Watercolours

These waters are dyed the most brilliant of hues.

Once again, Mother Nature proves herself to be the most creative of artists we have witnessed. Her creativity manifests itself in the flamboyant multitude of colours that paint these waters the vibrant hues science cannot fully vouch for.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Photo: Roderick Eime

A short bus ride from Reykjavik and from Keflavik Airport, Blue Lagoon is a convenient and worthwhile stop. Its opaque milky-blue hue is an illusion – the waters are actually creamy white thanks to the silica, only appearing blue when light hits it.

Blue Lagoon’s soothing mineral-rich geothermal baths contain silica, salts and algae with cleansing and exfoliating properties that can be fully enjoyed with their unique homemade cosmetics. For a thriftier skincare option, simply pile some clayey white silica from the waters onto your face for an all-natural mask.

On a dark winter night, visiting the Blue Lagoon proves to be a refresher for the heart, mind and soul – you may even catch the Northern Lights.

Lake Hillier, Middle Island, Australia

The colour of fresh bubble gum, Australia’s incredible Lake Hillier embodies the old adage, ‘seeing is believing’. Separated from the Southern Ocean by a thin strip of beach, the contrast between the ocean’s azure waters and the strawberry shade of Hillier is striking.

While the exact science behind Australia’s peculiar water body is uncertain, the multitude of Dunaliella salina microalgae that the 600m-long lake houses are believed to be responsible. For a view of the lake from afar, opt for either a cruise trip or a plane ride. Alternatively, get up close and personal with nature’s pink oddity by taking a dip in its salty but harmless waters.

Rio Tinto, Spain

Spain’s notoriously poisonous river flows through the south-western region of the country and is, in fact, the most polluted, most acidic river in the world due to its long history of mining. The heavily contaminated suspension of primarily iron dyes the water its signature rust red, feeding the extremophile aerobic microorganisms that thrive in the river.

Take an old-school trip in an ancient 19th-century train to explore the Martian landscape of Rio Tinto that has even caught the eye of NASA scientists. In fact, Rio Tinto was recently made the area a testing ground for Mars-bound equipment, in light of its remarkable similarities to chemical and geological conditions on Mar.

Emerald Lakes, New Zealand

It comes as no surprise that the Emerald Lakes, by its namesake, should boast sparklingly green waters. The hallowed Tongariro National Park of New Zealand is home to these coloured lakes pooled within the depths of massive explosion craters near the summit of Mount Tongariro.

Under the midday sun, the waters gleam an unreal emerald – the result of light reflecting off of the white deposits of marl. Take on the 12-mile hiking route of Tongariro Alpine Crossing to see it for yourself. As inviting as the lime-green surface may seem, it is not safe for sipping or dipping in.

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