The Thursday of Repco Beach Hop 17 showed the most evident change to the status quo, with the former Tairua cruise destination completely forgone in favour of Whitianga. Though the drive from Whangamata to Whitianga is substantially longer than it is to Tairua, the destination is just as beautiful, and as a larger town, Whitianga caters to the large number of participants far better than Tairua was able to.
As tends to be the norm for Beach Hop, the Repco Whitianga Beach Party began with entrant check-in at the Ford NZ Reserve (Williamson Park) in Whangamata from 8–9.30am, before departing. While some people complained about the added travel length to get to Whitianga, the cruising is what Beach Hop is about, and we didn’t find a single whinger at the end destination.
Just as you’d expect of the Beach Hop team, a section of Whitianga’s CBD and waterfront was closed off to welcome the full Beach Hop experience into town. With the cars taking up most of a block from Albert Street through to the Esplanade and waterfront, the show layout was surprisingly easy to navigate, making it a breeze to punctuate car watching with breaks or conversations, without missing anything.
The busiest area surrounded the Albert Street section, with all of the main street’s lanes and angle-parking spaces filled with cars, and any remaining real estate seen to by onlookers.
However, Whitianga is known for its beautiful location, features a large, grassy waterfront reserve just perfect for a static car show with a perfect backdrop. This is what Beach Hop is all about!
Some people even planned ahead, bringing a full relaxation set-up to ensure a comfortable place to park up after they’d parked up …
While others just made the most of the natural Whitianga beauty to enjoy a quiet moment away from the hustle and bustle of the Beach Hop experience.
Between the main street and waterfront is a block containing a strip of bare land, giving an easy link between all areas of the show — one that, of course, was filled up with even more cars!
Thursday began to taper off early in the afternoon, with the Beach Hop circus dispersing throughout the area — some back to Whangamata, others to the Coroglen Tavern, and others to destinations unknown, although no doubt picturesque.
Though that’s the end of our online coverage of the Repco Whitianga Beach Party, but it’s by no means the end of it. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for our next issue of NZV8 magazine, as well as our NZV8 Beach Hop Annual 2017, which can be pre-ordered here.