That’s right – a beach. But I’m not talking about any old beach here. Hot Water Beach is like something you’ve probably never experienced before. I’d never heard of it before I went to New Zealand.

Hot Water Beach

Credit: Steve & Jem Copley

You can dig your very own thermal pool in the sand, but take it easy – the water can get extremely hot! This hot water occurs because of volcanic activity in the area. There are two underground fissures which bring heated water to the surface. So if you’ve been travelling for a while, it may be the closest thing you’ve had to a bath for quite some time. I’m not saying this is the situation I found myself in…

Hot Water Beach

Credit: David Lynch

The water contains large amounts of salt as well as lithium, potassium, magnesium and other minerals. All these minerals apparently have health benefits. For example, the magnesium helps to convert blood sugar to energy and gives you healthy skin. Which is always a bonus; who doesn’t want to have better skin? I’m still dubious about these claims, though…

Hot Water Beach

Credit: David Lynch

If you’re thinking about heading to Hot Water Beach, make sure you plan ahead, because you can only dig yourself a pool two hours either side of low tide.

When I went, I went with a large group at around 11pm. We armed only with torches and shovels. As we approached, we could hear the crashing of the waves but couldn’t really see much as it was pitch black. It was a bit disconcerting!

We decided to aimlessly dig in the hope of finding this mysterious hot water, like prospectors mining for gold (we wouldn’t make very good miners). However it didn’t take long. Within a few moments, we found ourselves bathing in our very own thermal pool. Visiting in the evening is a unique experience and I’d fully recommend it, even if you’re not a fan of bath time!

Let us know if you’ve ever experienced a natural thermal beach like this. As far as I know, this is the only hot water beach of its kind in the world…

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