The Coromandel Peninsula is a magical place. Here's some top tips and recommendations for you to maximise your time here.
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The Coromandel Peninsula has the most-winding roads in all of New Zealand. It might look like only short distances between places, but it's not. Allow a full day to do a basic loop on State Highway 25, seeing things on the way. But you're on holiday, right? Slow down and enjoy the amazing scenery.
Hot Water Beach has appeared on the international backpacker radar. As a result, the place is getting very crowded. The springs themselves are not very big, and there's only a limited number of pools you can dig in the sand between the hot springs and the ocean. Also, you can only access the hot water two hours either side of low tide. After then, the spring water is swamped by cold sea water. During summer, especially in the afternoons, we don't recommend visiting Hot Water Beach. Unless, of course, your idea of fun is to stand shivering in your swim trunks/bikini squashed in by (mostly) young Europeans and North Americans, waiting for someone to move out of a pool so you can get your feet warm. The best time to visit is actually in the early morning or in the evening, and in winter.
Picture this: It's a cold, crisp, clear morning. The sun is rising out of the blue ocean and the dunes frame a beautiful white sand beach. You trudge out with your swimming gear on and warm clothes over them, and your hand spade. You work your feet into the sand where the hot water is, finding the best place that is not too hot, not too cold. You strip down to your swimwear and dig a pool in the sand, which fills up with hot spring water and cold sea water, creating a lovely warm bath. You lie there in a natural sand pool, toasty warm while the mist rises off the ocean and the waves roar onto the quiet beach. Magical. That's the best Hot Water Beach experience.