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Hot Water Beach (Coromandel) EarthCache

Hidden : 04/11/2007
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Geocache Description:

New Zealand is known world-wide for its geothermal attractions. One of these attractions is Hot Water Beach, located along New Zealand's Pacific coast just south of Mercury Bay at the northeast tip of the Coromandel Peninsula.

The hot springs at Hot Water Beach have been created due to the history of volcanic activity in the region. Some volcanos develop huge underground reservoirs of superheated water. Over time, this water will escape to the surface, cooling on the way. There are two fissures at Hot Water Beach issuing water as hot as 64ºC (147ºF) at a rate as high as 15 litres/minute. This water contains large amounts of salt (NOT salt water), calcium, magnesium, potassium, fluorine, bromine and silica. There are other hot water springs nearby but the location of these two springs on the beach make them unique.

This Earthcache is only available one hour either side of low tide, and often available for up to two hours if the low tide is REALLY low. A table of low tides is available at this website: Plan your visit properly, or you will miss out on this narrow window of opportunity.

You need to walk through the small stream which separates the car park from the 100 m of beach you need to cross, so there is NO mobility impaired access. Be sure to bring a spade and bucket. The spade will help you dig your spa, but the bucket is just as important! It will allow you to bring the cooler ocean water to keep you from scalding your body and help you measure the rate of flow into your hot pool.

CAUTION: Despite the volunteer lifeguards, Hot Water Beach's rip tides have claimed several unwary visitors. Know how to swim in rip tides before you venture into the ocean!

To get to Hot Water Beach, take State Highway 25 to Whenuakite, where the only notable junction is the road to Hot Water Beach. Stay on the main road until you see the (right) turn to Hot Water Beach (~8 km). Please pay attention to the speed limit on this road as it gives a good indication of the road condition -- which is paved right up to the car park.

All New Zealand beaches are open to the public so there is NO CHARGE!

To claim this Earthcache, please complete the following requirements:

1. First you are going to have to dig a hot pool in the beach. Be sure to bring some spades with you. Don't worry about damaging the beach, with the ebb and flow of the tide, each individually created hot pool is completely washed away, creating a fresh sandy palette ready for the next influx of visitors. Take a picture of your group lounging in the hot pool that you have created. Make sure your GPS is evident in the picture. Post this picture in your log along with the number of people in your group.

2. Bring a thermometer with you to the beach. Take a reading of the temperature of the water in the hot pool you dug, then take a picture of the thermometer and your GPS and post with your log.

3. Using your bucket, measure the rate of flow of the hot spring flowing into your hot pool. Email the rate of flow to me in litres/minute. Please log your visit after sending the e-mail and the cache owner will contact you only if there is a problem.

Additional Hints (No hints available.)