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Rhodes Park opened to freedom campers for Steampunk Festival


Council Opens Rhodes Park to freedom campers during Steampunk the Thames Festival


Our Council is opening up Rhodes Park car-park to freedom campers during the Steampunk the Thames Festival. Hundreds of visitors are expected in Thames for the four day event, which runs from November 9 - 12.

Steampunk The Thames Secretary Diane Connors said organisers wanted to ensure visitors have a range of accommodation options for all budgets. “Thames has some great luxury B&B and upmarket motels. We only have one campground at the far northern end of town. Thames South School has partnered with All Points Camping to offer a campsite right in town for tents, and we’ve worked with Council to have some freedom camping restrictions lifted from Rhodes Park car-park for certified self-contained campers. They have to be certified as self-contained by the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association. No need to register. Just turn up and comply.“

Rhodes Park is on the south side of Thames, on the Ngati Maru Highway, SH25. There’s room for a couple of hundred self-contained vehicles in the carpark, and visitors can stay for up to three nights.


Most other local accommodation is already fully booked, and people who need a place to stay are advised to get in touch with the Thames i-SITE: email thames.info@thecoromandel.com or phone (07) 868 7284.

Diane Connors said giving visitors choices for the growing festival has a positive flow-on effect for the wider community. “We [Steampunk The Thames] received funding from TCDC through the Major Events Grants with the view to bringing economic benefit to our community through visitor spend. To achieve that we need to first attract people - with a great festival programme - and then also to encourage them to stay overnight. The longer people can stay, the more they’re likely to spend in our local businesses. And that's good for everyone.”

This is the third Steampunk festival in Thames and its popularity is growing exponentially. Many new events and activities have been added this year to keep up with heavy demand. Most ticketed events are sold out, but there are still a few tickets left for The Kingston Flyer Party Band on Friday night, and on Saturday for The Boundary Rider, Rachel Dawick’s musical tales of New Zealand pioneer women, and for The Old Time Music Hall by Thames Music And Drama. Another new addition is a screening of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Thames Cinema on the Friday afternoon, with a prize for Best Dressed.

There are plenty of free events, such as Saturday’s parade, Punk My Ride display, and Carnival. On Sunday, there’s a family funday which includes Punk My Pet and Teapot Racing. Check out the entire 2017 programme at www.steampunkthethames.org, where you can also buy tickets.


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