Top Choice Museum in Waihi & Waihi Beach

Gold Discovery Centre

Waihi’s superb Gold Discovery Centre tells the area’s gold-mining past, present and future through interactive displays, focusing on the personal and poignant to tell interesting stories. Holograms and short movies …
Top Choice Mine in Thames

Goldmine Experience

Walk through a mine tunnel, watch a stamper battery crush rock, learn about the history of the Cornish miners and try your hand at panning for gold ($2 extra).
Beach in Hahei

Cathedral Cove

Beautiful Cathedral Cove, with its famous gigantic stone arch and natural waterfall shower, is best enjoyed early or late in the day – avoiding the worst of the hordes. From the Cathedral Cove car park, around 2km n…
Mountain in Tairua


Around seven million years ago Paaku was a volcanic island, but now it forms the northern head of Tairua’s harbour. Ngāti Hei had a pā here before being invaded by Ngāti Maru in the 17th century. It’s a steep 15-min…
Museum in Paeroa

Historical Maritime Park

Around 3km northwest of Paeroa on SH2, this excellent riverside maritime museum includes details of Captain James Cook's visit to the Firth of Thames and his explorations of the nearby Waihou River in 1769. Other ex…
Forest in Karangahake Gorge

Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway

The very worthwhile 4.5km Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway takes 1½ hours (each way) and starts from the car park 14km west of Waihi. It follows the disused railway line and the Ohinemuri River Waikino station, wh…
Spring in Whitianga

Lost Spring

This expensive but intriguing Disney-meets-Polynesia thermal complex comprises a series of hot pools in a lush jungle-like setting complete with an erupting volcano. It’s the ideal spot to relax in tropical tranquil…
Wildlife Reserve in Miranda

Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre

The Miranda Shorebird Centre has bird-life displays, hires out binoculars and sells useful bird-watching pamphlets. Nearby is a hide and several walks (30 minutes to two hours). The centre offers clean bunk-style ac…
Museum in Thames

School of Mines & Mineralogical Museum

The Historic Places Trust runs tours of these buildings, which house an extensive collection of NZ rocks, minerals and fossils. The oldest section (1868) was part of a Methodist Sunday School, situated on a Māori bu…
Gardens in Coastal Route from Thames to Coromandel Town

Rapaura Water Gardens

From Tapu, a mainly sealed 6km drive leads to the Rapaura Water Gardens, a marriage of water, greenery, sculpture and platitudes. There’s accommodation on site (cottage/lodge $165/285) and the well-regarded Koru caf…