One of the main reasons for my trip to Coromandel was to be part of this amazing event. The Thames Coromandel District Council had arranged along with locals, to run this annual event on two nights. It has become an annual event but this year by all accounts, is much bigger.
The theme was “light” where people wore lights, the buildings were lit up, some of the trees, vehicles, the local kids and there was also live music in a marquee set up in the middle of the town. The whole community was involved.
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A Hula hooper with lit up Hoola Hoop
A great scene. retailers had market stalls setup outside their shops. There were people with lit hula hoops, juggling and later there was a parade of lights led by the local Fire Brigade.
The local preschool kids were all lit up along with bike riders and dancers.
The event finale was a huge fireworks display which you could see and hear from everywhere. Spectacular and I’m pleased I didn’t miss it.
After meeting my new friends from Christchurch, Rory and Henny and their friends Dave and Karen, I made a point of making sure that at some stage during the day, I should pop down to the NZMCA park and have a cup of tea with them and a catch up.
I set off reasonably early on my bike with my camera tucked down inside my coat and made my way down to the other end of Coromandel town.
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The shops and buildings are fascinating and you can feel a real vibe about the place. They were getting really for the Illume parade and event that night so it was even more buzzy than normal.
The free parkingover the road from the Police Station ..Handy!
This is right in front of the NZMCA park
The Causeway to the wharf
Down at the wharf
After getting some nice piccies and talking to a couple of the locals, I biked around to the wharf and then back to the NZMCA park where I caught up Rory and Henny and with typical South Island hospitality was just in time for some of Henny’s lovely homemade scones and a cup of coffee. We had a great hour or two talking about everything and they’re great fun and good company.
I biked back, checked out the campground and blobbed out with the stereo before hittting the sack early to get ready for another big day.
A neat place to visit, some great places to stay and despite the weather, plenty to do and see.
The weather forecast for the whole weekend was a shocker but we knew we’d be safely tucked up once we got to Paeroa.
We left early on Friday night after Fiona finished work and headed down to Ardmore to stay in my son Alex’s driveway so we could see Ayden playing rugby in the morning. He had a really good day and after scoring a few tries, he got Player of the Day so that was special and good to see.
After a cup of coffee, we left Ardmore and headed for Paeroa where we were meeting up with other Motorhomers who are part of a really active Facebook group called Motorhome Friends NZ. North Island Admins, Steve and Karen did a great job organising the get together at Paeroa RV Centre.
After settling down Rafe in a little corner of the park, we headed into the 3pm meeting in the Hall. There was a pot belly stove stacked up nicely belting out the heat so it was nice and cosy despite the showers outside. We were really lucky to be able to get a powered site as there was a dire shortage of them so thanks Paeroa RV for helping us out there.
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Our little corner
Some of the permanent dwellers at Paeroa
Motorhome Friends with their vans
In the hall on Saturday
Karen welcoming everyone on Saturday.
Gaylene and Les from Huntly
Andrew and Debbie from Tauranga
Karen and Paul from West Auckland
Mat and Kylie from Taranaki
Alan and Lyn have been fulltiming in their bus for 4 years.
Vicky and Shonne from Omaha
Carol and Roger from Waiuku at Miranda Holiday park
It was really nice to catch up with people and put faces to names. I’m a relative newcomer to the group but Fiona and I felt right at home with them all.
There was a Kareoke night which we didn’t get to but I gather it was a huge success and everyone had lots of fun. We had two lots of Motorhomers around for drinks in Rafe. Nick and Karen who have just bought a Autotrail Comanche which they are living in full time. The Comanche is a biggie with dual axles at the back and is 8.4 metres long. A nice van.
We also had Gaylene and Les from Huntly with us and it was nice catching up with them too.
In the morning, there was a 10am coffee meeting to farewell each other. The rain was pretty steady by then and not a good time to be trying to photograph people with their vans but I managed to get a few.
Given the weather was like it was with squalls of heavy rain, we decided to head to Miranda Holiday park and hunker down in the hot pools and not long after we arrived met some others from Paeroa there too. Isn’t it funny how great minds think alike !
3k’s or so outside of Matamata is the Firth Tower Museum.
Its an amazing collection of original buildings in the grounds of what used to be a farm for the Firth family in Auckland to feed the flour mill. It later became the base for a well known Waikato family to farm.
The original farmhouse was built with the tower in the later 1800’s but the farmhouse burnt down in 1902 and was replaced then by the current house. It was then owned by the McCaw family. Don’t forget you can click on the images to enlarge them
Firth Tower Museum Historical man cave
Milking .. love the old radio
Each building had its own collection
Out with the washing
Love the stick with the fork
Where we parked for the night, that’s the back of the van with the arrow. From the top of the tower shot through the glass.
Madam checking out the Phone box
The House with Tower
The Schoolhouse, Post office and Church
Madam all dressed for the occasion
In each of the buildings there is a theme of history, Agriculture, Transport, Medical, local war involvement, and there is even two carriages with the History of the Kaimai tunnel as well.
The volunteers who staff it were all wearing historical gear to add to the feel of the place. When we visited, there was school trip of local primary school kids and they all got dressed up in historical clothing to add to the occasion.
For $10 you can stay the night with power or free parking without power. One of the nice things about being on the road is discovering new places to stay and how nice they can be and often it is the least expensive that are the nicest places to stay… this was one of those times. A great way to spend the day and it really is a well setup museum.
As the posts here are a bit infrequent at the moment, if you click Follow at the bottom, you’ll be notified of a new post to save you checking in. 🙂
Saturday was a big day… starting with launching my old ex Whalechaser now being looked after by my sons after they’ve literally repainted the whole thing. Click on the photos to enlarge
After parking her in the berth, we were off in Rafe to the Grandkids in Ardmore to babysit. I’m always very careful going up their 1/2 k odd long driveway as the trees and shrubs at the gateway lining it grow like weeds and reach out to try and scratch Rafe. Alex and Sarah had given them a good haircut so all good.
After a good night parked in the corner, we woke up to the family tradition on Fathers Day of chocolate fish.. yum first thing in the morning 🙂
After a cup of coffee and breakfast, we both felt that a hot swim might be the order of the day and neither of us being ready to go home, so we thought a decent drive, Te Aroha hot pools, 120 odd K away.
Rather than go the way we always go, via Maugataroto, we thought we’d try down State Highway 1 on the motorway and turn off at Ohinewai through to Tahuna. What a great run too apart from taking a wrong turn and adding 15 minutes or so to the trip.. no harm done.
Checking in to the Te Aroha Holiday Park, just on the South Side of the Town itself was easy. $34 for the two of us with the NZMCA discount.. what a classic place. All the cabins are ex workingmens huts. In really good nick too.
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Nice big parks
The kids adventure playground. Working phone and Kitchen/Laundry
Cabins and Adventure playgound
Amazing 50’s working mans huts as cabins
Our first use of the new Clothesline
Mt Te Aroha behind
Reading through Rankers and Wikicamps, some of the comments are awful and the place didn’t deserve the bad rap that it had. One of the comments was that the hot pools didn’t have any water in them, .. my first question when I checked in .. after that it was all good.
There was a really nice pool complex too. The pools weren’t ready until after 6 and it was dark by then so no photos.
Huge parking spaces and nicely separated off by hedges and plants. Well placed and easy to get to Dump Station too. A nice place to stay.