The weather hasn't changed, but how we find out about it has.

When rain rolled into the Coromandel on New Year's Day, my family immediately made the call to end our summer camping trip, two days early.

Packing up our wet tent, two soggy children and bone-dry hangovers, we hit the road back to Auckland. Thousands of others did the same thing.

It wasn't always like this. In seasons past, Kiwi campers would shrug off the first droplets of rain, fire up their inner optimism and flick on the radio to check the weather report at the top of the hour.

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Hmm. Let's see what the next weather update says in a few hours' time, then we'll make a call on whether we stay or go. Eventually, campers had had vested so much in sticking around that they had to stick it out.

Today's campers have access to more information - and we're better off for it. Technological wizardry like the MetService's excellent Rain Radar empowers us to make early calls on the weather.

The science behind the forecasting is more accurate than ever and, thanks mainly to our smartphones, our ability to access the information is at a level sodden campers from a few decades back could only dream of.

Once our damp-yet-happy crew had the information - three days of rain; three days of kids stuck in tents - we blew the whistle, with no regrets. We'd had four great days of sunshine before the rains came.

We'll be back next year, smartphones at hand.