Visit one of the hubs of the country’s gold industry. Learn how everday people were taught advanced mining techniques, geology and mine management to maximise their returns (plus they got to play with cyanide!)
Thames School of Mines will have free entry on Waitangi Day, and will be open from 10am - 4pm.
Wednesday - Sunday
10.00am - 4.00pm
Daily Guided Tours
10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm
Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day
Adult Guided Tour $10.00
Under 18 years Free
* Surcharges may apply for special events
Thames School of Mines comprises several one-storey buildings. Chairs are available throughout the site for visitors with mobility issues.
The school buildings are one-storey buildings with steps up to the entry. Unfortunately, there is no wheelchair access to the school buildings.
The mineralogical museum is a one-storey building with steps up to the entry. The museum has wheelchair access through the rear entrance.
The Rock Shop
The Rock Shop is a one-storey building and is completely wheelchair accessible. There is a small ramp on the inside of the shop for entry.
Our site is small, with little distance between buildings, making it easily walkable for those who have difficulty navigating distances.
Food and Drink
As an urupā, it is part of the tikanga (Māori customs) that food and drink is not allowed at Thames School of Mines. However, there are a great selection of local cafés and eateries located in Thames township or picnic at a local beach.
This is a smoke and vape free site.
Children and whānau
Both inside and out, there are plenty of things for kids to do. Explore the Southern Hemisphere’s largest geological specimen collection, see how a science lab looked in 1901 and learn how gold was processed from start to finish! Don’t forget to stop by the Rock Shop, full of rocks, minerals, and crystals from all around the world for something fun or to expand your collection.
Things to remember
Thames School of Mines is located on an urupā (burial ground). Therefore, we show respect and adhere to some tikanga Māori (Māori customs). Food and Drink is not permitted on site in line with these customs. A bowl of water is provided for visitors to clear or cleanse yourself as you leave the site. To use the water, wet your fingers in the bowl and flick water over your shoulder or part of your upper body. This is a Māori ritual of whakanoa (tapu removing), a process cleansing as people leave taonga (treasures) or tapu (sacred) places, which still deserve the utmost respect. In addition, our toilets are located off site on Brown Street.
Thames School of Mines is currently only accessible by guided tour.
Our buildings and taonga (treasures) are all over a hundred years old. To keep our taonga and site intact for future generations, buildings or items may be inaccessible for conservation and maintenance.
Some rooms may be dimly lit depending on the weather and time of year.
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga is proud to be part of the Safe Space Alliance, offering safe and inclusive spaces that welcome and support the LGBTQI+ community.
A safe space is a space where the LGBTQI+ community can freely express themselves without fear. It is a space that doesn’t tolerate violence, bullying, or hate speech towards the LGBTQI+ community.