With one cafe, no gas station and a waterfall cascading onto the white sands of a Pacific Ocean surf beach, the coastal settlement of Onemana on the Coromandel Coast is as close to paradise as you might conjure.

Today that's about to change - when the usually-resident population of around 115 people are descended on by hundreds of roaring hot rods.

It's known as the Castrol Edge Thundercruise, and the tiny beachside settlement is gearing up for up to 1000 classic cars and their entourage in 50s and 60s era clothing as part of Repco Beach Hop 2019.

The event is Friday's big daytime one in a five day festival in Whangamatā that celebrates the era's culture, music, cars and bikes. It injects an estimated $7 million into the local economy according to a survey by the Thames-Coromandel District Council.

"People probably see Onemana for the first time and Onemana is the sort of place that is a bit of wow factor when you first visit it," says local resident Julian West, who's lived there for 15 years and works for Whangamatā Real Estate.


"Property sales and exchanges take place following the Beach Hop, and it's gotta be good fundraising for groups like Surf Lifesaving and Fire Brigade that rely on donations," he says.

Onemana Rural Fire Brigade Chief Jo Adams will be doing homemade mussel fritters and big juicy Angus burgers and pure beef sausages and onion - "all good tucker" - with money going towards the team or a new ute.

There are 18 volunteers in the brigade, "we are one big family", with mixed ages, who're called on to attend to car accidents, farm accidents, rural and beach fires, and first response for medical emergencies as well.

Yesterday the hundreds of Hop cars cruised their way up the coast to Whitianga for a beach party - though it was held in the town's closed-off main street - with an atmosphere that's experienced only once a year, at Beach Hop.

"I just love it," said Ivy Milne, who was roadside with friend Wendy Bradshaw, waving at the parading cars as drivers sounded their elaborate horns and revved their V8s. "A group of five of us girls used to yell and cheer at every one of them but we're suffering with a cold this year," she almost-apologised.

With bands playing in Whangamata venues and on the main street on Friday and Saturday - day and night - and plenty of rockin' and rollin', Elvis impersonating, nostalgic goods on sale and a 60s and 70s themed surf contest on the famous Whanga Bar, the event draws 110,000 visitors.

It culminates on Sunday with the awarding of a $65,000 prize that's always highly coveted: a customised hot rod car that is created every year by the team of Beach Hop volunteer crew.