New Zealand hot water beach is unique place in the Coromandel peninsula on the north island. It’s a beach where you can enjoy natural hot springs beneath the sand during low tide.
New Zealand is well known for the number of volcanoes it has and the active geothermal activity that covers large sections of its islands.
Over the years, this natural phenomenon has become a world-famous landmark and a tourism favourite amongst visitors to the country. You’ll be surrounded by people digging out their own personal hot tubs to enjoy their own private spas – and you can do so too!
Table of Contents
- The Beach & volcanic history
- What time should you visit hot water beach?
- Amenities for visitor use
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Hot water beach is a popular tourist destination in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s north island. Located on the east coast on the Coromandel peninsula.
The easiest way to reach the beach is by car. If you coose to drive these are the average times it would take to arrive.
- From Auckland it takes 2 hours 15 minutes.
- From Whitianga it takes 28 minutes.
- From Tauranga it takes roughly 2 hours 20 minutes.
For those visitors who arrive by car there are two car parks available for use. They each have pay & display tickets for 2 hour increments or a full daily rate.
You can find the main car park here. The main car park are the spaces closest to the beach itself, and the Taiwawe car park are the spaces that line the residential properties just behind. You can find the different pay & display machines available in each section with the respective prices.
|Car park||Pay Rates|
|Main car park||$4 per hour / $25 per day|
|Taiwawe car park||$2 per hour / $15 per day|
If you arrive during the busy season you can also use the car park near the holiday park entrance. This has a further walk to the beach itself but is used for the parking overflow.
The Beach & volcanic history
What makes hot water beach so unique compared too other beaches in New Zealand? It’s a beach with hot water. In simple terms it isn’t the ocean here that is particularly warm, but the water beneath the sand that is hot.
This is because the beach is located within New Zealand’s volcanic region in the north island. This is where the ancient geothermal activity still allows natural hot mineral water to seep through the sand – if you dig deep enough.
Unfortunately only one section of this beach has geothermal activity so you’ll want to head to the right area. From the car park, with the ocean to your right, head towards the cliffs in line with the small cluster of rocks on your right hand side.
The hot water is just past this point and is where you will want to start digging.
Tip: If you dig before the cluster of rocks, you haven’t walked far enough. Make sure you are past the rocks for the best experience.
What time should you visit hot water beach?
The beach is not always accessible due to the tides of the pacific ocean. This means you need to plan your trip to avoid disappointment.
Pro tip: Visit the beach within 2 hours of low tide. If you try to visit during high tide you will not be able to access the hot water without great difficulty.
You can check the tide times for this beach on this site here. Be aware that the tide times vary throughout the month and year so check before you go!
If you’re not in a rush you could easily spend a whole day here. When the tide is high, there are a few areas suitable for swimming – you’ll just have to mind your feet on the rocks in the sand.
Safety tip: Once you reach the hot water it can easily burn you. Use a bucket to fill your hot pool with sea water to make it a safer temperature.
Amenities for visitor use
What’s great about hot water beach compared to others in the Coromandel area is that this one has some amenities for visitor use.
Near the beach-side parking there is a line of porta-loos available for visitor use. They are regularly cleaned so there’s no concern.
If you need to have a rest and don’t wish to spend all of your time on the sand, you can also use the picnic benches located on the grassy bank to one side of the beach entrance.
The hot water beach is only a short drive from other popular destinations in the area such as:
- Cathedral Cove – a beach with a unique rock formation and cave.
- Pinnacles hike in Coromandel National Park – a long hike through a forest with tall rock cliffs.
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Hostels usually have self catering options with kitchens for guest use. Many also have the option to stay in a dorm room for the lowest cost or a private room for a slightly higher nightly fee.
There’s something for everyone!
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If you are spending any time in New Zealand you should definitely plan on visiting hot water beach. There are not many places where you can enjoy a natural hot spring for free!
Do your research so you can time to tide correctly and make the best of this fun, beach day experience, and don’t forget your bucket and spade.