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7 Best Things to Do in Thames

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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 5 Best Backpacker Hostels in The Coromandel and 15 Coromandel Must-Dos.

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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

2. Bike 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 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.

Location: Thames town centre
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
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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

5. Do the ROcky’s Walk

This little-known hiking trail meandering the hills overlooking Thames captures 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 16 Awesome Hikes in The Coromandel.

Location: Victoria Street
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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 Grahamstown 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
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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 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
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