Glistening white sands reflect through crystal clear water, slightly distorted by the pink tinge arising from crystallites that flow organically throughout the region. On the lakes banks, rich orange sands stretch off into the distance, fading away into the rolling hills that meet the ocean. Seabirds glide across the surface of the water, leaving nothing more than a shimmer to alert their presence. And not but a faint breeze can be heard throughout this dainty and reclusive area in a forgotten corner of South Australia.
These are the features that make Lake Bumbunga unique and worthy of a bucket listing. You will not find fancy shopping malls or marble paving or any of the myopic comforts of the big city. You will have to forgo these temporary comforts if you are to venture to this area and enjoy it. Here, nothing but you and nature may entertain each other.
Why’s it pink?
For a time, it was believed that micro-algae are responsible for Australia’s pink lakes. However, it was recently discovered that it is not micro-algae, but salt-loving bacteria. The high salt content coupled with the colouration of the salt-loving bacteria that favour these kinds of waters gives rise to this pink colour.
Where is it?
The lake is situated in a small valley, about one and a half hours North-west of Adelaide or South of Port Augusta. If you’re coming from either direction, all you need to do is hop on the A1 highway, this will take you directly to the lake. There are no turns or stop lights. If you make a turn you have gone the wrong way.
You literally just follow the A1 highway from wherever you are situated and you will pass the lake. It’s a dramatic contrast to the surrounding landscape which is barren with the occasional gum tree that contribute little in the way of colour. When following the highway it is impossible to miss, especially when you come over a hill that looks across the entire valley in which the lake is situated.
The best time to visit
Unfortunately, this lake is not the kind of place that remains perfect to visit year-round. On cloudy days, the water appears murky. A pink tinge is visible, but nowhere no the vibrancy it would have on a bright day. Furthermore, the weather can get down to 5 degrees celsius, which can really dampen your desires to go swimming or wade through freezing cold water.
The best time to visit the lake is towards the end of spring and the beginning of summer. There is the perfect amount of water that allows you to wade out across the lake but ensures that there is enough moisture around to keep the residual salt flats from cracking and giving rise to the brown undersoil. At sunset, the salty pink water complemented by the last rays of light give rise to incredible reflections. The temperature during this time starts to reach the mid-30’s but often a cooling wind will make it so you don’t fry in the scorching sun.
You should put Lake Bumbunga on your to-do list, but don’t be impatient. Wait until the right time of year to ensure your expereince is a memorable one.