Why Would You Visit Thames?
- It’s situated at the southwestern end of the Coromandel Peninsula on the North Island of New Zealand
- You’re interested in the history of Gold Mining
- Looking for scenic free camp areas on the coast
- Great place to fish
Why Did We Visit Thames?
We are interested in Gold Mining and were travelling from Warkworth heading to the Coromandel Peninsula. As Thames is at the southwestern end of the Coromandel Peninsula and is an old gold mining town it was a good place for us to stop for the night.
The area has quite a bit of character. The main street has a variety of restaurants/cafes to choose from and take away shops, you definitely won’t go hungry.
We stayed in the lovely old pub where you could also grab a meal which overlooked an old church.
Thames is a lovely town. The shop fronts are different to what we are used to in Melbourne. They hold a lot of character. Looking at some shop fronts you would think you are in Asia one second, next you feel like you are in a western movie scene!! This is all in one street!!
Throughout the town you will find signs that provide you with information about the history of the building. We love this about historical towns, for us it shows the pride the town has and its awesome they want to share the history with us. The buildings are kept in great condition which is also great.
What Did We Do in Thames?
- Strolled along the main street
- Checked out one of the old churches
- Visited the Thames Goldmine Experience
- Watched the sunset at Burke Street Wharf
- Explored some of the Coromandel Peninsula
- Walked along the nearby beaches
- Checked out Shortland Railway Station
- Admired the former court house from the out side
Thames Goldmine Experience
The Thames Gold Mine Experience was a very interesting experience! If you are interested in the history of Thames or gold mining this is most definitely the place for you to visit.
For an entry fee you get to walk through some of the old 19th century underground mine tunnels with a tour guide whom is very informative. You will also witness a working stamper battery in operation. They have a short video of when the mines were operational and photos. You come away with a great understanding of the miners life and how gold was found.
You can even try your luck at panning for gold!! If you have an eye and knack to find any it’s yours to keep!!
Thames Goldmine Experience Location
Tararu Rd, Thames 3500, New Zealand
Shortland Railway Station
The station is believed to date back to December 1898 when the train line opened. The line was built and run due to the success of the towns gold mining and later used for engineering products.
After exploring this lovely historical town again I leave trying to imagine what this place used to be like when the Gold Mining industry was at its peak. What a different place it would’ve been. My Mum often wishes there was some way to step back in time to experience life back in the day.
Shortland Railway Station Location
111 Queen St, Thames 3500, New Zealand
Thames Former Courthouse
It is believed the former courthouse dates back to 1870. Again the history of the town is clearly sign posted.
Thames Former Courthouse, Thames, New Zealand Location
726-728 Queen St, Thames 3500, New Zealand
Burke Street Wharf
The Burke Street Wharf is a beautiful place to stroll to and watch the sunset. It’s a very serene, picturesque area. Seagulls are perched on the wharf posts. When we were there thousands of birds flew overhead. You can sit and watch the sunset and take in the serenity whilst you wait to capture your instagram photo. It’s a popular spot for photographers.
Due to the harbour silting up the Burke Street Wharf fell into disuse.
Burke Street Wharf Location
Burke St, Thames 3500, New Zealand
We drove along some of Coromandel Coastline on the Highway 25. It is such a beautiful scenic road as you wind your way along the coast. We didn’t venture to far whilst staying at Thames, we just wanted to spend time walking along some of the beaches, some of which were covered in oyster shells!!
There are so many places for free camping along the way. Some areas are like a carpark, others you have a scenic view of the coast. What a magnificent place to take rest and wake up.
As you walk along the coast you will find signage providing information about the New Zealand birds.
This was just a taste of the Coromandel Peninsula. The following days we continued our journey exploring this beautiful part of New Zealand. If you’d like to see more of our journey along the Coromandel Peninsula, we’d love you to follow our journey.
Other Places We Explored On The North Island
Take a look at the below links of other beautiful places we explored on the North Island. Note these are just a few of the amazing places to take an adventure. We still have so many places to explore!! If anyone tells you that 10 days is enough to explore, think twice!! Suggest you take at least 3-4 weeks.
- Lake Taupo
- Waitomo Caves
- Rotorua including Redwoods Forest, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Rotorua Gondola
- Coromandel Peninsula including Hot Water Beach, Catherine Gorge
- Karangahake Gorge, southern end of the Coromandel Peninsula
Have you explored Thames or other Gold Mining Towns that you’d like to share your experiences/s with us? We’d love to hear about them.