When I was hitchhiking around NZ 35 years ago, it took me a while to realise that you always pack your swimmers (togs, swimming costumes, swimwear…). Even though it is cold and even snowing, you never know when you are going to run into a hot pool. We visited De Bretts Hot Pools in Taupo on the way home from skiiing, visited Waiwera Hotpools north of Auckland for a winter treat, Hot Water Beach at low tide. Last week we tried out the Miranda Hot Springs between Auckland and the Coromandel.
I was staying with friends in Thames, the gateway to the Coromandel Peninsula, and we decided to take an afternoon trip to Miranda. Its just 45 minutes from Auckland, or 20 minutes from Thames, in the centre of a coastline that boasts some of the best bird watching in the area, with literally thousands of migratory birds gathered there.
Miranda Hot Springs have been used since pre-European times, with the present pool being built in 1959-60.
You can hire swimmers and a towel in most places like this, and Miranda is no different, though a sexy fit is not guaranteed! We all donned our swimmers and headed for the large pool. A few people swimming, but most just sitting and talking – dads with babies, women with tatoos, children playing, old women talking.
It was well… relaxing to say the least. We headed for the hotter sauna and got a real heat up there – there are also private pools for a few more dollars and an aqua lift for disabled people to access the big pool.
Obviously a lot of families bring along their picnic and spend the day here – lots of shelter and places to sit, a huge jumping pillow to bounce on and coin operated BBQs.
Miranda is simple and unpretentious, a real NZ experience, not built for tourists, but for the locals with tourists welcome.