Digging in Paradise: Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

Hot Water Beach is on the Bay of Plenty coast of New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula, on the North Island. This is a peninsula that’s full of natural wonders where native forests meet pristine beaches. Part of this particular beach is where geothermal wonders bubble beneath the surface of the sand.

Digging Pools on Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula

Digging Hot Pools on Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand

Located on the eastern coast of the North Island, this rugged peninsula is extremely popular with New Zealanders and travellers from all corners of the world. A visit to experience Hot Water Beach really is high on the list of must-do attractions.

A Natural Hot Pool Spa Experience

Hot Water Beach is a unique geothermal marvel. It is a place where you can dig your very own natural spa pool in the golden sandy beach. You can then sit in your hot pool surrounded by the beauty of the Pacific Ocean view and lush New Zealand coastal landscape.

The Magic of Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach is a geological marvel, a place where hot water springs naturally bubble up through the sands at low tide, creating a natural hot tub that's relaxing, rejuvenating and simply fantastic fun!

The beach is located on the eastern coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty. Being just a two and a half hour drive from Auckland makes it an accessible escape for both locals and tourists.

Looking for Best Place to Dig Your Own Hot Pool on Hot Water Beach

Looking for Places to Dig your own Hot Pools on Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand

Best Time to Visit Hot Water Beach

The key to experiencing the magic of this beach lies in timing your visit with the tides. Do a bit of local research and pick the best time to visit Hot Water Beach to catch the tide at the right time.

2 Hours before and after low tide

The hot water bubbling up from below the surface is only accessible for a couple of hours each day, roughly two hours before and after low tide. As the tide recedes, the hot water is revealed, and you can start digging your own personal spa pool right on the beach.

Time at Hot Water Beach

It’s not the whole beach that produces this hot water, it is a specific area. If you ever see images of people digging their hot pools you will notice it all takes place in one part of the beach. It’s not such a small area that you won’t get to join in but it’s best to get there as the tide recedes and choose your best spot to dig. Also, keep in mind that it will be busier at peak holiday times and weekends.

Personally, I like Hot Water Beach in the dark or in bad weather! If low tide is during the night, don’t discount going down there, particularly as there will be less people. Equally, if it is windy or raining sitting in a hot pool in cold weather is amazing! I also like to stand in the surf as the tide is receding and let my feet go into the sand until it gets so hot you have to get your feet out.

The Art of Digging Your Own Hot Pool Spa

Armed with a spade or shovel, which you can either bring with you or rent from one of the nearby shops, you'll join other locals and travellers, each trying to dig their hot pool. If you are in local accommodation, they quite often provide spades on a deposit basis that you get back when the spade is returned.

The best spot to dig is in the area where you see steam rising from the sand – a tell-tale sign of the thermal activity beneath the beach but not always visible. Alternatively, walk around on the surface and you will find places where you can’t stand still on the sand because it’s too hot.

This is my double hot pool. Although they are right next to each other, the pools have different temperatures! The smaller one was too hot to sit in for long.

A Double Hot Pool on Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand

Try digging test holes until you find a spot where you find warm or hot water, then dig a hole big enough to sit or lay in. The hole can be shallow as you pile the sand around the edge to make a wall to lean on. As you dig down, hot water will mix with the cooler seawater and you can regulate the temperature. If the water gets too hot, up to temperature of 64 °C (147 °F), dig to the side and let some cold water in.

Hot Water Beach is a unique and interactive experience that connects you with the Earth's natural forces, and you'll quickly find yourself totally engrossed in the process while also meeting other people from around the world.

Cooking in a Hot Pool on Hot Water Beach

I boiled 2 eggs by burying them on Hot Water Beach. The ripples visible in the image are where hot water is bubbling up from under the sand. The result was soft boiled eggs but it did take ages!

Boiling Eggs in a Hot Pool in the Sand on Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand

A Geological Wonder Beneath Your Feet

Hot Water Beach's attraction isn't only about experiencing the relaxing hot pools; it's also about the fascinating geological processes that underpin this natural wonder. The hot water that bubbles up from beneath the ground is the result of water seeping deep into the Earth, where it's heated by the magma chambers below. This heated water then rises back to the surface through fissures in the Earth's crust, bringing with it the geothermal water that makes Hot Water Beach such a special place.

