New Zealand,  Oceania,  TDM,  Travel Journal

Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove (New Zealand): nice if you have some time

Not very far from Hobbiton Movie Set (1h30), it is Hot Water Beach that we visit this afternoon. It’s a dangerous beach (if we swim) but fun if we just make a hole in the sand and sit in it to enjoy the hot thermal water

Part 1: Travel Diaries

Hot Water Beach

Nobody tells us concretely how it works until we read the sign near the parking lot. There are 2 springs (2 holes of 10cm that we can only notice, from which a burning water spouts out). It is necessary to dig a hole in the sand certainly, but also a system of viaduct to make enter a part of this water, and a part of water of the river which flows nearby. Everything is so approximate that there are only 2 possible outcomes: burning your buttocks, or freezing to death. We choose another alternative: to burn our feet when approaching the source

From time to time, sea water comes to our rescue to reduce the temperature, but when it withdraws, we find ourselves with burning feet. For those who have the courage to put on a bathing suit, near the parking lot there are free cold showers


It’s fun, it’s total chaos especially when the tide rises and destroys the sand pools, but we spend a good thirty minutes watching people digging or digging a mini hole with our burnt feet

Colville Bay

For a mysterious reason, I decide to spend the night in a camp at the other end of the world (1h30 of road) instead of choosing a camp near Hahei (where we will go tomorrow). The road is dangerous with tight curves half-shaded half-sunny, it takes 2 hours instead of 1h30 and arrives super tired at the camp… only to discover that this camp does not overlook the sea and that the low tide makes the bay a bit ugly

Only consolation: the path crosses the beautiful Amodeo Bay


Cathedral Cove

The following day, we still have 1h30 to return to Hahei, but this time, asking the GPS to avoid as much as possible the unpaved roads. Arrived at the carpark of Cathedral Cove, we realize that we are Saturday, from where 0 place available at the carpark. The nearest parking lot (in the village) is 2km away, and the houses nearby offer parking spaces for 10$NZ. By dint of turning in circles, we end up finding a place. Yippee!

No one told us that we had to walk 1h30 round trip to see Cathedral Cove. We are motivated all the same, and the beaches are well worth 1h30 of walk. It is a place of filming of the World of Narnia, I dig in my memories, I do not manage to find this scene, at the same time this framing does not emphasize the landscapes


For real

View on the right side of the beach


Typical Selfie on the left side of the beach: at low tide you can even access another beach. I made the mistake to access the other beach despite the small waves, finally it’s deeper than I thought: soaked shoes


Fortunately, as nature is well done, on the right side of the beach there are 2 small waterfalls. I was able to rinse my shoes with fresh water, before walking with (splash splash splash) for 45 minutes to the parking lot

JB advises me a great scouting technique to dry them when there isn’t a single ray of sunshine: stuff them with newspaper until they dry. The next morning, I find my shoes all clean and dry

The locals love this place, many children swim here despite the cold water, they run on the long beach, hunt seagulls, play with the small waves. It must be cool to grow up in New Zealand. Jealous mode activated

Listen, it is very nice this corner of New Zealand but if we had less time, we would have removed it gladly from our itinerary. The positive point is that these two “top attractions” are free and not very far from each other

Part 2: Practical Tips

  • Don’t make the same mistake as me, spend a night in Hahei instead, there are plenty of nice campsites even if it’s not cheap (between 20$NZ and 25$NZ per person). However, as soon as you get away from Hahei to find nice places, it’s at least 120km round trip in tight curves
  • Concerning food, I advise against pizza and ice creams in the village near Cathedral Cove, expensive and not good
  • For some mysterious reason, I see many young girls trying to walk barefoot to Cathedral Cove. This isn’t a good idea! There are pebbles all along the way. However, bringing a towel + bathing suits is a good idea. There are dry toilets on the beach, where you can change.
  • There are also traps to ?? (I didn’t pay attention to the name of the animal) near the road, so follow the path, don’t get lost


  • Hot Water Beach: Gratos. Shovel rental: 5$NZ. Bring Betadine for burnt buttocks. Free cold shower near the parking lot
  • Cathedral Cove: Gratos. But if you can’t find a parking space nearby, private parking costs NZ$10. Free cold shower under the waterfalls on the right side of the beach. Dry toilets on the beach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *