I have heard of natural hot pools, but it was my first time hearing about The Coromandel’s Hot Water Beach where we can dig our own natural spa pool, soak in the mineral rich hot water and relax on the beach – for FREE! 😉
Visiting the Hot Water Beach is listed on the Coromandel ‘Must Do List’. It is a truly unique Kiwi experience that every visitor to New Zealand or even the locals should experience at least once in their lifetime. For that reason, we made a quick stop at the Hot Water Beach on our way to the Pinnacles Hut, Coromandel Forest Park.
World Famous Hot Water Beach, The Coromandel
The Hot Water Beach, a popular destination for locals and tourists, is a beautiful white sand beach located between Tairua and Whitianga in Coromandel. It lies along New Zealand’s Pacific Coast, just south of Mercury Bay at the northeast tip of the Coromandel Peninsula.
The beach overlooks the vast Pacific Ocean and offshore Castle Island, with Pohutukawa lined cliffs at either end of the beach. It is an approximately 5-minute drive from the Cathedral Cove located in the Te Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve.
Parking is available in three locations: The Main Beach car park, Te Waiwai car park and the Main Store car park. The first two smaller car parks are free. The Main Store car park is a 24 hour car park with a charge of NZD2 per hour or NZD15 per day.
Natural & Mineral Rich Hot Water Springs on the Beach
More than 2 kilometres beneath the sand at Hot Water Beach, there is a reservoir of hot water and heated rocks – a remnant of volcanic activity that occurred in the Coromandel region 5 to 9 million years ago. The two natural hot springs on the beach, known as Maori and Orua provide an endless supply of mineral rich water at a temperature of between 60°C to 64°C with a flow rate of 10-15 litres per minute.
Fun fact: The spring bubbling is not caused by boiling water, but by the release of underground carbon-dioxide gas.
The PH level of the natural hot spring water at Hot Water Beach is neutral: neither acidic nor alkaline and contains traces of salt (not salt water), calcium, magnesium, potassium, fluorine, bromine and silica which are good for the skin.
Kindly note that the natural hot springs are only accessible 2 hours either side of low tide. The weather forecast and tide times can be checked here. The hot water springs can be found by digging a shallow hole in the tidal area using a shovel or a spade and bucket.
Beware of Rip Currents, Strong Undertows, Large Waves & Sudden Drop-Offs
Please note that the Hot Water Beach, The Coromandel is notorious for its rip currents, strong undertows, large waves, hidden rocks and sudden drop-offs, therefore caution is advised. The beach is only patrolled when the red and yellow flags are displayed by the lifeguards (usually during the peak season in summer).
There have been numerous drowning cases at Hot Water Beach. For that reason, visitors are strongly advised to swim between the flags and make sure children, friends and family members are supervised at all times.
In a Nutshell
My hostel mates and I visited the Hot Water Beach, The Coromandel in summer where the weather was scorching hot. Therefore, we were not too keen to soak in a pool of hot spring water and risk getting sunburnt on the beach in the middle of the day. 😛
That said, I will make another trip to the Hot Water Beach, The Coromandel again. This time making sure that I dig my own natural spa pool, soak in the mineral rich hot water and relax on the beach like everyone else does.
Up next: Tackling the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Hut Walk) and overnight at the Pinnacles Hut, Coromandel Forest Park