Category Archives: Coromandel 2017

The Corner Shops

We’ve watched this place over the last year or so but it just gets better and better. The food is consistently good and its a neat place to stop.

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Nice Parking area

There is one Motorhome park on the gravel but there is also plenty of solid lawn parking for Caravans and Motorhomes while you visit.

The “Style Shop” 🙂

It is right on the turnoff to Thames on Highway 27 as you’re heading towards Thames. Turn left at the Thames turnoff coming from the motorway and its on your right.

There is plenty of parking. There is a kids play area for the nippers, great food and reasonably priced. Style shop is there too in a seperate building, for the Mums to load up while Dad soaks up the sun outside 🙂 … a dress shop 🙂

We stopped here on the way to catch up with friends at Coromandel for a scone and a cuppa. Although we were early, around 10:30ish, it was just getting busy so its good to see they’re doing so well.


Top Value Parking with Top Value Tucker

The Coromandel Hotel is a real surprise.

The front of the Hotel

By walking down the street beside it reveals a nice private flat powered Motorhome park behind the hotel nicely planted out with Palms and with a nice outlook. It is $25 (for two)a night and includes the use of the nearby Backpackers Toilet and Showers. It also has a dump station.

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Solid ground too.
The Backpackers with the Dump Station, Showers and Toilets.

We arrived early on a Friday and checked in for a weekend at Coromandel. Our friends Dianne and Gary were staying in a motel room in the Coromandel Top 10 right opposite so it worked perfectly.

We went for a walk down to the town which takes all of 10 minutes and enjoyed a cuppa at one of the many cafes down there and after checking into some of the shops wandered back to Rafe. There is a Laundromat there too.

That night it rained and we popped over to the Motel unit and enjoyed a few laughs and glasses of wine before heading to the Coromandel Hotel for tea. It was stunning. Gary and I had a carpetbag steak each, Fiona had a seafood chowder which had huge pieces of seafood in it and Dianne had the roast pork. The best was still to come.. liquorice ice cream with sambuca.. and it was huge. We all hooked in. This is really something to see and even better to eat.

Looking down the back

A neat place to stay and great place to eat as well.

I have done a blog on this before but this is the first time we’ve stayed here and I’m pleased we did!

One thing I did find interesting is like Simpsons Beach, I had to switch the router back to 3G. Although it worked on 4G, It was significantly faster on 3G.. see the speedtests below.

The Netspeed speedtests for this site.

Download: 22.95 Mbps
Upload: 2.41 Mbps
Ping: 67 ms

Download: 5.67 Mbps
Upload: 0.08 Mbps
Ping: 72 ms,175.499769

The Coroglen Tavern

We were on our way to Whitianga and were told about the magic Mussel Fritters that come from the Coroglen Tavern.

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Jed and Michelle outside their Hotel

3 years ago, Landlady (In the traditional Coro St fashion) Michelle and her other half Jed, bought the pub from Michelles parents and are redeveloping it as they can.

As responsible hosts, they are providing an area for Motorhomers to spend the night after enjoying their hospitality. As Michelle said, “They haven’t finished here yet”.

The Motorhome parking area. Plenty of room.

The Coroglen Tavern is the local for a wide area of Coromandel and is a well known Saturday night music hotspot.

We timed it beautifully with our arrival bang on lunchtime and it was very hard to go past the Seafood Basket and of course the amazing Mussel Fritters. YUM. This is a serious must do!

Mussel Fritters .. YUM!
The Seafood basket

There is parking around the back or we just parked Rafe in front.

Rafe parked outside

Jed and Michelle and their staff were very helpful and as I said, the food was something out of this world. Try it 🙂

Cruzin in Thames

The  sign said “Park in an empty park, plug yourself in and make yourself comfortable and we’ll be round”. .. or words of that effect. We were just parking when a huge smile appeared around the corner of the next door Motorhome helping us to park.

