Friday, 15 June 2018

Hot Water Heaven


It seems that many of those that had walked to Cathedral Cove were now on a mission to tick another 'must do' off their list. 

With low tide due in a little over an hour, the road to Hot Water Beach was very busy.  

The carparks were filling up... 

North end carpark
...and a steady stream of people, carrying a range of colourful shovels and wearing an assortment of swimsuits or in various stages of undress, were making their way along the sand... 

...arriving from both ends of Hot Water Beach, all heading towards a gathering of people near the centre. 

It's here that hot water bubbles up through the sand from two springs that are located about 2 kilometres underground. 

And if you dig yourself a hole the seawater & hot water mix and form a natural hot pool to soak in. This is only possible though for about 90 minutes either side of low tide.

Those that arrived early leave large holes behind them as they move down the beach following the tide as it recedes. Those without shovels or haven't the energy to dig can find a luke-warm sandy slurry in the pools left behind, enough to soak your feet in.

Here are a few more photos; I often don't see the various idiosyncrasies and interactions taking place while I'm shooting so I love checking the photos out afterwards. Click on them to enlarge.

Check out the boys in black tights (one with a hole in the butt!); they digging towards Spain and they only have their hands.

How about the guy in his Calvin Kleins. And the tiny baby being held by Poppa while the family have a soak.

One of the boys has found himself a spare shovel, and groups of foreign tourists are sharing a pool, chatting and making friends. 

The boys are still digging, their pool getting wider and wider- perhaps they can't read English either, the water must be hot as no one is soaking in that area. The lady in pink has found an empty pool and is holding it for friends getting changed.

The guy in the Calvin Kleins really should stop digging. And what about the guy with the guitar.

These are the owners of the feet in the first photo.

And a last couple of photos of the many people enjoying the Hot Water Beach experience.

Here's a few tips for when you visit Hot Water Beach; 
1) Beg, borrow or buy a shovel, as a last resort hire one for an exorbitant price. 
2) Change into your swimwear before you walk to the beach area. If you must wear your underwear, make sure it doesn't stretch when wet.
3) Leave all unnecessary gear, including guitars, in the car.
4) If it's a cold, grey, overcast day, take a towel & a warm jacket.
6) Be prepared to get sand where the sun don't shine. 
5) There is a cold water shower on the deck beside the restaurant; you must leave your swimwear on though (and no I don't have a photo of that one!)  
6) It's a longer walk from the first carpark (the one shown in the photo up above). If you park at the end of the road near the cafe/restaurant and houses you will have to cross a small stream, which is fine if you've removed your shoes (watch for sinking sand around the small rocks near and in the stream). 

The best park is the second one, this carpark may look deserted and you might want to drive to the end thinking you'll be closer to the beach but you won't, the 2nd carpark has a short walk through bush to the dunes and brings you out on the otherside of the stream. So no wet feet and closer to the action.

The beach was nowhere near as busy as the last time I visited it but then again that was in late summer. As I mentioned then, thankfully other 'hot water beaches' around New Zealand aren't as accessible or as well known as this one. Not yet anyway, *touch wood*.


  1. This had to be better than "Where's Wally?" as I searched the photos for the people you were talking about. Thanks! :)

    1. Haha....very funny but yes, I can see what you mean. There were certainly a few 'wallys' and they do take a little bit to find. Glad you enjoyed the blog.

  2. It's great fun there Shellie - certainly an eyeopener. Here is an article I wrote on 2015 for our local NZMCA newsletter, after our visit to Hot Water Beach.

    Hidden Treasures
    Hot Water Beach – Coromandel

    All around the Coromandel we spotted hardware shops and dairies displaying stands of brightly coloured, short handled shovels advertised as “Hot Water Beach shovels”. Intrigued we made our pilgrimage to Hot Water Beach.
    Following the Tomtom along a winding country road, we eventually ended up in a car parking area complete with changing sheds, a cafĂ© and an enterprising individual who rents “Hot Water Beach shovels”. It was quite a surprise to find the car park was pay & display - $2 per hour, more than some cities charge in the CBD.
    Heading off onto the beautiful golden beach, with gentle waves rolling in, complete with our folding shovel (great Christmas present, thanks Dad) we find a few people sunbathing along the beach, but soon notice a cluster of rocks further along, with a few more people in evidence.
    Deciding to investigate involves scrambling around and through the rocks, trying to dodge waves but managing to get the bottoms of our shorts soaked anyway. Suddenly we are confronted by hundreds of people standing shoulder to shoulder, in rows, like picket fences, all claiming their little patch of Hot Water Beach.
    People of all nationalities and all ages standing together, feet buried up to their ankles in sand, trying to keep their clothes dry from the waves crashing at knee level. The smart ones had worn swimwear.
    There were grown men, earnestly building sand walls, trying create their own little spa of hot water, only to have it torn down by rogue waves. Not to be beaten, they’d start again, eventually winning once the tide had gone out far enough.
    Cameras were everywhere … from point & shoots to DSLR’s with giant lenses, from Gopro’s to the latest iphone on a selfie stick.
    Joining the masses we stood ankle deep in sand, with hot water burning our feet, chatted to our neighbours and contemplated the simple pleasures in life. All too soon we become aware that our parking time had run out and it was time to move onto our next adventure.

    Fuel to get to Hot Water Beach $200.00
    Shocking pink half sized shovel $ 15.00
    Beachside parking $ 2.00
    Standing with hundreds of strangers, ankle deep in sand priceless

    1. Thanks SallyLou, I really enjoyed reading your interpretation of a visit to Hot Water Beach, it wasn't too far from mine either. We must think along the same lines! I do like you little 'priceless' list at the end, very well done.


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