Hot Water Puddle Spas – Hahei, New Zealand

Laughed all the way to Hahei on the windey roller coaster type roads. Irene and I were in a silly mood and it was one of those giggly days. We jumped off the Intercity bus and onto the Loop bus after helping the elderly driver load on cartons of wine she was to deliver to the town restaurant. We never did eat there but the Church Restaurant happens to be in an old church converted into a lodge and restaurant. Someone joked about sleeping in a church and we thought that was funny. Hey, lots of people do that anyway, here they just charge you for it.

We got to Tatahi Backpackers and to our pleasant surprise it was even nicer than the last one with an amazing view of the greenery. The not so distant crashing of the waves reminds me just how close the beach is. Things were quite new and clean looking with hardwood everywhere.

Played some version of a card game, Bumboy (every country calls it something different but I had never heard of this one before) with some Kiwis before enjoying a healthy and delicious dinner of Irenes` chicken with fresh sweet corn on the cob.

A group of us went to the infamous Hot Water Beach during the two hours low tide, armed with our spades and shovels. It`s quite a strange experience as the are more than a hundred people digging holes in the small beach of sand hunting for just the right temperature to create their “free spa”. After many attempts, we ended up just taking over someones` hole who had abandoned it and making it bigger to accommodate the 5 of us.

The thermal hot springs created by the volcanic activity are quite popular with all ages and even the odd pet. We had to be careful we didn`t bury the dog that belonged to the people in the pool next door to us. We shovelled furiously but the sand kept sliding in so the holes never really get more than 5 to 8 inches deep.

So here you are, marinating in a little puddle of sometimes unbearably boiling hot water. I had to laugh as I peered over the large mounds of heavy sand as the tide crept in, invading and eventually dissolving peoples` barricades with cold sea water. As they desperately worked to build up their fortress walls, it almost turned into a game to see whose spa would last the longest from the threatening emerging tide.

Earlier in the day, someone had to be rescued from the hungry ocean after the town wide siren alerted the locals. Apparently, it is extremely dangerous to swim here because of the rips. There are 7 deadly rips which have claimed the lives of 10 over the last few years.

A very concerned and upset Irene took it upon herself to warn everyone ( and I mean, everyone) who even had their foot touching the “water of the danger”, bless her soul. That night, we had one giggle fit after another in our dorm room reminding me of sleepover parties back in grade school. Maybe it was something in the water.

This entry was posted in Australasia and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply