Coromandel Lucky Loop: How a drive around NZ's coastline could earn you locally-inspired prizes

Fancy a free diving trip for two? Or perhaps, a dozen fresh oysters? If that's enough to entice you to the Coromandel, well, here is your opportunity. 

This Anzac weekend, randomly-selected vehicles driving the Coromandel Loop - that's State Highway 25 - will be given locally-inspired prizes, in a bid to attract more visitors to the region. 

Courtyard Cafe owner Don Thompson has felt the financial pinch of fewer patrons, after months of consecutive storms, from Cyclone Hale to Cyclone Gabrielle. 

"When the events occurred, we noticed a big difference," Thompson, who operates his business in the Coromandel town of Thames, told Newshub. 

Paul Schneider, across the road, has felt it too. He relies on foot traffic to sell his award-winning, locally-made gin brand, Awildian. 

"Post-COVID, we saw an influx, and then we had the weather events, and since then it's gone really quiet," Schneider told Newshub. "The town almost feels deserted at times."

But the biggest hurdle facing the region is the collapse of State Highway 25A, the road that cuts across the peninsula from Kopu to Hikuwai. It's estimated that repairing the damaged road could take a year. 

Coromandel Lucky Loop: How a drive around NZ's coastline could earn you locally-inspired prizes
Photo credit: File

In the three months to March, spending in the Coromandel was down $32 million compared to last year, according to electronic card transaction data collected by Worldline. 

So, Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Len Salt wants to remind New Zealanders - and the world - that the Coromandel is not closed for business. 

"Come and have some fun."

State Highway 25 - the longer, coastal road that travels the Coromandel Loop - is open, though there are still some road works to navigate.

"The road is open, it's usable, as long as people take it easy," Salt told Newshub. 

And to thank those who take the coastal journey, Destination Hauraki Coromandel is giving away locally-inspired prizes to the public.

Cameras have been set up at secret locations along State Highway 25 on the Coromandel Loop, and vehicles photographed at random, computer-generated times this Anzac weekend, will be in to win a prize.

The "Lucky Loop" competition commences on Friday and ends at midnight on Tuesday. The terms and conditions are published on the Facebook page

The prizes include a three-night stay at Hahei Beach Resort, a dozen fresh oysters (10 packs are up for grabs), and two tickets for a trip with Dive Zone Whitianga out to the Mercury Islands, among others. 

Anne Louden, who owns Coromandel Oyster Company Owner, told Newshub the past few months have been tough. 

"We've definitely struggled, we've lost all our summer. There are a lot of us out there that are well down."

The competition could be the chance to make up for a summer that for some, never quite arrived.