Hot Water Beach, located on Mercury Bay along the picturesque east coast of New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula, is a must-visit on our bucket list. This natural wonder is often rated as one of the most remarkable beaches in the world. And, our visit to Hot Water Beach promised to be a truly unique Kiwi experience.
On the third day of our New Zealand road trip, we woke up early in the morning. Filled with exhilaration, we made our way to the beach, eagerly anticipating the chance to witness and experience this extraordinary phenomenon.
The highlights of our day trip were:
- Geological Wonders of Hot Water Beach
- When to visit Hot Water Beach
- Dig into Bliss: Our Spa Pool Adventure at Hot Water Beach
- Tips for a Memorable Visit to Hot Water Beach
- Combine the visit of Cathedral Cove in one day
Geological Wonders of Hot Water Beach
At the beach area, there is information about the unique geological structure of the beach. It is believed that during the volcanic activity of the Coromandel region, molten rock moved closer to the beach surface, although now it is extinct and the rock is slowly cooling. However, the residual heat from the rock still warms the surrounding water, creating an extraordinary natural phenomenon.
At Hot Water Beach, there are two fissures that release scorching hot water measuring up to 64°C (147°F) at a rate of up to 15 liters per minute. The water is rich in various minerals, including calcium, magnesium, bromine, silica, and more, adding to the unique characteristics of this extraordinary beach.
Visitors to Hot Water Beach can experience a thrilling adventure by digging a hole in the golden sand, where hot water will start bubbling up. It’s a fascinating activity that families, kids, and couples can enjoy, creating their own natural spa pools right on the beach.
To reach Hot Water Beach, visitors cross a shallow stream with their pants rolled up, towels and shovels in hand. And then they walk about 200 meters further along the beach. It’s an exciting journey that adds to the overall experience of this amazing natural wonder.
When to visit Hot Water Beach
The accessibility of Hot Water Beach depends on the tides, and are only reachable during low tides. To ensure accurate information, we checked the low tide schdule one day prior to our visit.
Considering that there are only two hours on either side of low tide when the beach is accessible, the best time to visit is before the low tide. Arriving early will allow you ample time to rent a shovel, secure a spot for digging, and enjoy the spa pool.
According to the forecast, the first low tide on the day of our visit was around 9:00 am. Despite our early arrival at the beach, we noticed that it was already crowded with visitors.
Dig into Bliss: Our Spa Pool Adventure at Hot Water Beach
It was early morning, around 8:00 am, but the beach was already full of visitors digging their own hot tubs in the sand. Despite the crowd, we managed to find a small empty spot and started digging our own hole, eager to enjoy the natural hot springs. However, we soon realized that the water was too hot to handle, which explained why the spot was unoccupied.
We moved further down the beach and found a suitable spot. The sand was easy to dig, and within 10 minutes, we struck hot water! Our excitement was short-lived though, as the water disappeared after a few minutes. The uneven sandy ground caused the water to flow towards the sea, making our pool shallow.
Determined to make the most of our experience, we dug deeper and wider, putting in more effort. After another half hour of digging, 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 was indeed hot, and the air temperature was around 20°C. The cloudy weather provided perfect conditions to enjoy the beach without the risk of getting sunburned. We had to occasionally fix the sandy walls around our pool as they kept collapsing.
Suddenly, a noise from the beachfront. People were rushing back to avoid being flooded by the incoming high tide. We watched as the first row of pools were swept away by the waves, and gradually more and more pools were lost to the rising tide. Within a few minutes, our Kiwi beach adventure at Hot Spring Beach came to an end, and the beach was once again flat and untouched by human-made hot tubs.
Tips for a Memorable Visit to Hot Water Beach
Here are a few tips from our experience:
- We rented two shovels from an art shop for 10 NZD. Alternatively, you can also join a tour, such as the Coromandel Peninsula day trip from Auckland, which includes the use of shovels and visits to other places.
- Hot Water Beach offers a unique social and solitary setting, where it’s common to share pools with others. Please be respectful and avoid ruining others’ pools.
- Swimwear or appropriate clothing is required on the beach at Hot Water Beach.
- Remember to bring a towel and apply sun cream to protect yourself from the sun while at the beach.
- Convenient shower facilities are available in the change rooms at Hot Water Beach.
- We were able to find a free parking spot near the art shop. But parking near the beach may not be free. Be sure to check and follow any parking regulations and guidelines to avoid any fines or inconvenience.
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.