Today we headed across from Auckland to Hot Water Beach, which we missed on our last trip round Coromandel. Hot Water Beach is another of New Zealand's geothermal attractions. There are underground springs which flow into the sea near the shore and these springs are heated by the earth's magma, so that when you are on the beach and you dig down there is hot water beneath the sand.
To experience Hot Water Beach you have to be there two hours either side of low tide, as this is when the beach is exposed and you can dig your own spa pool! We arrived about an hour before low tide and there was already quite a crowd on the beach, people digging pools, people in the sea and people sitting enjoying the heat of the water. It was quite a bizzare sight to see steam rising from the beach.
We were scouting round for the best spot to dig when someone who was leaving offered us their pools...we quickly accepted and stuck our hands and feet in the water to see how hot it was...OUCH...it was burning! We got our swimming costumes on and more tenatively poked our toes into the water...still pretty warm, but as the hot water was coming in at the top of the pool it was fairly easy to make sure the kids didn't get scalded.
David and I took turns in sitting in the pools, but I have to say that although it was a really cool phenomenon I broke out in a cold sweat and felt sick after about two minutes immersed in hot water, so instead I sat with my feet in the pools sticking my toes down into the hot sand. David found it more bearable and could lie back and relax...well as much as you can relax when your kids keep dropping sand on your head!
Peter, Joseph and Luke though it was great, the main attraction for them was that water rose out the ground when you dug down, so they had a network of “rivers and islands” going from our pool down to the sea.
This was one of the best attractions we have visited in New Zealand so far, a definite one not to miss if you are ever in the area!!
Couple of photos here.