Justine Tyerman and the long-suffering 'receptionist' go on a Coromandel roadie in a motorised hotel suite.

The receptionist looked slightly agitated when I told him I didn't like the view from my room. He'd been down this road before, literally, and knew it would take a gargantuan effort to satisfy his particularly pernickety guest.

This time, rather than making piecemeal attempts to achieve my desired 'viewissimo' as he had done in the past, the receptionist decided to take a proactive approach and move me to a different location altogether.

"Tell me exactly what kind of view you are looking for and I'll see what I can do," the obliging fellow said with a somewhat forced smile.


"This is what I was expecting," I replied thrusting at him an Instagram photo of an idyllic Coromandel Peninsula beach at sunset, "not a view of a nasty corrugated iron fence in a camping ground."

"No problem, Madam," he said. "Just sit tight and we'll be there in a jiffy."

The word "dragon" may have been muttered under his breath but his expression betrayed no hint of annoyance.

Within minutes, the receptionist had delivered me to a perfect location, as promised.

Upon arrival at Tapu on the west coast of the peninsula, the long-suffering receptionist then manoeuvred me into precisely the right possie to watch the sunset, just metres from the sparkly sea.

A glass of chilled bubbly appeared in my hand as if by magic, accompanied by chilli olives, knackerbrot made by the receptionist and guacamole from avocados grown by the receptionist. He's such a versatile fellow.

The look of gratitude on my face and the tears welling up in my eyes as I witnessed the dazzling Coromandel sunset were matched by an expression of victory and sheer relief on the receptionist's face. At last he could relax and have a beer.

I've always been hard-to-please when it comes to views but I've recently discovered that travelling by motorhome is the ideal way to guarantee the ultimate viewissimo. If the view from the window is not 100 per cent pleasing or is obstructed in any way, you simply notify the 'receptionist' who starts up your motorised hotel suite and chugs off down the road until you can see the dazzling sunsets and sunrises of your dreams, hear the lapping of the sea as you fall asleep and walk barefoot on the sand at dawn.

An endangered dotterel at Onemana Bay. Photo / Justine Tyerman
An endangered dotterel at Onemana Bay. Photo / Justine Tyerman

It was day one of a week-long Coromandel Peninsula road-trip during which time the 'receptionist' (aka husband Chris) and I planned to discover roads less-travelled, tracks less-trod and idyllic camping spots - with no views of corrugated iron fences.

A tall order for the receptionist but he'd pulled it off in Central Otago a year earlier and was confident he could also deliver an equally exceptional, tears-of-joy-provoking Coromandel experience.

We were travelling in a brand new, luxurious, fully self-contained Britz motorhome, one of their plush new European-made summer fleet, and were as excited as a couple of runaway teens.

Inside the luxurious Britz motorhome. Photo / Justine Tyerman
Inside the luxurious Britz motorhome. Photo / Justine Tyerman

The delicious sense of freedom is the first thing you notice on a motorhome road-trip. With your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, dining and living space just a few paces away, the ease of travel and flexibility to stop wherever the spirit wills, is heady and intoxicating. No check-in, check-out deadlines, no searches for cafes, restaurants and public loos, and no crowded camping grounds with nasty outlooks.

It's a simpler form of life with fewer decisions to make about what to wear each day (hiking gear or 'evening' wear), limited capacity to lose or misplace important items and an opportunity to disconnect with technology and reconnect with nature and each other. The receptionist and I found ourselves engaging in the old-fashioned art of conversation over lunch and dinner instead of watching screens, large and small.

We trundled at a leisurely pace up the west coast and down the east, stopping at freedom camping sites where only fully self-contained vehicles such as motorhomes are permitted to park. Finding gorgeous places to park-up overnight can be a challenge but the receptionist had downloaded a handy Roadtrippers app which pinpointed such gems on a map.

In the warm surf at New Chum Beach. Photo / Justine Tyerman
In the warm surf at New Chum Beach. Photo / Justine Tyerman

We revisited tourist hot spots like New Chum Beach, Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove which are indeed spectacular and unique, despite the crowds and the risk of being clonked on the head by a selfie stick.

New Chum or Wainuiototo Beach with its creamy white sands and blue, blue waters, was last year voted one of the world's most beautiful beaches.

No matter how often you visit Cathedral Cove, the arch with Te Hoho Rock on one side and Smiling Sphinx Rock on the other has a dramatic visual impact.

And a trip to the Coromandel is not complete without digging your own pool at Hot Water Beach.

But the real treasures are the beaches, coves and bays you discover along the way by accident - or app.

Otama Bay, often used as a backdrop for weddings. Photo / Justine Tyerman
Otama Bay, often used as a backdrop for weddings. Photo / Justine Tyerman

Freedom camping is prohibited at Opito and Otama Bays, even if you are behind the wheel of an up-market Britz, but the secluded white sandy bays are divine for swimming, snorkelling, diving and beach walking. Otama is my pick of the two bays – it's wild, less populated and book-ended with sculptured rocky headlands, often used as a backdrop to weddings.

Lonely Bay is an exquisite little white sand beach enclosed by rocky headlands and fringed with pohutukawa trees. Shakespeare Cliff Scenic and Historic Reserve, a lookout above the bay has a breath-taking panorama of the vast Pacific Ocean studded with islands, and the peninsula stretching for miles to the north and south.

Simpson's Beach. Photo / Justine Tyerman
Simpson's Beach. Photo / Justine Tyerman

Simpson's Beach, a grassy paddock beside a beautiful tranquil beach north of Wharekaho, is the absolute epitome of a perfect freedom camping spot with viewissimo to cry for. The receptionist cooked dinner in our fancy Britz kitchen while I showered in our fancy bathroom and we ate outside under the stars. The camp is run by lovely Mrs Simpson who owns the surrounding farmland and charges the princessly sum of $10 a night. I wanted to give her $50 but the receptionist would not allow such extravagance.

At Pauanui, the receptionist had the day off and went fishing with some mates and caught a kingfish off Shoe Island – 'It's a monster!' he roared as the silvery creature was successfully netted, landed, measured . . . and released.

Our idyllic beachfront park at Simpson's Beach. Photo / Justine Tyerman
Our idyllic beachfront park at Simpson's Beach. Photo / Justine Tyerman

We climbed Mt Pauanui and Mt Paku which stand like sentinels at each end of the beach. The views are astounding.

What began as a brief stroll to Sailor's Grave at Te Karo Bay, turned into a couple of hours of blissful meanderings along a deserted tramping track to Otara Bay and on to Lynch Stream Bay. The stunning seascapes from high points of the track and the anticipation of seeing what beauty lay around the next rocky headland lured us on and on.

Octopus Bay illuminated by the last rays of the sun. Photo / Justine Tyerman
Octopus Bay illuminated by the last rays of the sun. Photo / Justine Tyerman

The highlight came at the end of the trip at a beach near lovely Onemana Bay where we spent our last night parked a few metres from the sand. After a short walk we found ourselves at Octopus Bay, a tiny horseshoe illuminated by the last rays of the sun. The breakers were a mosaic of aqua-turquoise fringed with white lace. Ours were the only footprints on the beach.

Motorhome road trips are addictive. They briefly satisfy the nomad in me but also create a yearning for the next such experience. The only cure is to plan another . . . and another.

The receptionist just can't wait!


Justine Tyerman travelled in a Britz Motorhome, one of the sleek, stylish new summer series available until April 30 2019.