The popular Hot Water Beach is a wild beach to wander and a delightful thermal oddity. A warm spring seeps beneath the beach, and by scooping a shallow hole in the sand, you can create a pool of warm water; the deeper you dig, the hotter the water becomes. The phenomenon occurs only at low to mid-tide, so time your trip accordingly. In summer you'll be joined by hundreds of other spade-toting, wannabe bathers–-plan your visit outside of busy January, if you can. If you are an adventurous sort, it can be fun in winter to sit in warm water while it rains. Hot Water Beach is well signposted off Hahei Beach Road from Whenuakite (fen-oo-ah-kye-tee). Do not swim in the surf at Hot Water Beach; the spot is notorious for drownings. However, nearby, at the end of Hahei Beach Road, you'll find one of the finest protected coves on the coast, with sands tinted pink from crushed shells; it's safe to swim here. If you need to while away some time before the tide goes out, there is a beachside café plus the Moko Artspace gallery across the road. Amenities: cafés and art gallery; changing rooms and showers; toilets; parking (small fee). Best for: natural hot water tubs in the sand; surfing (for experienced surfers only); walking.