The small town of Whangamata bursts into life every year when the annual Beach Hop event revs into gear. This year marks the 19th running of an event that is now reputed to be one of the biggest of its kind in the world; petrolheads from all over the globe aspire to come over to see and share in the atmosphere of this five-day festival.

Classy Combo – this is a 1954 Buick Skylark and a 1957 Auckland Caravan Company-built caravan

There are daily car runs to incredible beaches; many participants dress up in period theme to kick up some rock‘n’roll heels; every night sees a parade of cars cruising the main street; the bars and shops join in every year as the town rocks the week away, and as many as 110,000 join in the nostalgic events over the final weekend.

The final paint touches going on at 10am on the Saturday morning of Beach Hop

Last year the Hop brought in over $7 million to the local economy. The majority of that would have been in beds, booze, burgers and fuel. The one little service station in the centre of town must need its tanks filling every night by a huge tanker – the demand is phenomenal.

The exterior body in Edgecumbe, March 2018, getting the interior built and installed

We have been to the event five different times over the last 10 years; both the Rock and I are petrolheads, so drooling over the cars and wishing we were in each heavy throbbing V8 beauty as it rumbles past, is something we both enjoy. Since our first visit, the big boom in popularity has come with the retro- and classic-caravan competition that started out initially with around 12 caravans in the park near the waterfront.


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