It’s Kawhia Hot Water Beach where the Te Puia Hot Spring bubbles to the surface right there on the beach two hours either side of low tide.
In true Kiwi do-it-yourself style, you dig your own spa bath – if you’re staying at Kawhia Beachside Scape or Kawhia Camping Ground they’ll lend you a spade, otherwise, it’s BYO (bring your own). No spade at home? Purchase one enroute from a locally owned Mitre10 store.
The au naturel experience of creating your own spa in the sand and lazing in the warm water is best enjoyed when the low tide coincides with the setting of the sun out over the ocean. You can check out tide tables online here or here to ensure your visit is in synch with the sunset.
Some of the tide websites will also tell you the best fishing tides – fishing being a major drawcard for many heading for this off-the-beaten-track area. There’s fishing in the harbour as well as surfcasting and ocean fishing with several local charter boats operators who know the area, and the best fishing spots, like the backs of their hands and are available to take you out onto the briny.
Other ways to be refreshed by nature in the Kawhia area include beach walks – the black iron-rich sands do heat up in the summer sun, so be sure to bring adequate footwear – or walking trails through forest, around the harbour and even to the sister harbour, Aotea, to the north and a 1.5 hour roundtrip.
Kawhia Hot Water Beach Location:
Directions: Drive to the end of Ocean Beach Road (ask one of the friendly locals if you have trouble finding this road). Park in the car park and walk over the sand dunes down onto Ocean Beach.