Hot water beaches and hot days in the Coromandel Peninsula

It didn’t take us long to get used to being part of the camper van community in New Zealand. So far our road trip had taken us through Auckland, the Bay of Islands, Waipoua Forest and the Kauri Coast, with the next stop being the picturesque Coromandel Peninsula.

We set off from our roadside camp in Orewa, towards the Pacific Coast Highway. The road alongside this coast quickly became our favourite, due to the blue seas and pretty coastline that lined it. We stopped at a place called Orere Point which has a gorgeous stony beach and blue seas – we managed to park Fred right by the waves!

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We continued along the coast towards the town of Thames where we paid a visit to the “i-site” tourist information centre (these things are great) to find out some more info on the area. The main reason we were heading to the Coromandel Peninsula was to visit ‘Hot Water Beach’ where we had been told that we could literally dig our own spa in the sand. This could only be done at low tide when the hot spring underneath the beach could easily be accessed.

We raced up to Hot Water Beach to make it in time for low tide – the best times to visit are two hours before and after the tide has gone out – we arrived an hour after the tide went out  so had plenty of time to make the most of it.

There are a few places near the beach where you can hire spades so we grabbed one from a nearby shop and walked across the sand towards a rocky outcrop where we were told that the hot spring could be accessed. The hot spring is a result of volcanic activity about 9 million years ago – magma buried deep underground is still cooling down after all those years, but is still hot enough to heat the spring water to up to 65 degrees! It took us a while to get the hang of where to dig in the sand, but we soon came across some extremely hot water flowing past the numerous pits that people had already dug.

Richard managed to get a great flow of hot and cool water going, which ran straight into our makeshift spas. Parts of the beach were so hot from the spring that we couldn’t even put our feet into the water, but after a while we found the perfect balance!

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Hot Water Beach was amazing, but we had much more to see in the Coromandel Peninsula! A few kilometres north of the beach is the town of Hahei and nearby Cathedral Cove.  Here, we chose to do a coastal walk towards the Cove – this took us through forest and along the cliff tops with some spectacular views of our surroundings.

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Cathedral Cove itself was beautiful – one of the most popular places in the Peninsula to visit.

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After Cathedral Cove we stopped off for some sausage and chips in Hahei town before driving to a campsite in Whenuakite, where we stayed for the night. It’s fair to say that the Coromandel Peninsula has been our favourite place so far – the great weather may have had a lot to do with it, but we much preferred this part of the North Island to the Bay of Islands. Perhaps if we hadn’t been caught in a cyclone whilst there we may have felt differently, but for now, we’d be happy to recommend the Peninsula!


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