member? Join here.

Showing 3 blogs.


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