Magnetic Hill, Pink Lake, & Mysterious Geoglyph In Weird & Wonderful Australia [Videos]

Everyone knows about kangaroos, koala bears, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. But there is so much more to see in this vast continent country, and some of it is pretty darn weird indeed.

In the outback of rural South Australia, close to Pekina and Peterborough, is a strange and wonderful topographic optical illusion. Magnetic Hill is one of several similar spots in the world, and when you stop on the hill, place your car in neutral and release the handbrake, strange things appear to happen.

Instead of rolling downhill backwards as you would expect your car to do, it will appear to start rolling uphill instead, and that’s where the optical illusion side of things comes in.

Atlas Obscura explains that Magnetic Hill is what is known as a “gravity hill,” where the layout of the land makes what is actually a downhill slope appear to be going uphill. Some have credited gravity hills as being “magnetic” or that supernatural forces are at work, however, it’s merely the unusual lay of the land. Atlas Obscura suggest the experience is best tried with a carload of mystified kids.

The sign at Magnetic Hill (included top of article) is rather amusing and claims that plastic and aluminium cars will roll downhill, but steel-made vehicles will roll up. They warn recipients of hip and knee replacements to just “hold on.”

There’s also a giant magnet sign on the side of the road to mark the spot.

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Now we take a trip to Lake Hillier, a saline lake at the edge of Middle Island in the Recherche Archipelago, just off the southern coast of Western Australia.

Measuring around 2,000 feet in length and around 820 feet wide, the lake is surrounded by a narrow strip of sand. But what makes this lake so unusual is that it is colored a bright and lurid pink.

Unlike other colored lakes, the pink color is permanent and will be retained even when water is taken from the lake and placed in a glass jar.

No one knows for sure why Lake Hillier has this bright pink hue, but according to a blog by Spaceships Campervan Hire in Australia, this is caused by a micro-algae called Halobacteria. This micro-algae apparently produces carotenoids in the water, lending Lake Hillier that amazing pink hue. This colorful natural phenomenon is best viewed from the air but it is, apparently, quite safe to swim in the pink water.

The guy from SciShow gives his amusing opinions about the colorful body of water in the video below.

Last, but by no means least, we have a mysterious geoglyph that magically appeared in a barren region of South Australia. Most people have heard of crop circles, which are one type of geoglyph, and others have heard of the famous and ancient Nazca Lines in Peru. However, this far more recently made geoglyph in Australia also has totally unknown and mysterious origins.

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Satellite view of the Marree Man geoglyph in Australia.

No one has a clue who made it, whether it was aliens, a visiting artist, or just a bored local, but back in 1998, someone, or several someones, managed to create a line drawing of an aboriginal hunter, throwing stick or boomerang in hand, measuring 2.6 miles in length.

It is the largest geoglyph in the world and can even be spotted from space as shown in the satellite image here.

The lines themselves measure 115 feet in width and are one foot in depth and the work of art has been dubbed “Marree Man” by the locals.

Marree Man was found by chance in 1998 by a pilot flying over the area who quite simply could not believe his eyes, as he had often flown over the area before.

All kinds of theories have been thrown around about the origins of the geoglyph, and in 1999, an anonymous fax message advised of a plaque which is located close to the Marree Man’s head.

The plaque shows an image of an American flag, a quote from a book about aboriginal hunting, and the Olympic rings, but this didn’t particularly help in identifying the artist, unless it was an Olympic runner from America who has studied the hunting art of the Aboriginals.

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Marree Man seen from the air

Keeping with the American theme, Atlas Obscura mentions that a further discovery was made in a pit close to the site. This included a jar containing yet another American flag along with a satellite photo of the Marree Man and a strange reference to the Branch Davidian religious sect.

Despite all this evidence pointing to the USA, some locals have, however, proposed that an Australian artist who died in 2002 may have been the culprit. Whoever did it, it is a fascinating site indeed, and while you cannot access the geoglyph on foot, flyovers are permitted and aerial tours are on offer to experience it first hand from the air.

These three examples are just some of the weird and wonderful locations to visit in Australia, making it a fascinating destination of note.

[Photos: Magnetic Hill sign CC BY 2.0 Simon Yeo / Magnet sign in the Public Domain by Roo72 / Marree Man satellite image in the Public Domain by Diceman / Aerial photo: CC BY-SA 3.0 Peter Campbell]