Selfie seekers urged to avoid Victoria’s latest tourism attraction

A lake in Melbourne’s Westgate Park has become the ultimate selfie backdrop after turning bright pink – but its blushing waters come with a warning.

Rangers are urging tourists to avoid contact with the stunning pink lake when attempting to achieve the perfect shot, for fear its extreme salinity will cause itchy skin.

The manmade lake was built to replace the site’s original salt marsh and already contains high concentrations of minerals in the water.

But when conditions are right – such as air and water temperatures and water depth – algae growing within it produce the red beta-carotene pigment.

[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”15046″ align=”left”]Parks Victoria says the lake first turned pink in and January 2013 and has done so almost every summer since – with visitors now tuning into its selfie opportunities.

It is expected to stay pink until later in autumn when it will return to normal as the weather cools and rainfall increases.

Nestled in an industrial part of Melbourne, those driving past the lake on nearby West Gate Bridge could be forgiven for thinking it was the result of a toxic spill.

But while the phenomenon is naturally occurring and not harmful to local wildlife, Parks Victoria has warned people not to come into contact with the water and to take their snaps away from the lake’s edge.

“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 salt marsh 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.”

The pink waters are not unique to Melbourne. In Victoria’s northwest, lakes Crosbie, Becking, Kenyon and Hardy in the Murray Sunset National Park all display the same characteristics and Lake Hillier in Western Australia also turns pink during the summer due to algal activity.

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