While you're enjoying your self-made spa, take a moment to appreciate the process beneath your feet. You are soaking in water that has travelled thousands of feet below the Earth's surface, collecting minerals along the way. The sulphurous scent in the air and the steam rising from the sand are reminders of the geothermal activity below that you can’t see.

A Region of Scenic Natural Landscapes

Hot Water Beach isn't just about the beach itself; it's also surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. The Coromandel Peninsula is known for its lush forests, rugged coastline, and picturesque beaches, and all within easy reach.

Cathedral Cove is just a short drive away from Hot Water Beach, also a well-known must-visit attraction of this coast. Accessible by walking a coast path, or by boat, this iconic cove features a natural rock archway that frames the clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. The coast path offers amazing views around every bend and plenty of other excellent hiking opportunities in the area.

The nearby Hahei Beach is another gem on the Coromandel Peninsula. It's a beautiful, long sandy beach perfect for swimming and sunbathing. You can also take a scenic walk to Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve, a protected area with pristine waters teeming with marine life. There is excellent camping for tents, campervans, caravans, and motorhomes, on a campsite that’s literally at the edge of the Hahei beach (they also have cabins).

Visit Coromandel Peninsula for a long list of other attractions and places to visit.

Surfing at Hot Water Beach

Surfing at Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand

A Friendly Community Vibe at Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach is not just a geological marvel; it's also a thriving community with a laid-back, welcoming vibe. The local shops offer everything you need for a day on the beach, from beachwear to snacks and picnic supplies, and spades or shovels of course. You'll also find several cafes and restaurants serving up delicious meals, often featuring fresh seafood caught right from the local waters.

The local community is passionate about preserving this natural treasure, and you'll find eco-friendly initiatives in place to protect the beach and its surrounding environment. Before going on the beach, take a few moments to read any information boards to familiarise yourself with local guides and rules.

Information Board Signs at the Entrance to Hot Water Beach

Information Boards at Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand

Respect the area's guidelines and leave nothing behind but your footprints in the sand.

Plan Your Visit to Hot Water Beach

To make the most of your trip to Hot Water Beach, it's essential to plan ahead. Check the tide timetable for the area before your visit, as you'll want to be there during the two-hour window around low tide when the hot water is accessible. The best time to visit is during the spring and autumn months when the crowds are thinner, and the weather is still pleasant.

What to Take

Obviously weather dependent but here are some suggestions

  • Shovel or spade
  • Swimwear
  • Towel
  • Water
  • Snacks or picnic
  • Suncream
  • Sunglasses

Try not to take valuables with you. It’s not always possible to leave belongings in a safe place while you concentrate on digging your own hot pool in the sands of Hot Water Beach. Do you really need your watch, phone etc. on the beach if you are staying locally!

This is a completely unique experience that you'll cherish for a lifetime. Remember, it's not just a beach; it's an encounter with nature.


Accommodation options range from beach-side cottages to camp-sites surrounded by nature. It's a good idea to book your stay in advance, especially during the peak summer season. I have stayed in a house overlooking the beach, and in a campervan at the campsite that is within walking distance of the beach.

Parking at Hot Water Beach Coromandel Peninsula

There is a car parking at Hot Water Beach, including parking for buses. The car park seemed to be big enough to cater for visitors who drive there if they don’t stay locally.

Hot Water Beach Car Park Information Board

Hot Water Beach Car Park Information Board, Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand

How to find Hot Water Beach in Coromandel Peninsula

The SH25 road is the main state highway route that goes all the way around the Coromandel Peninsula with various side roads coming off to locations. So which ever way you are arriving from, Hot Water Beach Road is a turning off SH25 that takes you all the way to Hot Water Beach. See the map below.

I have usually taken the shorter route passing through Tairua but I have also driven the whole SH25 around the Coromandel.

Map of Hot Water Beach


Hot Water Beach on New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula, North Island, is a geological marvel and scene of natural beauty. It's a place where you can immerse yourself in the Earth's geothermal wonders while surrounded by stunning coastal landscapes.