Hot Water Beach is located along the coast of Mercury Bay between Tairua and Whitianga. To access the hot bubbling water you have to be there within 2-hours either side of low tide. This is one of those unique experiences that is worth doing at least once in your life-time. We didn’t know whether we were going to manage it with our Finlay but we were excited to find out. On the day the weather was not the best but that certainly didn’t deter anyone.
We found only one marked mobility park right next to the outdoor showers and the toilet facilities.
Showers & Bathrooms
Directly in front of the mobility park is the outdoor showers and the toilet facilities to the left. During peak season this area will no doubt be a hub of activity as everyone washes the sand from themselves.
A café and souvenir shop is also close buy with ‘spade hire’ service in hot demand. Spade Hire Cost at this shop was $10 hire plus a $10 deposit.
Route to Hot Spot
We had no idea if we were going to accomplish this trip but equipped with our Finlay’s trustee Hippocampe beach wheelchair we were excited to find out. We hired two spades, looked out into the distance to where we could see the majority of people, and started our push to the finish line.
We followed the pavement to the right of the mobility park to find the main step-free access onto the beach. It was signposted ’emergency access’ but was definitely the easiest route to tackle before the river crossing.
We found the sand quite soft to begin with especially with all the foot traffic along the way. We also ended up with a wet, rainy day that probably didn’t make things any easier.
The good old Hippocampe and a bit of brawn got us through. The water wasn’t deep but certainly chilly on the feet as not quite the Summer season.
We headed straight towards the foreshore where the sand was firmer and easier to wheel along. This is where the kids took over assisting Finlay to where the action was.
Finding your Patch
As complete novices we didn’t quite know where to start digging. We had to get through those that were already there to find a patch. Eventually, we asked for some advice and were told to dig where the sand felt warm under the feet. We would also have better success closer to where the sea was.
Let the Digging Commence
Once we found our ‘hot spot’ we were ready to start digging. The key was to make sure we built a barrier wall against the incoming surf. Finlay watched on with amusement as everyone took turns with the spades.
Tip: Bring sandfly repellent or some tea tree oil just in case!
Our very own Hot Pool
The time had come to jump in and relax. So, togs on and with a two-person lift we managed to get our Finlay in. His face was a picture of delight which made all the effort to get here well worth it.
The Alternative Route
Just as you drive down the hill to Hot Water Beach, before the bridge on the left hand side is a large light gravel carpark. This is where the camper vans seem to park. There are no marked mobility parks but the terrain is flat. Along from the carpark is the track that starts off following the main road and then leads you into the bush, following the river. This trail will take you right to the beach and closer to where the action is.
The only downside to this route really is the fact you can’t shower off. But, if you are staying at the local Top 10 Holiday Park then there will be facilities there and it’s only literally around the corner. There is a marked ‘accessible’ toilet at the beginning of the track which I didn’t take the time to check out.
This route took me only 5-minutes to walk. There was also a lot of rainfall in the area, but the track was in reasonably good condition.
I even took a wee video of my walk. Starts from the entry to the beach and heads back to the road. Follow along below!