Saturday is, without a doubt, the biggest day of every Beach Hop, and that was certainly the case for Repco Beach Hop 16 with an estimated 120,000 people in attendance. We’ll have a full-day report in our NZV8 Beach Hop Annual 2016, which will be out mid May, but for now you can enjoy the abridged version of events. 

The day starts with the Grand Parade — a series of parades comprising both Ultimate Pass holders, who gathered outside the Ford NZ Reserve, and Standard Pass holders, who assembled at the rugby club. The Ultimate Pass cruise wended through Whangamata, coming to a stop on Port Road, the main street of Whangamata, as part of the Meguiar’s Main Street Car Show. 

The Standard Pass cruise also proceeded down Port Road, once the preceding cruise had parked up, and, led by a convoy of supercharged vehicles, made its way to another massive park-up outside Ford NZ Reserve. 

Of course, the spectacle that is Beach Hop takes over the whole town of Whangamata, not just the main street — if you so desired, tot rods, pre-’49 hot rods, retro caravans, motorcycles, a classic car auction, stage shows, and countless live acts were all within walking distance. 

However, when it comes to live acts, nothing could quite compare to the Saturday afternoon stage shows held down at the Ford NZ Reserve. These were a warm-up to the main attraction — the prize draw, in which one lucky person gets to choose between the giveaway car, custom retro caravan, or $10,000 in cash. 

The giveaway car was the beautifully finished ‘ZZ Hop’ ’34 Ford coupe, styled after the Eliminator, of ZZ Top fame; the caravan was a ’66 Tannercraft, restored to a flawless, Route 66–themed finish; and, well, $10,000 cash speaks for itself, really. 

The lucky winner would be one Richard Thomson from Papamoa, who wasted no time in claiming ZZ Hop for himself — let’s face it, most of us would have! The caravan was put to auction, netting a winning bid of $20,000 for charity, with the remaining $10,000 in cash to go to a lucky Repco Beach Hop 16 entrant the following morning. 

And, while that concluded the Saturday, the evening still held a fair few attractions — a whole host of live music scattered throughout Whangamata, and, of course, the infinite loop of the night-cruise route. A great way to close off the busiest day at Repco Beach Hop 16! 

We’ll have full coverage of the entire Saturday, and the rest of Repco Beach Hop 16, in our NZV8 Beach Hop Annual 2016, which will be out in mid May — or you can pre-order a copy here