Beyond The Pink Lake

31 May 2021

Port Gregory, Western Australia

“Home of the pink lake” the sign said. That pink lake sign is the same as all the others I’ve seen so far; they all claim to be the only pink lake. The first was in South Australia, the second in south east Western Australia. This third one is on the way north between Geraldton and Shark Bay. Unlike those other lakes, this one is a deep rose pink.

me, bike, and pink lake

I wondered if the pink water drained out to the ocean, so I rode another kilometre west, beyond the pink lake, to Port Gregory.

The beach is like so much of the west coastline that I’d seen so far. Windswept sand dunes, no trees for as far as you can see. It’s rugged, inhospitable; it’s there because that’s just where the land happens to stop. Port Gregory is a little place that just happens to be on that bit of land that happens to be where the ocean happens to start.

me walking on the beach Destroyed bench at beach

I call Port Gregory a little place because I don’t know what else to call it. Not big enough to be a town and not self-contained like a village, the first sign that you see coming in to town advises that you can’t drink the reticulated water. I’m not sure if I know what reticulated means.

Do not drink sign at entrance Do not drink sign outside bathrooms Do not drink sign in bathrooms

I couldn’t find a pub in Port Gregory but I could find its own rubbish tip. It’s right next to the lake on the way in. So if it’s not a town and not a village, what is it? “Hamlet”, advised the Oxford dictionary. Hamlet makes you think of Shakespeare and thatched roofs on stone buildings. That isn’t what you find in this west coast hamlet.

If you’re like me and from a big Australian city, then when you’d go to small east coast towns, you’d see small old houses built in the 1950s and call them fibro shacks. That’s what I was like until my visit to Port Gregory. Those small houses on the east coast have tin roofs and timber frames. The houses in Port Gregory really do just use fibro.

Fibro house

Maybe that’s because there aren’t any trees.

Pipes draining into pink lake