Shore leave: Hot Water Beach
Head out of the central Auckland marinas for a two and a half hour drive to the nearby Coromandel - a haven of white sandy beaches, virgin native bush and laid back people. Around halfway up the peninsula sits Hot Water Beach. Surging waves and hot white sand gives the illusion of a fairly typical Coromandel beach at high tide, while at at two hours either side of low tide the hot water bubbling underneath the sand is close enough to the surface to be unearthed. Hire a spade from the nearby local store and get to digging to make your own natural jacuzzi before sitting back and relaxing before the tide comes back in. The stretch of surf here is hazardous so swim with caution; there are often strong currents and dangerous rips.