Must be experienced to be understood… after about a half hour drive through absolutely nothing, you arrive at a totally crowded parking lot.
You walk down to the beach, perhaps renting a spade along the way. You elbow your way in between some other groups and dig yourself a little pit, somehow balancing the super hot water bubbling up from the earth’s core with air and cool sand to create a perfect hot tub experience.
We were prepared thanks to our glass-bottom boat guide Shona, so we just watched until someone was getting ready to leave and took their spot. I alternated between relaxing in the heat and playing in the waves.
At first it was weird to be jammed in with so many people, but after a bit it’s like you’re all in the same club, best of friends. Toward the end we were entertained by a bus load of 20-something’s and all their various posturing. To the one guy who was trying way too hard to impress the girls with his digging and engineering skills… we hope one of them noticed but it sure looked like the guys who just settled in to enjoy were making better time.
I would do this again and again. Supposedly there’s another hot water beach south of Raglan… next time!