Thames Gold Field

Goldmine Experience

Useful Information

Location: Thames. At the northern end of Thames, on the corner of Moanataiari Road and State Highway 25.
Open: Summer daily 10-16.
Winter Sat, Sun, Hol 10-16.
Fee: Adults NZD 10, Children (0-13) NZD 4.
Groups (10+): Adults NZD , Children (3-18) NZD .
Classification: MineGold Mine
Light: helmets and headlamps provided, own torch allowed.
Guided tours: D=40min
Address: Goldmine Experience, Main Road, SH25, PO Box 278, Thames 2801, Tel: +64-7-868-8514, Fax: +64-7-868-8514. E-mail: contact
HPA, PO Box 278, Thames 2801, New Zealand. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


10-AUG-1867 prospector William Hunt finds first gold in a waterfall in the bed of the Kuranui Stream.
1868-1871 gold rush.


Like often, gold was discovered first in the form of nuggets, gold which was freed by erosion from the surrounding rocks where it was formed. It accumulated in so-called alluvial deposits, formed by the flowing water, which transports the gold and accumulates it in pits. The early miners used primitive equipment like gold pans and sluice boxes. At first the gold-bearing gravel was shoveled by hand. Then hydraulic methods were developed, using high-pressure water to float the water gravel suspension to the machine. Elevated terrace deposits, varicolored lenticular beds of poorly sorted sand, silt, clay, and gravelly sand, were unconsolidated. They were simply flushed into the separation and screening machinery.


The guided tour through Goldmine Experience takes visitors to an operational 19th century Stamper Battery. It was used to crush the gold-bearing rocks from the surrunding mines. Then the group enters one of the richest goldmines of the area. Other sights are the photographic museum, a video presentation, mining relics like steam-powered machines, and a Cave Weta colony. They may be visited on self-guided tours. There is also the possibility of gold panning for children.

The Thames, or Thames township, is located on the southern shores of the Hauraki Gulf. It was founded by European traders and missionaries in the 1860s. When the gold was found and the gold rush started, it became a typical miners' town.

The place of the first discovery was a waterfall in the bed of the Kuranui Stream. Prospector William Hunt discovered the first gold in 1867. A mine was founded, called the Shotover, which produced more than 102,353 oz of bullion gold. The whole mining district produced 2,327,619 oz of bullion with a value of NZD 845 million. The richest mine was the Manukau-Golden Crown-Caledonian mines, however, many others were only marginally smaller.