“Are you digging for hot water?”
I looked up pathetically with my “digging tool” and saw an adorable toddler looking at me quizzically. In his aqua blue wet suit and sturdy spade, he must not be more than two years old. “Junior Digger” definitely looked better-equipped to create a hot spring pool of his own than me. In that openhearted manner that most children are accustomed to, he exclaimed seriously, “But you won’t get the hot water here!”
I must have that flabbergasted look on my face (anyone who has been trying to dig as hard as I did would!) for that endearing fellow proceeded to point me in the right directions. We were at the Hot Water Beach, trying our best to create a hot spring pool of our own (or at least I was). Lyn, in the meantime, was laughing away.
Recommended as one of the ‘Must-Do’ activity when visiting The Coromandel, the Hot Water Beach is where one can find hot water bubbling through golden sand. Dig your own spa pool in the sand, lie back and relax. This is a truly unique Kiwi experience that’s priceless (literally).
Well, if you are planning to visit, here’re some useful information/tips to ensure a smooth journey and/or further enhance your experience.
Be prepared to cross small streams before reaching the Hot Water Beach
Entrance of Hot Water Beach
Located on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand, approximately 12km southeast of Whitianga, estimated driving time to the Hot Water Beach are as follow:
Auckland to Hot Water Beach: ~ 2 hours
Coromandel Town to Hot Water Beach: ~ 1 hour
Cathedral Cove to Hot Water Beach: ~ 15 mins
With the above in mind, it is possible to do a day trip from nearby Auckland or to include a visit to the Cathedral Cove when visiting the Hot Water Beach.
Hot Water Beach vs Hot Water Beach Holiday Park
Is it a common mistake? Lyn and I turned into the Hot Water Beach Holiday Park instead of the Hot Water Beach and realised the both are not really connected. One will drive past the holiday park first but NOTE! It is not really connected to the Hot Water Beach. Should you be looking for accommodations, this Holiday Park offers chalet style living and is within walking distance to the beach.
I hate to admit this, but my pathetic digging tool – a plastic box that used to hold mushrooms, is inadequate for digging a comfortable hot spring pool. If you are looking forward to a good soak in a well-dug pool, bring your own garden spade and bucket. Alternatively, these tools are available for hire at the nearby rental shops. The usual beach gears (i.e. towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, bathing suits, sandals etc.) must not be overlooked.
PS: bring some tidbits or food, as the nearest café is a 10 minutes stroll from the “popular digging spot” (since that’s where the hot water lies!).
Waterproof swimsuit bags that proved to be very handy!
The best time to enjoy your personal hot spring pool would be during the low tide. Visit two hours either side of low tide. Check out Tide Timing here!
To avoid digging at the wrong areas, it is best to explore the grounds prior to starting your manual labour. Ask, if you are unsure. The segments of beach that contain the hot water are quite close to shore and generally limited (since there are so many people!).
See the steam from the sand? The hot water lies beneath!
Besides a nearby café and art gallery, there are public toilets (3 cubicles in the female’s section) as well as open-air showers. This makes it convenient for one to have a quick rinse after lazing at the beach, so don’t forget your towel!
Last but not least, the Hot Water Beach is reputed for its very strong currents, dangerous rips and holes! Please swim between the flags and make sure children are supervised at all times.
The above information has been complied based on various sources, including my own experience and should only be used as a reference. For more information on the destination, please visit: http://www.thecoromandel.com/new-zealand/product/?product=hot-water-beach
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