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Coromandel Trip - Xmas 2019

Few weeks ago, my son watched a Youtube video about hot water beach and was really excited when I told him it is in New Zealand so we decided to take an impromptu trip there before Xmas.

Hot water beach is actually only around 2.5 hours drive from Auckland but the wife didn't want to sit in the car for 5 hours in the same day. Fortunately we managed to find a nice holiday apartment in Whitianga despite busy holiday season, which is a nice small beach-side town only 30 minutes away from the hot water beach.

Kids @ Whitianga beach

Day 1

Hot water beach

The best time to dig your own hot spa at the hot water beach is one hour on either side of the low tide, which was around 10:15am on the day. We decided to leave early and drove there first thing in the morning. We managed to get there by 10:45am but the beach was already packed with visitors.

We tried to find an empty spot and started digging with our big garden spade (most people were using mini toy-like ones) but only cold water came out.

Apparently only the small area in front of the big rock towards the centre of the beach has hot water underground. Luckily a family next to us was leaving and they kindly asked us if we'd like to take over the pool.

Kids and me with our big garden spade

The beach itself is also a nice soft white sand beach with decent wave for surfing and bodyboarding but we did't bring our gears with us.

The hot water beach

We left the beach after an hour or so, had some overpriced fish & chips and headed for Whitianga.


This small town has changed a lot since last time we visited nearly 10 years ago. The waterfront and town centre have clearly been done up recently and it feels like a smaller version of the popular Queenstown.

Whitianga waterfront

The glass-bottom boat tour was nice and the crew members did a great job telling history and local stories. However, we were all sea-sick due to the bumpy water after the first 30 minutes and didn't take much picture.

Day 2

I didn't sleep particular well so I got up early and went for a morning jog along the water front walkway. I was only planning to run around 10k but it was such a nice morning so I ended up running further.

Whitianga morning run

After my run, we packed up and drove to Coromandel town.

Coromandel town

Driving from Whitianga to Coromandel town only took an hour but it was an hour of winding mountain roads so it felt much longer. When we finally arrived, the Coromandel town felt .... exactly the same as 10 years ago. I even recognised the same restaurant we had dinner last time because it had not changed at all.

The holiday park we stayed in for the night was quite nice, it's got a swimming pool and kids play area, everyone especially loved the jumping pillow.

The jump pillow

We went for the Driving Creed Railways train ride in the late afternoon and had dinner at the Pepper Tree restaurant.

Day 3

I went out for another run the next morning to explore Coromandel town, it actually felt a lot like the Titirangi and Waitakere area in Auckland with its rocky beaches, trees and hills.

Coromandel Morning Run

We packed up and headed home afterward and stopped by a small beach near Thames to stretch our legs.

Kids throwing rocks at the random small beach

All in all, our favourite spot of this entire trip is Whitianga and are thinking of visiting it again next Xmas so we can spend more time on the beach.


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