One of the biggest towns on the Coromandel Peninsula, Thames is an old gold mining settlement overlooking the Firth of Thames. It’s home to an excellent museum and gold mining experience and is near Coromandel’s famous Hot Water Beach and spectacular Cathedral Cove.
Things to do in Thames
Discover the gold mining history of the region at the Thames Museum, which features fascinating displays of the early European settlement. Step inside a replica miner’s hut and the Victorian-era rooms, then admire the handcrafted Kauri models of Thames’ heritage buildings.
Experience the working conditions of an old gold mine during an underground tour at the Thames Goldmine Experience. Witness the lovingly restored Cornish stamps that were used to crush the ore before processing and see the operational 19th-century Stamper Battery while wandering between the historic mining buildings.
Make a day trip to the Coromandel Peninsula’s east coast to visit the Hot Water Beach where underground springs filter hot water up through the sand. At either side of low tide you can dig your own jacuzzi and relax in the steamy waters while soaking up the views of Castle Island.
Stop at Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve, a spectacular stretch of coast that can only be accessed on foot or by boat. Follow the walking track from the picturesque Hahei Beach or rent a kayak to explore the uniquely shaped Te Hoho Rock, then go snorkelling to discover the bountiful marine life of Stingray Bay.
Getting around Thames
Thames is around 1.5 hour’s drive from Auckland and Auckland Airport or you can take the more scenic route along the Seabird Coast. Buses travel throughout the town, while the compact streets make it easy to explore on foot and by bicycle.