If you're coming to Hot Water Beach, you need to know ...
When to arrive
What to bring
How to get here
How much does it co$t
How to survive the common rip tide
What is it?
Some volcanos develop huge underground reservoirs of superheated water. Over time, this water will escape to the surface — cooling on the way. There are two fissures at Hot Water Beach issuing water as hot as 64ºC (147ºF) at a rate as high as 15 litres/minute. This water contains large amounts of salt (NOT salt water), calcium, magnesium, potassium, fluorine, bromine and silica. There are other hot water springs nearby but the location of these two springs on the beach make them unique.
The short answer is: ONE hour either side of low tide (okay, up to two
hours but only if the low tide is REALLY low). Plan to arrive BEFORE
low tide to (a) stake-out a place for digging your 'spa' (Hot Water
Beach DOES get crowded) and
(b) allow for some relaxation in your 'spa' before the tide rises
and reclaims the beach, 'spas' and all.
A table of low tides is displayed to the right. The low tide table starts TODAY (as defined on our server) and provides two weeks of low tides so you can plan your visit to Hot Water Beach. If you're not interested in the next two weeks, update the day, month and year and you'll see the low tides from that date -- within the range from 1 Aug 2007 to 31 Dec 2020. Now you can plan your visit to Mercury Bay -- and Hot Water Beach!
Beach gear, of course! Bathing suit (tops ARE optional 8·) and sandals
Access -- plan on walking through the small stream which separates the car park from the 100 m of beach you need to cross (sorry, there is NO mobility impaired access).
Towels and sunscreen are necessary in the summer.
Spade and bucket -- the spade (or a plastic milk bottle cut as a scoop)
will help you dig your spa but the bucket is just as important! It
will allow you to bring the cooler ocean water to keep you from
scalding your feet (or whatever else you put in your spa!-)
Camera! If you arrive in our winter, it will be cool but the water can be HOT!
Despite Kiwis' love of their dogs, please plan on NOT bringing your dog here. They are not prohibited but dogs MUST be on a lead and you'll have to "police" any mess.
If you're planning on staying at Hot Water Beach, be advised that there is NO camping on the beach. However, there is ... Auntie Dawns Place!
WARNING: Despite the volunteer lifeguards (only at the height of the season), Hot Water Beach's rip tides have claimed many unwary visitors. Know how to swim in rip tides before you venture into the ocean!
How to get here?
There's only one way. Take State Highway 25 to Whenuakite where the only notable junction is the road to Hot Water Beach, Cook's Beach and Hahei/Cathedral Cove. Stay on the main road until you see the (right) turn to Hot Water Beach (~8 km). Please pay attention to the speed limit on this road as it gives a good indication of the road condition -- which is paved right up to the car park.
Of course, NO visit to New Zealand would be complete without sitting on the beach in your own private hot pool at the world renowned Hot Water Beach!
How much does it co$t?
Sorry, the New Zealand government has yet to tax the natural thermal springs such as this one on the beach (all New Zealand beaches are open to the public) so there is NO CHARGE! Of course, if you'd like to have an ice cream, drink or sandwich at the shop (conveniently located at the car park), those are not free. It's true that there's "no free lunch," but ...