One the most beautiful parts of New Zealand’s North Island is on the eastern coast, a region known as the Coromandel.
And one of the highlights of the Coromandel is a special borderline-magical place called Hot Water Beach, approximately 12 km southeast of Whitianga.
At this beach, just a 5-minute drive from Hahei and the Cathedral Cove, is an incredible volcanic phenomenon.
Within two hours either side of low tide, beach-goers (an estimated 700,000 per year) can dig around to find the natural steamy hot mineral water that sits just below the surface of the sand-covered ground.
Families come from far and wide to experience nature’s glorious spa, delivered from deep within the Earth, as they relax in hot holes overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
It should be mentioned however, that while the activity is popular with visitors of all ages, it is important to use caution, especially with young children, because the water can be so hot it can burn skin (and boil eggs too)!
The temperature of the water has been recorded up to 64 degrees Celsius/147 degrees Fahrenheit!
And it is also important to take caution when swimming at the beach, which is known to have rip currents and fairly large waves.
But back to building your super cool beachside bath!
First off, you’ll need a spade (otherwise known as a shovel if you’re of the American influence).
These can be brought with you – many hotels and hired bachs keep them in stock – or they may be rented for a small price nearby.
I personally suggest borrowing from a friendly face.
Or if you’re feeling extra cheeky, invite yourself into another digger’s handmade pool after all the handwork is finished!
I say this because, as you see in the photos above, many people are standing around.
The location of the hot water can be difficult to find. Don’t just stick your spade in the ground and expect to find it (like we naively did).
It’s probably best to wait and see who manages to discover the sweet spot, and then do your best to capitalize!
Another tip: We went to during the middle of Southern Hemisphere summer. It’s probably quite a bit less crowded in the off-season.
On a more personal note, this particularly day happened to be my dad’s birthday.
James – who has the most amazing penmanship – offered to help me write a message in the sand to send to him.
Hot Water Beach proved the perfect background for the photo.
After our coastal exploration, we went back to The Church accommodation in Hahei, where we broke out our brand new Auckland-themed Monopoly.
The overcast weather created the perfect environment for a lazy afternoon with board games.
Needless to say, James cleaned up when I landed on the ridiculously expensive Sky Tower tile!
Overall: We both enjoyed Hot Water Beach and highly recommend it to those passing through the Coromandel!