Gold Fever and Kauri Logging in The Coromandel

The Coromandel played a big part in New Zealand’s early gold mining and Kauri logging history. Fascinating remnants of this rich heritage remain today.

Early settlers to this region craved timber, kauri gum and gold to satisfy their desperate need for trade and commerce. Gold mining and kauri felling called for men of great physical strength and fortitude; their hardy, ‘can do’ attitudes helping them succeed in what were often austere conditions.

Gold Fever

Gold fever struck this beautiful coastal region during the late 1800’s – many of the local towns owe their existence to this much sought after precious metal. People arrived in their thousands to strike it lucky and work in one of the many mines in and around Thames, Coromandel and Waihi. Today, historic buildings line the streets of these sleepy towns, a tangible reminder of their bustling gold rush history.

Feel a blush of the gold fever experienced by hardy treasure hunters in times gone by - make a visit to one of the local Coromandel township attractions below.

  • Admire the historical buildings that line the main street; all were built during the gold rush.
  • See remnants of mines and batteries along local walks that begin in the Coromandel town.

Forest Giants

Together with gold mining, Kauri trees created another industry that kept the Coromandel region booming. Kauri trees are the second largest tree in the world, and their elasticity, durability and length made them well suited for ship hulls and masts. By the early 1900’s, many of the world’s sturdiest vessels had Kauri timber as a part of their construction. Kauri gum was also sought after, primarily used for different types of varnish as well as linoleum. Unfortunately, the time required for Kauri to reach their full size meant that there was no chance of forest regeneration – today, only a few of these impressive trees remain in the Coromandel hills.

Be humbled by the few surviving forest giants that still stand in the region today. There are also remnants of the kauri logging operation throughout the Coromandel. The Rapaura Watergardens, near Thames, is home to 64-acres of private Coromandel rainforest, showcasing the local forest as it was during Kauri logging times. Although no Kauri trees remain here, the native bush, waterfall and stunning native flowers give visitors a taste of beautiful Coromandel rainforest. 

Here at Moatrek we specialise in creating unforgettable New Zealand vacations, weaving the very best experiences and places New Zealand has to offer into our small group tours. We love the mix of fascinating gold and Kauri heritage on offer in the Coromandel, and we’ve included visits to Thames, the Coromandel Township and the Rapaura Watergardens to make the most of this history in many of our tours. We’re kiwi-owned and operated and we’re passionate about the amazing holiday experience our country has to offer. Learn more on our website, or contact us now.