Thursday, 14 March 2013

Not all camp sites.....

…. have a fabulous outlook. Some are there purely for practical reasons.

Danby Park is located right in the centre of Thames, on the main road heading to the Coromandel Peninsula and is a very recent addition to areas where you can park overnight in the district. I thought it might have been quite noisy being on a main road but it wasn’t too bad, David was a little more unsettled as there were people passing through the area on foot until quite late.  It did feel rather strange though setting up “camp” in the middle of a public carpark. The Coromandel has a very strict no Freedom Camping policy with an instant $200 fine should you wish to ignore the rules. It looks like the locals have another way of dealing with it.

We’ve heard various stories of wardens tapping on the window at 5am waving a piece of paper or of people been asked to move on when they’ve only stopped to do some fishing or eat their dinner. Sadly once again the minority have spoilt it for the majority.
Thames District Council has made Danby Park available for self-contained vehicles with a minimum 2 night stay. Even though there is no charge & the local camping grounds may complain, this must benefit the local economy. Take us for example; had the park not been available we would not have stopped overnight, yes we would have purchased groceries & fuelled up on our way through but having stayed overnight  we also visited a café, washed the ute, walked through town & made a few purchases from various shops adding money to the economy. Surely that’s a win-win situation. While some councils do see the wider picture others need to look at the benefits of doing the same. Motorhoming is a large & growing industry both with New Zealanders and overseas visitors alike.

Thames is the gateway to the Coromandel & a delightful town with lots of heritage & historic buildings, it was once a thriving gold mining boom town proving entertainment & supplies to the miners who came from the many gold mines located just out of town & in the hills & ranges of the Coromandel.
These Art Deco pubs look like they've come straight from Napier.
Now that we’re on the road I’m going to continue adding to my “New Zealand Country Churches” collection than I started  “collecting” a few years ago starting with this lovely church on the outskirts of Thames;  Te Tokoto Tapu (Holy Trinity Church) Parawai, built in 1886 by local Maori.

There were two more beautifully restored churches in town. A lot of my church photos have been picked up by the Historic Places Trust for use in their online register & they've also been used in Wikipedia. 

Here’s is the link to my Flickr set - NZ Country Churches

And if you'd like to view more photos from Thames they are here


  1. I also admire country churches, there are some stunning examples in mid and south Canterbury, most of them looked after, sadly some have been left to nature and are falling apart.. ive often thought NZMCA should buy some and set them up as POP's If i knew we were staying at one, id bring some garden equipment and help out with some maintenance. The interiors would make great happy Hour sites in poor weather.

    1. Thanks for your comment John & Helen, I can't wait to get to the South Island so I can add to my church collecton, I had heard there were some beautiful churches down there. Hawkes Bay also has many beautiful country churches too.

      What a good idea that is, to have NZMCA put some of the older ones to use & I'd certainly help out with gardening whenever we stopped over. Not sure the past residents would like us having happy hour inside though! ;)



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