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I’d heard all about Cruzin N Stop before and was keen to try it out. It is right in the middle of Thames and is perfectly located for checking out the shops and cafes so I was immediately scoring huge brownie points with Fiona 🙂

Rafe in the park

For $20 including power for NZMCA members with toilets and a shower. Its a neat wee place to stay right in the middle of things. Its not a place you would go for a holiday given that it comes with in town distractions but its safe, handy, good value and the people are really helpful.

We stayed the night here on route to Coromandel. The road up the coast was closed due to slips and washouts and after a stroll around the town and a good gander at some antique shops, we headed back to Rafe and settled down some good old fashioned Netflix movies while it rained. Fiona on one TV, me on the other 🙂

The next morning, we walked the other way and after a visit to the Dump Station, we were off over the hill.

The Brian Boru Hotel

A neat spot to stop for a night or two, very very handy to everything in Thames and great people. At $20 with power and other facilities in the middle of town, it’s pretty reasonable.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site.
Download: 33.20 Mbps
Upload: 23.19 Mbps
Ping: 48 ms,175.542751
Rafe’s Tracker Map

Right on the Edge

We were right on the edge at Simpsons Beach by Whitianga.  A fabulous spot which we’ve been to a few times before.

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Ten steps to the water.

Its on a farm owned by the Simpson family which runs along the foreshore and behind which they’ve been letting people camp at for many years. They charge $10 per vehicle, Motorhome or Caravan per night and donate the money to a cause of their choice. A fantastic gesture and they’re super nice people.

The Beach

One of the quirky things about this area is the Netspeed Mobile Internet coverage. There is a 4G beam from Whitianga out over the water but Simpsons Beach is right on the edge of it but more in the beam for 3G. Because it is 1 click into the 4G, it can’t do anything useful and surfing the web or anything else is a waste of time.. nothing happens !  A lot more happens on 4 bars of 3G than 1 blip of 4G!

What I found you had to do is go into the Huawei App on your ipad or iphone and turn the “Auto” feature off to “3G” so that the router will settle for 3G and not be too ambitious 🙂

The Home screen on the app..Select the Settings Cog

The steps on a Ipad app.. Click on the settings cog on the right hand top of the screen. Then click on Network, then Network Carrier. You’ll see Preffered Network at the top.. click on that to get 3 G and select it and back out (without touching anything else 🙂 ) Its a good idea to reboot the router at this point and it will be away with plenty of throughput.

Click on the images below to follow the gallery in order.

This will affect any wireless carrier anywhere. Its all about your position relative to a transmitting tower.

There must be other spots around NZ where this happens too. Just remember to return the settings to “Auto” after you leave Simpsons Beach or another place like it.

Great spot

Despite this minor alteration to get Fiona her Netflix fix, Simpsons Beach is a fabulous spot and we love staying here. Once when it was chocker in the middle of summer, the local Mr Whippy van cruised through for ice creams 🙂

The Netspeed Speedtest from this site
Download: 9.11 Mbps
Upload: 4.01 Mbps
Ping: 69 ms
Connection Type: Wi-Fi,170.503600
Rafes Track to Coromandel from Simpsons Beach
From Simpsons Beach to Coromandel

The Punters Turned Up

While we stayed at Hahei, between us, we decided to check out Whitianga for brunch and a coffee. So 8 of us piled into two cars and off we went.

Traffic in Whitianga

The place was chocker. Cars and people everywhere you looked. There were even traffic jams !

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Dianne and Fiona enjoying the markets

There was a nice town market happening with lots of stalls set up in a square.

Its amazing walking around and seeing some of the expressions of stall holders and people looking. I went for a walk and checked out the Marina.

After a look around, we all headed back to the Hahei Motorcamp for the 4pm Happy Hour while looking out over the beach.

Happy at Hahei

We were joined again by our neighbours from Canada, Eric and Mary Anne who amazed us all with what they had packed in to their trip since arriving in Christchurch just three weeks earlier.

There is still some energy in that water

A neat night in paradise.

Happy at Hahei

We’d survived the weather as fortunately the storm veered away from Coromandel and left us with plenty of rain but no wind.

