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Friday, April 25, 2014

New Zealand’s Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach is a popular beach and geothermal attraction located on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand, approximately 12 kilometers southeast of Whitianga. Between low and high tides, warm water from two underground hot springs rises up through the sand, and by scooping a shallow hole in the sand, you can create a small pool of warm water to lie on. The phenomenon occurs only at low to mid-tide when the water is low to expose the area of sand with hot water underneath. Two hours before and after low tide is the best time to go.
During peak season, hundreds of people and family take to the beach with spades and bucket and start digging pools large enough to lay and relax while the warm water envelops them. The deeper you dig, the hotter the water becomes with temperature reaching as hot as 64°C. Because the water is scalding hot, diggers would often dig a channel to the sea to allow cold water to mix in. With the ebb and flow of the tide each individually created hot pool is washed away clearing the way for the next influx of visitors.
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The beach is a popular destination both for locals and tourists visiting New Zealand. However, care needs to be exercised as the location of the hot springs are not far from the sea even at low tide, and visitors are known to be caught unaware by dangerous rip currents, holes and large breaking waves that have claimed the lives of many.
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