The Unique Hot Water Beach of New Zealand

Can you imagine a beach where the water is actually hot? Seems unnatural, but there really is such a thing in New Zealand. Located on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula (about 175 km from Auckland),  Hot Water Beach got its name from the underground hot springs which filter up through the sand in between the low and high water tidal reaches. The beach attracts a huge number of tourists every year (approx. 130,000) and is one of the most popular geothermal attractions of the region.

What’s even more interesting than Hot Water Beach itself is the ingenious way people create their own spas at the beach. This generally happens in the two-hour time frame before or after a low tide. During this period, you can actually dig large holes into the sand at the beach, allowing hot water to escape to the surface. A hot water pool is created in the hole – a natural spa of sorts. The water gets as hot as 64C (147F). Several tourists bring buckets and spades with them, and later relax in the large hole of thermal water they dug out.

Photo: Steve & Jem Copley

Of course, safety is a concern at Hot Water Beach. The hot springs aren’t really too far away from the sea even at low tide. Large breaking waves can harm visitors if they aren’t alert at all times. Swimmers are also advised not to swim within 50 m either side of the off-shore rocks opposite the springs. If the safety precautions are followed, Hot Water Beach can be a real fun place to hangout. And the best part – entry is absolutely. Given how much I love hot water baths, this is now at the top of my must-visit-before-I-die list.

Photo: Steve & Jem Copley


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