“Quick! Pass me the spade”, I shouted above the din, as I found a spare piece of sand between holes of all shapes and sizes.
As advised by those clever people at ‘Infinite Travel’ we’d arrived an hour before low tide as planned, parked our campervan and rushed down to the sandy beach.
In the distance, we could see groups of people at the waters’ edge, all frantically digging holes, some with garden spades and others just using their bare hands.
Had we stumbled on a treasure hunt? Or an ancient Maori ceremony perhaps?
No, we were on the world famous ‘Hot Water Beach’ and we’d come to dig ourselves a Jacuzzi.
Far beneath this wonderful beach, underground volcanoes have created hot water that slowly works its way to the surface, where it oozes up just beneath the sand. An hour either side of low tide is when the sand is exposed where the hot water is, so check the tide tables before you go. Simply hire a spade from the nearby café and dig yourself a sauna in the sand, then wait for the hot water to seep up into it, lie down and relax. (Watch out though as the water can get as hot as 64 degrees C.)
It was wonderful to see people of all ages and nationalities sharing little baths of hot water and then hear them shriek when a cold wave rushed in over their bodies.
A father and his two young sons laughed as they tried desperately to stop their hole from collapsing.
Nearby, staring out to sea, an elderly Japanese man was standing erect with his trousers rolled up and his legs buried up to his knees.
Laughter filled the air as all cares were forgotten, spades were shared and new friends made, just from the simple pleasure of playing in the sand.
*Rosie’s Tip – If you miss low tide, Hot Water Beach is still a wonderful place to spend a few relaxing hours, or days, watching the waves crashing over the rocks and looking for dolphins on the horizon or you can go sea kayaking in nearby Cathedral Cove, but try to make it at low tide, I think you’ll really ‘dig it’.
(c) Rosie Casburn.