Jess is a Wanderer at Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove
Jess is a Wanderer tells you where to find hot water pools and natural rock formations on Coromandel Peninsula's east coast...
Easily accessible by car or bicycle, Hot Water Beach should be visited two hours either side of low-tide. This means that the sea will be out far enough that you can dig in the sand (in a specific location) in order to find hot water. Honestly, I couldn't believe how hot it was. More than 60c in some places! Fortunately, it does cool and you can mix the colder water in to create the perfect bathing temperature.
Be warned, it is a busy affair. You'll know exactly where to dig because of the hordes of people doing the same thing. If you get lucky and there's no one around, you'll see the mist rising from the shore which will point you in the right direction.
If you're not lucky enough to have a spade, you can hire one from the shops nearby or wait for someone to leave and then commandeer their hole. We did this as we didn't seem to be able to find our own hot water source! Can you believe that. We must have been digging wrong or something.
Not far from Hot Water Beach - around 6km away there's a lovely beach called Hahei. Again, a lovely bicycle ride or you can drive because there's plenty of free parking. Some advice - there's different parking available along the route to Cathedral Cove. We parked in the furthest away park and ride place - because we didn't know there was other parking available. However, it was only a short 7km walk to Cathedral Cove itself. If you park elsewhere, it's still around a 5km walk. Don't wear flip-flops because it's quite steep in parts, I messed up with poor footwear choice. There are other places to visit along the way: Gemstone Cave among others. Only a 2-3 minute detour off the main path and worth seeing.
Just above the cove itself, there's an extra 2km-return walk you can do through the forest to a lookout. I tramped along the path and it was lovely to get a birds-eye view of the sea, rocks and cliffs. It's really beautiful so if you've got the energy, give it a go.
After a while, you start the descent to Cathedral Cove itself. It's a fabulous white sandy beach with turquoise waters and the archway really has to be seen to be believed. Of course, there are millions of people there but with a little patience, you'll be able to take a relatively people-free pic.
Visiting Cathedral Cove was well worth the cycling and tramping. I'd definitely have preferred less tourists to have been there but you can't have everything!