Thames, New Zealand

Known as the gateway to the Coromandel, Thames is just over an hours drive from Auckland International Airport.

Centrally located, most towns are within 1.5 hours drive, so it’s the perfect place to base yourself when exploring the Coromandel region.

If you’re coming from Auckland (or heading to Auckland from Thames), I recommend taking the spectacular Seabird Coast scenic route.

(Seabird Coast Highway)
It will add an hour onto your journey but it is well worth it! Make sure you stop off for a famous feed of fish 'n' chips at Kaiaua.

(Kaiaua Fish and Chips)
While it’s hard to imagine it now, in the late 19th century Thames was one of New Zealand’s largest cities with a population of 18, 000 people. Built on the pioneering industries of gold and Kauri tree logging, it was once believed that Thames would become the capital of New Zealand.

(Brew Cafe in the late 19th century)
When the gold rush ended, the population dropped to its present 8,000, but the charm remained. Stately Victoria homes and quaint miners cottages dot the city streets, giving Thames a character of its own.

(Thames today)
Today the colourful history is still alive in the many pubs, caf├ęs and buildings found in the area. Including the Brew Cafe, where you can be sure to get a choice cup of coffee!
(Brew Cafe today)
There are 5 museums in the area that feature excellent displays of the gold rush days. However if you really want to delve into the history of Thames, you should head up river where you will find one of New Zealand’s hidden treasures – the Kauaeranga Valley.
(The Kauaeranga Valley)
The Kauaeranga Valley has a number of historic walking tracks ranging from 20-minute strolls to rewarding overnight trails. Administered by the Department of Conservation, it is an ideal playground for hikers, mountain bikers and nature lovers. (remote camping and hut accommodation is available for overnight stays).

(The Pinnacles Walk Kauaeranga Valley)

On top of heritage and great walks, you can sample some of the freshest, locally grown produce at the local Farmers Market – a great way to experience the kiwi way of life.

(Thames Farmers Marktet)

Every Saturday morning until about 12pm the Thames Market fills the street with organic produce, antiques, arts and crafts as well as lots of other little knick knacks.

(Matatoki Cheese at the Thames farmers market)

A highlight of the market is the mussel fritters, which are cooked on a BBQ using locally sourced mussels from the Coromandel super market – the ocean. Soo good!

(Devouring a mussel fritter at the Thames farmers market)

What else can people experience in Thames? Leave your suggestions below :)

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