Thames School of Mines from the outside at dusk with the lights on

Visit one of the hubs of the country’s gold industry. The school's original classrooms, laboratories and assay rooms are frozen in time. Walk in the steps of those being taught advanced mining techniques, geology and management to maximise their returns. Working with explosives, dangerous gases, cyanide and massive machinery all in the pursuit of gold, it was a career fraught with dangers and the harsh reality of an early death. Visit the exceptional mineralogical collection housed in a ‘museum within a museum’ and view a world class collection that showcases stunning minerals and rocks from New Zealand and around the world.

Opening Hours

Wednesday - Sunday
10.00am - 4.00pm

Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day

parking no-smoking shops


Member Free

Adult Guided Tour $10.00

Under 18 years Free

* Surcharges may apply for special events


Corner of Brown and Cochrane Streets
Thames 3500

+64 7 868 6227

Accessibility Accessibility

Thames School of Mines comprises several one-storey buildings. Chairs are available throughout the site for visitors with mobility issues.

School Buildings

The school buildings are one-storey buildings with steps up to the entry. Unfortunately, there is no wheelchair access to the school buildings.

Mineralogical Museum

The mineralogical museum is a one-storey building with steps up to the entry. The museum has wheelchair access through the rear entrance.

The Museum Shop

The Museum 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.


Our tours, with no fixed schedules mean you can simply walk in, and embark on an adventure through Thames incredible gold history. Explore our historic school and mineral museum, full of geological wonders.

Cafe 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.

More info

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.

Safe Space

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.

Safe spaces logo a rainbow circle with the words 'Safe Space, wāhi haumaru'

He Aha Kei te Haere | What's On

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