Free natural hot tubs on the beach? Umm…YES! A few weeks ago, a few friends and I took a “girls weekend” and drove north to the Coromandel to spend the weekend camping and hanging out at the famous Hot Water Beach. We had incredible weather all weekend despite the fact that we are entering the winter months of New Zealand. At Hot Water Beach, visitors wait until low tide then dig holes in the sand in areas of the beach where an underground river of hot water flows from far beneath the ground to the surface. When the tide rolls in, the holes in the sand are filled with water from the ocean that is heated up from the ground and the big hole in the sand is turned into a spa pool!
When we arrived at the beach, we immediately began digging a massive hole in the sand near the water. A few minutes into our dig we noticed a man giving us a confused look. He came over to our hole and informed us that we were digging in the wrong place! We would have been digging for years trying to find hot water where there was none! He showed us that we needed to walk to certain places on the beach and dig our feet into the sand to identify the places where the underground thermal activity was. We dug our feet in spots all over the beach until we finally found a spot! When we dug our feet in the sand, we immediately felt the warmth surround our feet. The Kiwi man lent us a few shovels, or “spades” and helped us dig our hole. He laughed and joked with us as he showed us how to build walls around the hole so that the water could not escape, and told us all about the pools. He informed us that once the water from the ocean flows into the pool, it can heat up to 140 degrees!
After we dug our hole, we waited for the tide and watched as the water from the ocean surged into our hole and began to steam. We jumped in the pools with all of our clothes on and soaked up the hot water and chatted. I was so amazed at the natural process that I was able to experience and learn about. The Hot Water Beach was definitely an amazing opportunity to enjoy some of nature’s magic!