Cranbrook Lakes loop
  • Clock icon Approximately 2 hours
  • Unsealed Roads Icon Some unsealed roads
  • Bitumen Roads Icon Some bitumen roads
  • Bitumen Roads Icon Cafe / Shop on journey
  • Start Location Icon Start: Pink Lake

Cranbrook Lakes loop

A quick glance at the satellite image of this landscape provides a hint about it’s ancient history, back to the Eocene period when the climate was far wetter, and enormous rivers flowed through this country. In the roughly 45 million years since the Eocene, those river valleys have gradually filled with sediment, leaving chains of salt lakes as slightly ghostly reminder of those ancient river paths.

Start this short loop drive at a small Pink Lake, on the side of Great Southern Highway, where the interaction between an algae and a single-celled Halobacteria creates the pink colour. Colour varies over the year, driven by salt concentration and temperature, with the the lakes likely to be the most striking shade of pink in late summer, when water levels are low and temperatures high.

This route takes you through the thriving town of Cranbrook and past a special farm and fauna sanctuary – Balijup Farm. It is not currently possible to visit Balijup independently, but take the time to listen to and read about the remarkable conservation work happening on this farm that is dotted with salt lakes but even has some freshwater lakes.

The next stop is Lake Nunijup, a haven for the local community and for waterbirds and shorebirds alike.

Lake Poorrarecup is the largest lake in the district, and a popular place for camping. It has been a recreational centre for the surrounding community since the early days of European settlement, and you’ll find locals waterskiing there when water levels are high enough.

Finish this wetland loop with a visit to Warrenup Reserve and Kenny’s tank. This is a small wetland amongst beautiful wandoo woodland where a large covering of rushes and sedges remains. Take the short walk to a historic well dug at the edge of the wetland for early travellers and stockmen on this road.