Hot Water Beach, located on the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand’s North Island, is a place like no other. Underground hot springs filter up through the sand between the high and low water tidal reaches, giving visitors the unique experience of being able to build their own spa bath right there in the sand.
Bring a shovel and come within 2 hours of low tide (a guide to when low tide occurs during different times of the year can be found here), then just dig in the sand and the natural warm waters, with temperatures as high as 64°C will rise from the underground. There it is: your very own personal hot tub. It’s as soothing as it is fun. Soaking in these thermal waters is sure to relieve any aches or muscular soreness you may have. And surf shops in the area that carry shovels in the case you forget to bring your own!
Coromandel Peninsula Attractions
Once the novelty of your self-made hot tub wears off (it will take awhile, trust us), be sure to check out some of the many nearby attractions on the Coromandel Peninsula.
Cathedral Cove, named after its limestone cliff archways that resembles a cathedral, offers one of the most scenic hikes in all of New Zealand. The white limestone cliffs stand in stark contrast to the deep greens and blues of the forest and ocean it separates. They are stunningly beautiful. The best way to see these cliffs is on the water by renting a kayak or water taxi.
The crowds of Hot Water Beach may make you yearn for a more intimate experience with the ocean. You’ll find just that at New Chums Beach. No buildings, no roads, no infrastructure, no camping and no crowds. This is untouched natural paradise at its finest.
Swim At Your Own Risk
The unique build your own spa bath feature of Hot Water Beach makes it a popular attraction for both tourists (over 700,000 people a year visit this beach) and locals alike. But don’t be fooled: just because this spot is not desolate doesn’t mean it’s without danger. Many people have died here from Hot Water Beach’s notoriously frequent and strong rip tides.
Only swim if the Hot Water Beach Lifeguard Service is active on patrol, and even then, only swim if you are truly an experienced swimmer. Remember: you can swim at any beach, but you cannot build your own hot tub at any beach. The hot tubs are safer and offer a unique and memorable experience. There’s plenty of other, safer beaches to swim at.
Nearest Town to Hot Water Beach & Cathedral Cove