A 1.5 hour drive from Auckland, Thames is the gateway to the Coromandel peninsula. The town was formed in 1870 from two smaller settlements - Shortland and Grahamstown - founded to support gold mining in the early 1860s.

Thames was one of New Zealand’s largest towns in the late 19th century. It was built on the pioneering industries of Kauri logging and gold mining. The history is still alive today in the many pubs, buildings and activities found in the area and of course in the Historical Museum, where an excellent display of the gold rush days can be admired. Be sure to visit the museum, which covers early Maori times, the arrival of the first pioneers and the development of mining, logging, railways and shipping. You can also visit the historic School of Mines.

Behind the town, the ancient volcanic Coromandel Ranges rise steeply. The magnificent Kauaeranga Valley hiking and camping area is just to the south, and the road to the north follows the coast past scores of sandy beaches and fishing hot spots. North of Thames, State Highway 25 takes you past many pretty little bays and calm beaches. You will pass through Whakatete, Ngarimu, Te Puru, Tapu and other small settlements.

Six km inland from Tapu, you will find the fabulous Rapaura Watergardens. This is a 64-acre private estate nestled in the middle of the Coromandel Forest Park that offers something for everyone: native trees and ferns, seasonal flora, lily ponds, bridges, streams and ponga sculptures by an award winning artist. A relaxing bushwalk takes you to a cascading waterfall named ‘The Seven Stairs to Heaven’.

It’s the main shopping location on the peninsula with many boutiques, a historical main street and the modern Goldfields Shopping Mall. Thames Market, held every Saturday morning at the Grahamstown end of Pollen St, offers an interesting range of stalls selling local crafts, produce, plants and collectibles.

Photo Credit: Sam Mahayni

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Pauanui Glade Holiday Park
58 Vista Paku
Pauanui 3546
New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 864 8559
Mobile: +64 27 772 3010


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