Things to Do

There is lots of things to do in and around Hot Water Beach on NZ's Coromandel Peninsula, including relaxing in the natural hot springs on the beach, a visit to Cathedral Cove, Hahei, Whitianga/Mercury Bay or Coromandel township. Hot Water Beach is great for adventure and watersports too with great fishing, surfing, scuba diving and wind-surfing.  Great local dining options include the awesome Hot Waves Cafe at Hot Water Beach and also The Church Restaurant at Hahei, and Eggscentric Cafe at Flaxmill Bay.  Here are some more of our favourite things:


Relax in your own Hot Pool

Check the tide chart for Mercury Bay/Whitianga or checkout the timetable in the local store and head across the beach 1-2 hours either side of low tide*.  If you’re first on the scene, head just to the seaward side of the first rocky outcrops along the beach.  Take one of our shovels or spades (which you'll find in the outhouse behind the bach), find a hot spot in the sand, and dig yourself a hot pool.  Better still, save yourself some hard work, wait until right on low tide when some fellow travellers have done the hard work for you, wait until they’ve had enough, then hop into their hot pool for a relaxing soak. 

(please note that the hot pools aren't always be available at low tide, rough seas, very high tides, storms and sand shifts can mean they can sometimes be covered by the sea).















A day trip to Cathedral Cove

A 10 minute drive from Hot Water Beach takes you to the entry to the Cathedral Cove walkway.  Park your car, take in the sights from the stunning cliff-top lookout, read up on the history, then set off on a beautiful walk through farmland and bush to Cathedral Cove.  It takes about 30-40 minutes.  You’ll be greeted with a small but perfectly formed beach, white sands, with native bush overhanging the beach.  Or even better, save your heels and contact one of the local kayaking companies, and kayak your way there from Hahei Beach.


Take a ferry ride to Whitianga Township

15 minutes by car is ‘Ferry Landing’.  Park your car, then it’s a short wait for the public ferry which only takes a couple of minutes to get across the harbour to Mercury Bay wharf.  Take the kids fishing from the wharf, or take a walk through the township, there’s a great selection of cafes, restaurants, boutiques, grocery stores, an excellent local tourist information centre, plus a small movie theatre, and a great mix of shops to browse.


A Trip to the Lost Spring Spa

Take the ferry from Ferry Landing or drive around to Whitianga Township where you can visit the fabulous Lost Spring Spa.  This beautifully landscaped luxury pool complex is less than 10 minutes walk from the ferry, and features an excellent bar service, cafe, and full day spa services. 


Enjoy Brunch at Hot Waves Café 

Five minutes walk from Taumata holiday home is Hot Waves Café.  It has an excellent alfresco dining area, is great for breakfast or lunch, and makes Hot Water Beach’s best coffee.  Often live music is performed on the weekends or on public holidays.


Go Fishing off Hot Water Beach

Cast a line straight off Hot Water Beach (around about the middle, just to the right of the rocks 20m or so out to sea).  You’ve got an excellent chance of catching a snapper or kawhai for dinner.  Or alternatively, try your luck rock fishing at the first point around the left of the beach – we’ve had some great catches there too.  And if you dive or snorkel, there are great options off the rocks at either end of the beach.  The Hahei/Cathedral Cove area is a scuba diver’s dream, but is mostly designated as a marine reserve, so you can only look! 


Catch a Wave at Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach is a great place to surf with good beach breaks in moderate easterly swells.  The most popular spots are on the Southern end of the beach adjacent to where the rocky area begins, or half way along the beach.  However, HWB isn’t for novices!  We don’t recommend surfing here if you’re a newbie, and if your kids are on their boogie boards, make sure they swim between the flags – in the area patrolled by the Surf Lifeguard Service.  If in doubt, ask at the friendly surf school next to the local store.


Visit the Glow Worms

Only 7 minutes walk away.  Once it’s dark, take your torch, and head off on the road heading out of Hot Water Beach.  Once you’ve crossed the bridge, walk around another 100 metres, turn right and take the track along the side of the estuary.  Under the foliage on the bank on your left you’ll see some beautiful glowworms.


Take the Kids for a Swim

Hot Water Beach has a great estuary for the kids.  Given the sea can get pretty rough, the estuary (which is a mix of salt and fresh water) is a great option for children to go swimming, and there’s plenty of space at the waters-edge for you to keep an eye on them.  Another option is Cooks Beach estuary, which is around 15 minutes away by car, and it’s great for kids too. Or for a more sheltered beach than Hot Water Beach try Flaxmill Bay or Cooks Beach.


Enjoy Dinner at The Church in Hahei

Our favourite local restaurant.  Book ahead if you can as they are very popular.  Around 10-15 minutes drive away is ‘The Church’ – a beautiful old church which has been relocated from the Central North Island and turned into a restaurant.  Friendly service, excellent meals, local seafood is a specialty and you can even sample the local wine from Cooks Beach Vineyard. Excellent!


Take a Day Trip to Coromandel Township

Head North to olde Coromandel Town.  This ex Goldmining township is really worth the visit.  Character buildings, excellent views on the way, some great cafes, and an excellent selection of art and craft galleries and stores. While you’re there, pick up some fresh smoked fish from the excellent ‘Smokehouse’ or maybe visit the Driving Creek Railway.


Buy a Unique Gift at Moko

Hot Water Beach features its own gift store where you’ll always find something really different.  Moko is just opposite the general store on Pye Place (about 3 minutes walk away from the holiday home).  They’ve got an excellent range of locally made arts and crafts, from giant pots and garden ornaments to a wide range of rare succulents, beautiful shell jewellery, along with wall hangings, sculptures, paintings and photographs.


Stare out to Sea

Chill out on the balcony, stare out to sea and if you’re lucky you’ll see the dolphins come and play in the bay.  Dolphin pods regularly visit and play in the surf at Hot Water Beach.



Go Bird Watching

Chances are you will awaken to birdsong each morning. Hot Water Beach has an abundant bird population. On Hot Water Beach itself birdwatchers can see native banded dotterels nesting, black oystercatchers, gulls, gannets, terns, blue penguins. Around Taumata itself you can often spot tuis feeding on the flax flowers, white-eyes, fantails, and regular visits from pheasants and quail.  You will often come across playful fantails at Hot Water Beach - most commonly seen if you walk along the lagoon walkway which goes from the beach to the road.

Go Golfing

15 minutes away is the local 9 hole golf course – Purangi.  We’re not into golfing, but the neighbours are, and we’re told it’s a great wee course.

Ask the Local Experts 

And those are just some of our favourites.  There’s lots more to see and do – just click here for the official lowdown on the Coromandel Peninsula or give the Whitianga Tourist Information Centre a call on +64 (7) 866 5555.