Hot water beach is a top tourist destination on the Coromandel Peninsula that you have to check out when visiting New Zealand. Here you can relax at one of only two thermal pools in New Zealand, located on the actual beach in the sand! So once you’ve had a swim, you can dig yourself a hole in the sand and relax in a very warm salt water thermal pool.
Located just a 2 hour drive from New Zealand’s supercity, Auckland, and the international airport, it is well worth the journey and makes a great day out for any traveler.
Pack your togs and buy a shovel first!
Travelling to Hahei, the town in which Hot Water Beach is located, is an easy drive or walk depending on where you are staying. It pays to check the tide times before leaving as the hot water pools are only accessible when the tide is out. It is easy to check these online or in the local newspaper.
Another tip is to buy a shovel from nearby Whitianga or Whangamata, otherwise you will be looking at around 15 NZD (10 USD) to hire a shovel from the Hot Waves Cafe, located in the main beach area.
Everything is well signposted and Hot Water Beach is a five minute drive from Hahei Village. The best spot for parking is at the end of the road by the Hot Waves Cafe, make sure you plan ahead and get there a few hours before the tide times. There is free parking on the right hand side of the road on the grass, otherwise it costs per hour to park in the main parking centre.
Don’t forget your towel and ‘togs’ as they are called in New Zealand, otherwise known as swimming suit.
A picnic, a drink and you’re sorted!
Packing a picnic is highly recommended, this will ensure you get to spend the whole day here and make sure you get a good hot pool spot! Alcoholic beverages are also allowed on this area of the beach, you will see people relaxing with beers and wine, so make sure you take the opportunity to truly relax on the beach with beverage!
The Hot Waves Cafe provides alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that can be purchased and taken with you on the short walk to the Hot Water Beach area. They also provide a range of light meals, snacks and ice cream. Once you have found a car park, you can wander towards the rocks that jut out from the trees and cliffs; along here is where you will find the thermal hot spots!
Once the tide is out, the key is to look for the steam rising along the tide line. It can take some time to find an area, but don’t give up, keep looking! I found most people are very friendly and will point out areas that are hot, walking around on the sand will also help you find an area as you will notice a definite temperature change under your feet! Some visitors are also very happy to share their pools with you.
Planning your trip here
The best time of year to visit is during spring and summer! Summer is of course the most popular time and spring is a good time to go as the weather is warm and not too hot! There are also less people visiting the area so you will, no doubt, be able to get a spot on the beach. Evening is also the best time to try to get to hot water beach.
There are plenty of campgrounds around and holiday homes (check link at end of article). From Hahei, you can also visit other iconic places like Cathedral Cove, Whitianga and take scenic drives through the spectacular Coromandel Ranges and coastlines.
Cathedral Cove or Te-Whanganui-A-Hei as it is known in local Maori, is located in Hahei as well and is also known as “hole in the rock”. This is an absolute must-do if you are in the area. It is one of the North Island’s top ten destinations to visit and was even the location for the filming of some of The Chronicles of Narnia movies. You are able to take kayak and boat tours from Hot Water Beach and Whitianga to visit here.
Once you are in the area, there is plenty to see and explore and I would recommend visiting some of the nearby towns such as Tairua, Whangamata and Pauanui. These three destinations are around a 30 - 40 minute drive from Hahei and make for a good day trip. If you plan ahead, it is possible to do all of this in a single day, just make sure you start your day early!
One of the best holiday destinations in New Zealand's North Island!
Hahei is at the epicenter of the Coromandel, a popular tourist destinations for locals and tourists alike. It is well worth the journey and a good place to base yourself during your holiday. Accommodation is ample and there are plenty of options from camping, resorts to holiday homes. Once here there is plenty to do and see, with the main two being Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove, the rest is up to you!
The scenery and coastline is one of the most exquisite in New Zealand and you will see why it is so popular on arrival! So make sure you plan ahead and go prepared - arrive early, have a shovel or spade and don’t forget those togs!
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