Hot Water Beach in New Zealand is a place unique in the world. It is where you can grab a shovel and dig your own spa bath on the beach!
Once you have claimed your spot, you can start to dig, and within a few minutes, the first trickle of hot water will fill the hole. This eureka moment will spur you on to dig deeper, and before you know it, friends and family will have joined in, eager to create a spa pool on the beach.
Finally, once your hole is at the desired size and the hot water has filled the void, you can step into your spa bath on Hot Water Beach and wallow in it to your heart’s content.
Just beware of the temperature of the water because hot means just that, so test the water with a toe first before scalding your delicate areas!
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Frequently Asked Questions About Hot Water Beach
How to Find Hot Water Beach
Driving from Auckland to Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel will take around two and a half hours, depending on traffic and is one of the best day trips to take from Auckland. There is a pay-and-display car park with restroom facilities at the beach, including showers.
If you don’t want to drive yourself, you can book a Coromandel Tour from Auckland to include Hot Water Beach.
When to dig your Spa Bath
You can only dig up to two hours on either side of low tide when the tide is low enough to expose the area of sand with hot water underneath it. The beach is covered with the sea at high tide, so there is no chance of digging a spa bath.
How Hard is it to dig a Spa Bath?
It takes a lot of elbow grease to dig deep, so you may not end up with a hole large enough to wallow in; more likely, paddle your toes (speaking from experience). Nevertheless, it is one of the fun things to do in New Zealand, and if you have friends with you at the beach, you can have a good laugh at your meagre attempts.
If you are arriving towards the end of low tide, you may find empty pools that others have abandoned, and if so, you can use theirs. Remember, once the spa bath is up and running, you will only have a few inches of water. Even so, it is a must-do NZ activity.
Bring the right equipment to dig a spa bath
You will need a strong shovel and a handheld spade for finishing touches. If you aren’t a resident of NZ, it’s doubtful you have one packed in your suitcase, so the local shop on Hot Water Beach sells or hires all the necessary paraphernalia to complete your mission.
What temperature is the water?
You might find this unbelievable, but the thermal water can rise to the surface at a whopping 64 degrees Celsius (now you understand about testing the waters before jumping straight in!) A sign that the water is too hot is when bubbles rise to the surface of the sand. If you see any bubbles, avoid digging in the area.
The science behind the hot water
New Zealand is an active geothermal island, and if you visit Rotorua, you will see this first-hand. The country has over 100 natural hot springs scattered between the North and South Islands. Some of the most delightful hot water spas can be found in Taupo (where you won’t need to dig your own pool!)
Beneath the sand on this beach is a reservoir of boiling rocks and water created millions of years ago by volcanic activity. Hot springs beneath the sand release carbon dioxide at the surface, producing hot water just below. Fascinating!
Is it a safe swimming beach?
It is a great beach to spend time on, but it does have rip currents and large waves. Lifeguards patrol the beach, and when we visited, there was a dedicated area where you were allowed to enter the water.
Remember to bring sunblock and plenty of water to the beach – it can be thirsty work digging a spa.
Where to Stay in Hot Water Beach
There are many attractions on the Coromandel Peninsula, so you could use this town as a base and then drive out each day to other areas, such as Hahei and Cathedral Cove.
Luxury – Hot Water Beach Cottage – located on the beach, this beautiful cottage is the perfect spot to enjoy a stay in the Coromandel.
Comfort – Hot Water Beach Bure – This one-bedroom cottage has a garden and is a 2-minute walk from the beach.
Budget – Hot Water Beach Holiday Park – Close to the beach, this holiday park offers private rooms and dorms with shared kitchen and bathroom areas.
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Saturday 30th of July 2022
Great article! Had no idea that digging your own spa bath was something you could do in New Zealand! I would love to also see Hahei and Cathedral Cove one day.
Saturday 30th of July 2022
They are two lovely places to visit and are not far from Hot Water Beach
Friday 29th of July 2022
I didn't know you could dig a spa bath on the beach! Hot Water beach definitely sounds like an interesting place to visit.
Thursday 28th of July 2022
This sounds fantastic! I've never visited New Zealand, but this sounds like an amazing New Zealand bucket list experience. That's so helpful that there is a shop near by that has digging equipment. Thank you for answering that question! Awesome adventure!
Thursday 28th of July 2022
New Zealand has always been on my bucket list. I'm not a beachy person due to hot sun, but this sounds so different and fun. Another reason to visit New Zealand.