You know those days where everything is absolutely beautiful? Sunshine, salt water, a beautiful beach to be explored? Today was one of those days. After a week of rain and cold in the land of the long white cloud (it’s very aptly named, by the way) we were experiencing a bit of cabin fever. It’s impossible to go outside, as we have limited clothing options and nowhere to dry wet outfits. And while being inside our adventurous little camper is quite warm and cozy, it can get a bit cramped after a while. So to wake up to blue skies and warm (ish) weather was better than waking up on Christmas morning to fresh snow!
You may or may not be aware of this, but New Zealand is home to many geothermal areas. These forces are what created the islands, actually. And thanks to them, there are dozens of hot-springs in various locations around the South and North Islands. Unfortunately though, most of these areas have been bought by local companies and aren’t natural (or free) anymore. As a result, we haven’t visited many of them.
Today was the exception.
Hot Water Beach is on the Coromandel Peninsula of the North Island. We’d heard it was a great place to go experience a hot spring. After a short walk from the car park, we came across a large group of backpackers, apparently there for the same reason. Armed with shovels, my brothers leapt into the melee. I sat back and watched, amused by the futility of it all. About fifteen young men and women, together with my three brothers, were busily shoveling sand out of a never-ending hole. For every spadeful of sand that was tossed out of the pit, another was thrown in, either by the overly excited and unorganized mass of diggers or by the surf. The sand steamed in the cool air. Just beneath the surface, extremely hot water waited to be released from the sand above. Water temperature could reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, easily hot enough to cause a burn.
I can’t say that the surf ever went down far enough to allow the endless reenforcement of the pit to stop. But the tired diggers did eventually have a bit of room to lie down in the water, which was satisfactorily hot! If you’re ever in the area, I would definitely recommend trying out the hot spring at Hot Water Beach. Be sure to bring a shovel and come at low tide!
And yes, I did help dig in the end!