7 Best Things to Do in Thames© NZPocketGuide.com
7 Best Things to Do in Thames

7 Best Things to Do in Thames

© NZPocketGuide.com

What to Do in Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula

Many travellers’ first ventures onto the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand starting with the coastal town of Thames. A former gold mining boom town, Thames is an attractive Kiwi town brimming with heritage buildings, gold mining relics and both coastal in inland adventures. Discover the history in the town’s museum or capture breathtaking views from the Thames Coastal Walkway. For those feeling more adventurous, the allure of the Kauaerange Valley is sure to draw you in, with epic day hikes and canyoning missions. Find out more with this list of things to do in Thames.

While you’re here, you might also like The Complete Guide to the Coromandel and 15 Coromandel Must-Dos.

1. Hike to The Pinnacles

The Coromandel and Thames might be renowned for its coastal landscapes, but this inland adventure is not one to be missed! Prepare a full day for this mission in the Kauaeranga Valley, where you’ll follow an old bushmen’s trail to an epic viewpoint and photo opportunity atop “The Pinnacles”. Either take the return walk on the Webb Creek Track (6-7 hours) or a complete circuit on the Webb Creek Track then the Billygoat Track (8-9 hours). There is the option to stay overnight in the Pinnacles Hut or the Dancing Creek Campsite.

Location: Kauaeranga Valley Road

Floyd Wilde on Flickr© Floyd Wilde on Flickr

2. Cycle the Hauraki Rail Trail

One of the North Island’s most popular multi-day bike trails begins right here in the town of Thames. The 160km (99-mile) track is made up of five different sections, either to ride in 3-4 days or as individual day rides. Thames is where you can stock up on supplies and use the local bike hire and transport services to prepare for the ride ahead. Highlights of the trail include Karangaheke Gorge, the historic gold mining town of Waihi and the geothermal town of Te Aroha. Check out more attractions along the cycle trail in the 6 Hauraki Rail Trail Towns You Can’t Miss.

Location: Thames town centre

Tourism NZ© Tourism NZ

3. Check Out the Heritage Buildings

Thames is full of fascinating buildings, easy enough to see while walking around this compact town. See The Treasury at 709 Queen Street, the restored 1905 Carnegie Library and a wealth of retro shops and quaint cafes at the Grahamstown end of Thames.

Location: Thames town centre & Grahamstown

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

4. Visit the Thames School of Mines & Mineralogical Museum

Speaking of history and heritage, don’t miss The Thames School of Mines, one of around 30 schools established in the 1880s to train gold miners working on the New Zealand goldfields. The museum has classrooms and equipment left much as it was over 100 years ago. Entry is a small fee and guided tours of the museum are available.

Location: Corner of Brown and Cochrane Streets

Ulrich Lange on Wikipedia © Ulrich Lange on Wikipedia

5. Do the Rocky’s Walk

This little-known hiking trail meandering the hills overlooking Thamescaptures amazing views of the town and coast. Follow the 3-hour one-way hiking trail starting at the Dickson Holiday Park along a ridge before a steep descent into Tinkers Gully. For more walks in the area, check out the 16 Awesome Hikes in The Coromandel.

Location: Victoria Street

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Stroll or Cycle Along the Thames Coastal Walkway

As you can see, there is no lack of walks in Thames. If you prefer to be beside the sea, then choose the Thames Coastal Walkway. This 3-hour return walk goes between The Wharf to Kuranui Bay. Highlights of the walk include Karaka Bird Hide, a small railway track leading to the original Grahams town Station, Victoria Park and the 1902 Boer War Memorial, Kuranui Bay Reserve with a barbecue area, a Stamper Battery and much more!

Location: Brown Street at Danby Field

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

7. Go on a Canyoning Adventure

Abseil, jump, zipline, scramble and climb through the Sleeping God Canyon with CanyoNZ. See a whole new side to the Kauaeranga Valley on a half or full-day adventure with experienced Kiwi guides. You’ll get kitted out in the complete gear to journey down 300m (984ft) through a valley in the most exhilarating ways using nature as your playground. CanyoNZ offers pick-ups from Thames. See more about canyoning in our 7 Impressive Canyoning Locations in New Zealand.

Location: Kauaeranga Valley

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

More Things to Do Near Thames

That’s it for the best things to do in Thames. Find more activities for your travels in the 51 Best Things to Do on the North Island.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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