Within two hours either side of low tide visitors flock to the usually deserted Hot Water Beach to find hot water bubbling through the golden sand. Families, kids and couples can be seen digging their own spa pool in the sand and relaxing in the natural springs. Often rated as one of the world's most renowned beaches - this is one experience that should be on your bucket list. A truly unique Kiwi experience that every New Zealander should experience at least once in their lifetime!
The beach also boasts some great surf, cruisy cafés and art galleries and is only a 5 minute drive to another Coromandel ‘must do’ – Cathedral Cove.
What is Hot Water Beach?
It is possible to dig into the sand allowing hot water to escape to the surface forming a hot water pool. The water, with a temperature as hot as 64°C (147°F), filters up from two underground fissures located close to each other to the surface where the beach meets the Pacific Ocean. These natural springs can be found on the beach in front of the projecting rocks (the whole beach is not hot). With the ebb and flow of the tide the pools are washed away, clearing the way for the next influx of visitors. For further information including the best time of day to visit and exact location details refer to the product listing for Hot Water Beach.
Ngati Hei are the tangata whenua (people of the land) along the Mercury Bay coastline. Hot Water Beach is historically and culturally significant to Ngati Hei. Archaeologists believe the Whitianga locale has been populated by the Ngati Hei iwi (tribe) for a thousand years, thus making it one of New Zealand’s longest inhabited areas. To this day Ngati Hei endeavour to protect this taonga (treasure), that is near an Urupa (burial ground) and Pa site (fortified settlement), and hope that you too will respect this special location.
It is advised that swimmers only swim between the flags if the Hot Water Beach Surf Life Saving Crew Service are on patrol. The rocks in front of the hot springs are a hazardous location for strong currents, holes and rips making swimming in this location dangerous. Remember – always swim between the flags and if in doubt don’t go out.
While the natural occurences at Hot Water Beach can make it a dangerous swimming beach (without lifeguards) it’s these formations that contribute to it’s reputation for a great surfing beach – for experienced surfers. Hot Water Beach handles a good size swell with banks along the beach making for good 'A frame' waves and the point holding a nice right hand wave when the conditions are right. The northern end of the beach is more popular with locals, however it’s advised to surf here with others as the steep banks and hidden rocks make for a heavy break. Check out more surf spots in The Coromandel here.
Parking is available in three locations: The Main Beach carpark, Te Waiwai carpark and the Main Store carpark. Note, fees may apply at the Main Store carpark.
Spades are available for hire at Hotties Cafe, Hot Water Beach Cafe and the Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park.