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The largest town on the Coromandel Peninsula, Thames is the gateway to many of the attractions of the area and has an interesting history which dates back to the days of gold mining and kauri logging in the 19th century.

Old pubs and wooden houses still line the streets, and the museum and School of Mines are a highlight.

Despite not having beaches to rival those on the east coast of the Peninsula, Thames and the west coast looks out over the Firth of Thames, and you will find many pretty little bays surrounded by the beautiful Pohutukawa trees all along the coast.

The Kauaeranga Forest Park

The Kauaeranga Forest Park lies in a valley on the Firth of Thames.

Once one of the country’s major sources of kauri timber, it was logged for nearly 100 years and is now a picturesque wilderness offering walks through regenerating forest growth, over bubbling streams, under jagged limestone outcrops and past volcanic chimneys.

Access is through the town of Thames, only a 90-minute drive from Auckland, where a surprisingly grand town center was built off the wealth derived from the gold rush era but now simply serves the surrounding local farm community.

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Map of Thames & Kauaeranga Valley

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