Known as the 'Gateway to the Coromandel', Thames is a historical town situated between the Firth of Thames and the Coromandel Peninsula.
In the late 19th century, the town was one of New Zealand's largest, due to its flourishing gold and Kauri logging industries. Today, it features a number of historical landmarks and museums that can take visitors on a journey back in time. The town also has a number of boutique shops, cafés and stores along the main street, and a shopping mall for visitors to browse.
Just ninety minutes drive from Auckland, it's worth visiting this friendly place in New Zealand. Most Coromandel towns are within one to two hours drive from Thames, so it's the ideal base for those looking to explore the region.
If you're thinking of visiting Thames during your next holiday, here's our guide to all the best things to see and do.
The Thames Historical Museum
Here you can browse photographs and information from the gold rush days onwards as well as mining, forestry and farming displays.
The Butterfly and Orchid Garden
This one is a must for nature lovers! Just 3km north of town within the Dickson Holiday Park, you'll find a jungle full of hundreds of exotic butterflies and flowers.
The Thames School of Mines
This New Zealand landmark offers an excellent display of minerals and artifacts as well as historical and cultural information.
The War Memorial Monument
The Thames war memorial monument offers a great viewpoint to look out over the township. Simply take the Waiotahi Creek Road to the top, at the north end of Thames.
The Thames Small Gouge Railway
Ideal for the little ones, this child-sized train takes a 900m loop from Brown Street.
The Kauaeranga Valley
Located in the Coromandel Forest Park just 10 minutes from the town centre, the Kauaeranga Valley offers an opportunity to explore scenic native bush, streams and rivers. Choose from one of the 20 different tracks and enjoy either a ten minute stroll or a full-day or two-day trek.
The Thames Markets
Held every Saturday morning at the Grahamstown end of Pollen St, the markets offer an interesting range of stalls including locally made crafts, fresh produce, plants and collectible items.
The Miranda Hot Springs
Swim in natural mineral pools at Thames' most well known attraction; Miranda Hot Springs. Use one of the three large, thermally heated fresh mineral pools or try the hot sauna pools. Private spa pools and a children's pool are also available.
Rocky's Goldmine Trail
This scenic 2.5-3 hour bush trail offers beautiful views over the Firth of Thames, as well as native forest and swimming holes.
The Karaka Bird Hide
Open to the public at all times, the bird hide offers close-up views of mangroves and wading birds. The hide is just short walk from the main street of Thames.
If you're planning an exploration of the Coromandel, you'll be sure to find friendly, comfortable and affordable accommodation at Kiwi Holiday Parks' Dickson Holiday Park in Thames.