We finally made it away from the flooded Northlands. The area is apparently known as “the Winterless North” but it was being pretty autumnal at least while we were there. Our next stop was the Coromandel Peninsula and a place called Hot Water Beach. As you may have guessed, Hot Water Beach has hot water. At low tide, you dig yourself a little hole in the sand, it fills up with warm water and voila, your own private spa pool. The guidebook helpfully informs me that this phenomenon is due to “geothermal activity” which is pretty vague as explanations go, but helpful in case you thought it was magic. It’s a pretty grey day, but we borrow some spades and head off to the beach anyway.
The hot spots are not everywhere on the beach, so you have to push your feet around in the sand until you find a warm place, and that’s where you dig. You need to be careful because in some places the water is about 80 degrees, which would mean tourist soup if you made yourself a pool there. Soon, the little area on the beach with all the warm spots was a hive of activity.
The tide is going out as we dig; our first few efforts are destroyed by big waves, but soon the tide is far enough out for us to construct a little pool for long enough for it to fill with warm water. I hopped in and enjoyed a soak. Mr Beet just kept on digging. He was having more fun digging the holes than anything else. He was reinforcing our pool, helping other people with theirs, and he even built a secondary pool in front of ours to act as a barrier. People kept coming along the beach and thinking – aha, free pool, I will nab that – but more fool them as the secondary pool was full of scorching water. After just a couple of hours, the tide started to turn back and we had to abandon our little spa.
After another horrendously stormy night, we woke up to a beautiful morning, perfect for a stroll along to the scenic Cathedral Cove.
More photos on Mr Beet’s flickr page.