Debris after the storm

I woke up early on Good Friday and took Rafe around to the dump station and got prepared for the next few days at our prebooked beachfront site. Fiona was driving down to Ardmore to be picked up by Helen and Rob and they were due to arrive around the middle of the day. Rob was following in their new Autotrail Tracker with daughter Chloe.

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Our wee spot in paradise

When I arrived up at the beachfront site, there was another little Swift rental alongside. I jumped out to move a BBQ table out of the way and Eric from the Swift gave me a hand. Eric and his wife Mary Ann were from Victoria in Canada and were traveling around NZ.

About 11am, I received a call from Fiona to say that they had arrived and that the camp wouldn’t allow them to come in until 11:30. Seriously?  This does nothing to create a holiday atmosphere!

Our little setup with the tables. The Tracker and Rafe

Half an hour went by and Rob brought the Tracker in to park. As Rafes door is on the right and the Trackers door is on the left, I suggested I move to Rob’s park so the doors faced each other. This turned out to work really well as Gary, Dianne, Neil, Christine and even Eric and Mary Ann all came around to join us for drinks and nibbles for several nights. A lot of fun.

Happy Hour. LtoR: Dianne, Gary, Fiona, Christine, Neil, Helen, Chloe and Rob
Happy at Hahei

Back to friday. As the day went on, the park got more people in but by Sunday morning, it was really only about 1/3rd full.

Its a great park, a stunning location where our parks on the beachfront had tracks directly down to the sand. We were effectively parked on the back of the sand dunes.

Beachfront parking
The outlook 🙂

Toilets were handy, Gary and Diannes Beachfront cottage was right next to us, it couldn’t be better.

Beachfront cottages behind us.

My only comment would be that I found there was definitely room for improvement in the welcoming process at the office.  To be fair this may have been stress caused by the cancellations they would have had.

The stunning beach

All the same, I have to rate it as one of the better Motorcamps around in a great place and we had a lot of fun.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site.
Download: 16.77 Mbps
Upload: 19.06 Mbps
Ping: 69 ms,175.809322

Rafe’s Tracker Map

To Hahei

Storm at Coromandel

The build up was huge and as a result, we left Coromandel early and headed to Whitianga and then onto Hahei, as we figured it was very likely that we could get blocked in at Coromandel with closed roads. The road to Thames was already closed due to slips and wasn’t due to open until after Easter. After stopping at Whitianga for groceries, I cruised onto Hahei Holiday Park.

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I parked two rows back from the beach for the first two nights until the storm went through but on the second day, I decided to park behind the office amongst some trees for wind protection drawing on old boating experience.

My hideaway with the trees

Friends Gary and Dianne were in a beachfront cottage and Fiona had gone back to Auckland on the ferry for a couple of days work but was due back soon. I was flying solo for a couple of days.

The Beachfront Cottages

Unfortunately the  camp was absolutely deserted as most Motorhomers had disappeared and run for cover due to the forecast which initially had Cormomandel getting hammered by the remnants of ex tropical  cyclone Cook.

The primo beach spots all empty

Gary and Diannes friends Neil and Christine arrived up from Otaki way on THE day and later, when the bell struck 4pm and the promised winds were only about 20 knots at peak and the rain was easing, we decided it was a fizzer and it was time for a light refreshment.

Just after 5 it stopped raining and it was time to go and check out the beach .  What a great sunset with all the clouds.

I felt for the campground people as the place was deserted and from Hahei’s perspective, there really wasn’t a storm at all. Yes there was plenty of rain but the cost to all those on the peninsula at a peak time, it really was a beat up. I suppose from the forecasters perspective, it had to be that way rather than have people unprepared and it could have been a lot worse. It seems a real pity that it affects so many people’s livelyhoods.

Out in the sunshine

The next day, everyone that was there all seemed to be enjoying the sunshine on the beach. It really is one of the best beaches around.

Rafes tracker image to Hahei

To Hahei