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

Thames School of Mines is open under ORANGE in the traffic light system. If you are visiting us, you will need to wear a mask and follow our Covid-19 requirements. At this time, we do not require Vaccine Passes for entry to our visitor sites, cafes and shops, however this may be reviewed in line with our Covid-19 policy settings. You can check our website on the day of your visit for the most up-to-date information and please stay home if you’re unwell. For the latest on Covid-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand visit the official government website.

Getting Here


Corner of Brown and Cochrane Streets
Thames 3500

parking no-smoking shops

+64 7 868 6227

Thames School of Mines is located 600m from the centre of Thames township.

By public transport

Thames School of Mines is not accessible via public transport.


Thames School of Mines is on the Hauraki Rail Trail, which stretches from Kaiaua to Matamata. The bike trails around Thames are flat and well-maintained, which makes them perfect for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Bicycle racks are available to safely store your bike while you visit us.

By road

From the south, take Highway 25/Queen Street through Thames, until you reach the Cochrane Street intersection. Turn left onto Cochrane Street, Thames School of Mines will be on your right.

From the north, take Highway 25/Queen Street until you reach the Cochrane Street intersection. Turn right onto Cochrane Street, Thames School of Mines will be on your right.


There is free on-street parking on Cochrane Street, as well as on Brown Street. Bus and campervan parking is available across the road on Brown Street. Street parking is free in Thames, meaning you can explore the township after a visit! There are no designated accessible car parks in the area, however there is ample parking and ramps to the footpaths. Visitors are welcome to drive up to Thames School of Mines to drop-off and pick-up visitors for easy access.

Hours and Entry

Opening Hours

Wednesday - Sunday
10.00am - 4.00pm

Daily Guided Tours
10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm

Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day


Member Free

Adult Guided Tour $10.00

Under 18 years Free

* Surcharges may apply for special events
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Enjoy free entry to our heritage properties plus other great benefits.

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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 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 a former 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 grounds formally used as 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'