Cathedral cove parking changes cut the chaos at tourist hotspot

A brittle peace has been brought to the annual parking "war zone" for holidaymakers heading to Cathedral Cove.
One week into parking changes at Hahei, the jump-off point for the 40 minute walk to the quintessential Coromandel tourist spot, residents say it has helped calm the congestion-plagued streets.
Residents of Grange Road say traffic used to be manic on the road as drivers pushed onto the kerbs, causing blockages as more cars piled in to the steep and windy streets for the limited numbers of parks.

"Traffic would be very bad as people would all come up the hill looking for a park," one resident who asked not to be named said.

Parking at Cathedral Cove and on some Hahei streets has been limited over summer as it was getting too hectic at the famous holiday and tourist destination.

The top of Grange Road can be used as drop-off only with tickets issued often ignored.
But in a reaction to increasing visitor pressure, buses have been organised from a park and ride location at the entrance of town for $5 return.
While people still queue and hunt for carparks at the lower beach, the change has seen a dramatic drop in traffic heading up the hill causing choas as it backed up.

Signs warn motorists early on there is no parking at the top, allowing some to turn off before making the drive up.
Some homeowners have cashed in on the changes offering up car parks on their property for $10 a day.
Visiting the park and ride car park reveals the extent of the problem that the small hilltop car park would face every day in the busy 

A park and ride system from Hahei township to the entrance of the walking track to Cathedral cove costs $5.
"This car park can hold 183 cars," a warden directing traffic said.
"Yesterday we had 343 packed in here at one time. It used to look like a warzone up the top of Grange Road."
Hahei Ratepayers Association President Bill Stead said the changes are a step in the right direction with more planned.
"The plan is to increase the park and ride to have a 400 car capacity," he said.
"We're taking it step by step."
One of the long-term goals is to make Hahei a "walking village" and create additional tracks to make moving through town towards the beach convenient from the park and ride.
"Everyone seems to be determined to be able to drive their car to the beach and step off into the sand,' he said.
"We have to change and move with the times."
Visitors were mostly positive to the changes but said some fine tuning was required. Families spoken to said buses did not arrive regularly enough for the volume of people with one waiting 30 minutes after missing a bus back to their car park.
There was also concern for elderly or disabled visitors who have just two car parks available.
Go-Kiwi Shuttles director Gary Fitzsimons operates the bus services and said as capacity grows so too will the bus services. As this is the first year of the changes they are still assessing the demand.