From the Bay of Empty to the Town of Plenty
When walking down the main street of Coromandel Town, you might be excused for thinking you are in Paris or Hamburg or even Rome. The street is buzzing with people and alive with the sound of many different languages. People seem to come in batches – Monday they came from France, Wednesday – Germany. I guess it all depends on what day their plane landed. Although some people are just stopping for lunch on the way to another town, I’m surprised by the number of people who plan to stay in town for 3 to 5 days and use it as a base for their travel around the peninsula – visiting Hot Water Beach and New Chums, the Driving Creek Zipline and Kayaking to Cathedral Cove. Some were young couples who used Social Media platforms to help them decide what to do and see.
Kiwi visitors are very visible too. Outside Peppertree Restaurant there was a collection of large motorcycles – bikers riding ‘The Loop”, some 6-700km from Tauranga in one day, up past Waihi, Whangamata and Tairua to the 309 Road, across to Coromandel Town then back to Tauranga via Thames on SH25. A stop at Coroglen tavern for a quick drink and lunch at Peppertree in Coro Town are a vital part of this tradition.
The Coromandel Top 10 Campground has been fully booked from Christmas Eve until about 3rd January. However, with a constant flow of Kiwi’s taking later holidays, they are very happy with occupancy rates. Returning guest, Rob Barron, quipped, “I come up from Tauranga in the Bay of Empty to the Land of Plenty here in Coro, to catch fish”!
Customer service people, Gemma Tucker and Josephine commented on the need for Coromandel Town to promote its own identity, as being different from the Coromandel Peninsula. They say that it’s not uncommon for visitors to turn up saying they have a booking for Coromandel Top 10, when it turns out that their booking is for Hot Water beach or Shelly Beach. International visitors in particular, do not differentiate between Coromandel Town and Coromandel Peninsula, and often have to make an even longer drive to get to their correct destination.
I asked Jeni Ashman from the Coromandel and Colville Business Association if she had heard of this issue. She confirmed that the Business Association was very much aware and they are looking at coming up with ideas for a slogan and specific marketing plan for Coromandel Town. If anyone has a good idea they would like to discuss or put forward, please contact Jenni who is a co-owner of James and Turner Hardware Store, 131 Kapanga Rd, Coromandel Town. Perhaps Rob’s suggestion “Coromandel – town of Plenty” might be a good start!
Caption: : Regular visitor to Coromandel Town, Rob Barron, checking into the Top 10 Holiday Park.