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Hot Water Beach Natural Hot Springs

When we say it pays to take a spade when you head to this beach, we mean it - a big garden-variety spade that'll help dig to a decent depth. Because, for two hours either side of low tide at this Coromandel beach, a solid sand dig will unearth hot spring water to feed your very own beachside pool.

And this, surprisingly, is just a stone's throw away from the warm summer waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Lined by a feisty surf beach (with Castle Rock in the foreground) and a long shard of cliffs, Hot Water Beach is book-ended by tufts of pohutukawa trees. In between, white sands hide an underground river of hot water that flows from the Earth's interior to surface in this picturesque location.

It's common to see flocks of people putting their full force behind a sandy excavation at this prime coastal spot. And, as the endeavours reach fever pitch, Hot Water Beach becomes pockmarked with large super-heated soaking holes brimming with relaxed bathers.

With the ebb and flow of the tide, each individually created hot pool is completely washed away, creating a fresh sandy palette ready for the next influx of visitors.