With the opportunity to dig your own hot pool in the sands next to the breakers, Hot Water Beach is understandably one of the most popular destinations on the Coromandel Peninsula. The hot springs which bubble up beneath the sand can only be exploited two hours either side of low tide (less in rough weather; check tide times at the Whitianga i-SITE). Wander 100m across the sands to the rocky outcrop that splits the beach in two, dig your hole and enjoy the hot water, refreshed by waves. You’ll need a spade to dig your “spa”: rent one from your accommodation, the Hot Water Beach Store or Hot Waves Café.
The springs have become so popular – up to 500 people crowd the beach at peak times – that some prefer to come at night: bring a spade and a torch. The beach here has a dangerous tidal rip: take care when swimming.