The Hot Pools
The hot springs at Hot Water Beach are an unusual phenomena, the history goes back millions of years and it is worth considering when you sit in your spa on the beach that your hot pool has existed for some 150 million years. While volcanoes erupted and disturbed the ocean floor, an 80km long finger of land which we now call the Coromandel Peninsula, was formed. The rock is known as Greywacke, a coarse sandstone with 15% or more of clay. Well known for carrying award winning vineyards.
Twenty million years ago the Coromandel was riven by Andesetic volcanic eruptions. These volcanoes have been largely weathered away, however some have their central core of magma which solidified into hard rock remain and a good example is the formidable Castle Rock in the foothills behind Coromandel township. It is estimated the when these volcanoes were first active, the height of the volcanoes could have been as much as 500m higher than the present skyline.
From 9 million years ago the area had volcanic activity in the form of Rhyolitic Volcanoes (more explosive) mainly in the area from Kapowai near Hot Water Beach to Waihi in the south.
Andesite and Rhyolite formations covered the Greywacke and the following years of sea level changes and weathering have produced the magnificent Coromandel Ranges. This geographical text explains the many secret beaches, coves and harbours that give this region its beauty.
The volcanic activity that created the peninsula’s landscape is the catalyst for the hot springs that are a feature of Hot Water Beach. Water seeping through fissures in the base rock leach down to the hot molten magma many thousands of metres below the earth’s surface, only to be sent back to the surface as hot water exiting through the hot springs on the beach and in the Te Waiwaiwe Creek which runs alongside the beach.
The springs on the beach are not only confined to the area between high and low water marks at the base of the headland, but also out into the area beyond the rocks off the beach for quite some distance. At low tide the hot mineral water seeping up through the sand attracts large numbers of visitors who dig their pools in the sand and enjoy their natural spa.
Please be aware that the temperature of the hot water can be very hot for sensitive skin and be aware of tidal rips if swimming in the surf near to the spring’s area.
For local tide information click here.