Hot Water Beach, a Unique Kiwi Experience in Coromandel Peninsula


Hot Water Beach is on Mercury Bay on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Often rated as one of the world’s most renowned beaches, it was a must-do on our bucket list. A visit to the Hot Water Beach is a truly unique Kiwi experience.

On the 3rd day of our New Zealand road trip, we got up very early and went to Hot Water Beach. The highlights of our day trip were:

  • Geological information about Hot Water Beach
  • When to visit Hot Water Beach
  • Dig our Spa Pool
  • Tips for the Hot Water Beach visiting
  • Combine the visit of Cathedral Cove in one day

Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsular

Geological information about Hot Water Beach

At the beach area, there is information about the geological structure of the beach. We learned, that, below the beach area, there is molten rock that moved closer to the beach surface, when the Coromandel was volcanically alive but now extinct. The rock is cooling but still hot enough to warm surrounding water.

There are two fissures at Hot Water Beach, issuing water as hot as 64C (147F). The amount of water is at a rate as high as 15 litres per minute. The water contains many minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, bromine, silica, etc.

Visitors can find hot water bubbling through the golden sand after digging a hole deep enough in the sand beach. This is certainly a fun activity for the families, kids, and couples to dig their Spa pools in the sand and relax in the natural springs.

Visitors have to cross a shallow stream, pants rolled up, towels, and shovels in arms. About 200 metres further is Hot Water Beach.

When to visit Hot Water Beach

The tide will determine when you visit Hot Water Beach. According to the information, the hot springs are only accessible at low tide. The duration of the low tide is around two hours. We checked the low tide a day before to make sure the information was precise.

Given the fact that only two hours either side of low tide is possible for us to access the beach, the best time to be there is before the low tide. That would leave you plenty of time to hire a shovel and occupy a spot to dig. And you would have enough time to enjoy your spa pool.

On that day, according to the forecast, the first low tide was around 9:00 am. Despite arriving at the beach early enough, we saw visitors had already flocked the whole beach.

A shallow stream before we reached the Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsular

Dig our Spa Pool

It was around 8:00 am, but the beach was already full of visitors working on their bathtubs. We spotted a small gap that belonged to nobody and wanted to dig the hole further, but soon realized that the water was too hot! That was why no one was using it.

Further down the beach, we were able to find a spot for us. It was very straightforward to dig the sand out. Within 10 minutes, we found hot water! But the excitement lasted only a few minutes because the water was gone.

The sandy ground was not flat, so the water flowed toward the seaside when the pool was not deep enough. We had to dig further deeper and wider to get the benefits. After another half hour, we were able to soak in our efforts, our spa pool, feeling the hot sand underneath our bare feet.

The water is hot. The air temperature was around 20 °C. It was cloudy, which was perfect to be on the beach without getting sunburned. From time to time, we had to fix the sandy walls around our pool.

Suddenly a noise came from the beachfront. People were running back to avoid themselves being flooded in their pools. The high tide was coming. We saw the first row of pools were flashing away. Gradually the waves washed more and more pools away, and the beach was flat again. Within a few minutes, our unique Kiwi experience at Hot Spring Beach also came to an end.

Natural Pools on Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsular, New Zealand
Natural Pools on Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsular, New Zealand

Tips for the Hot Water Beach visiting

Here are a few tips from our experience:

  • In local shops, shovels are available for hire. We hired two for 10 NZ$ from an art shop. Some tours, for example, the Coromandel Peninsula day trip from Auckland, includes the use of shovels. The tour goes to other places as well.
  • Hot Water Beach offers a social and solitary setting. It is common to share pools with others. And, do not ruin others’ pools.
  • You need to wear swimming suits or clothes on the beach.
  • Carry a towel with you and apply some sun cream.
  • There were shower facilities in the change rooms.
  • We found a free parking place next to the art shop. There were several parking areas near the beach. But they were not for free parking.

Combine the visit of Cathedral Cove in one day

Hot Water Beach presents a unique experience and an atmosphere like nowhere else.  At high tide, the scene is dramatically altered. The craggy rock-edged coastline, vast horizon with the shadowy glimpse of islands in the distance, is a spectacular scene.

We extended our Kiwi experience by combining the visit of Cathedral Cove and swimming in the sea. The water was certainly not so warm, even a little chilly. But the scenery, that, the Cathedral Cove looks like a frame of the iconic rock beneath an impressive rock archway, was terrific. The Coromandel Explorer Tour from Auckland also combines two places into one day trip.

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