The largest settlement on the peninsula can look back on an eventful history as a gold rush town. In 1867 the rich “Shotover” strike on the nearby Kuranui stream, initiated a rush to the Thames area that reached its peak in 1871. For those who want to look for reminders of the gold rush days, the Information Office in Queen Street can give tips about gold-mining relics in the vicinity. Among these remainders is the gold mine and stamper battery at the north end of town. In view of the wide variety of gemstones that are to be found on the peninsula, an inter-esting place to visit is the School of Mines Museum. It claims to have the most comprehensive collection of mineral samples in the country. Roughly 18 1 / 2 miles (30km) west of Thames, at Miranda, is a popular thermal springs complex.
A good place to start exploring the rugged hill-country of Coromandel Forest Park is the Kauaeranga Valley, a few miles south-east of Thames. There is an Information Centre here where visitors can learn about the old kauri logging industry and the ecology
of the area. Some of the shorter signposted tracks in the valley can be walked in twenty minutes, others would require five hours or more.
Before travelling north, self-caterers should bear in mind that Thames is perhaps the best place on the Peninsula to buy supplies. The Goldfields Shopping Centre with the Pak-N-Save supermarket is
comparatively cheap and has a wide range of both fresh and canned produce. It is located off Brown Street.