Top Ten in Thames

Words Vicki Ravlich-Horan, Images Ashlee DeCaires

Many of us travel through Thames as we head away on holiday. We spent a little longer in town talking to locals and discover a few gems.


Crown Lynn and Moore
Whether you are a collector or just want a trip down memory lane, this store is a must. Jam-packed with Crown Lynn, plus a variety of other vintage collectables, this little touch of Kiwiana will leave you smiling.
756 Pollen Street


An artist co-operative comprising of 11 members, plus commission artists, you will find an ever-changing and eclectic mix of local art at Vessel, including jewellery, sculptures, paintings, ceramics and more.
752 Pollen Street

Owner Lee recently moved to this new spot which once was Bounty. Huia has a handpicked selection or women’s and men’s fashion, art, pottery, jewellery and homeware, all designed in Aotearoa.
754 Thames Street

Thames Organic Shop
Stop in to stock up on some summer essentials, including the freshest organic produce. The Thames Organic Shop is a community organisation and charitable trust and a great example of how living in a small community can be so rewarding.
736 Pollen Street

The Depot

The Depot is a beautiful space easily missed by the uninitiated. Out front you will see Melbourne Café, a great spot for a bite with great coffee and super friendly staff. As you wait for your coffee or food, head down the back to discover a number of other wonderful businesses tucked away in this beautifully restored building from The Plantery to Savour and Spice.
Right at the end you will find award-winning distillers Awildian, who are open Thursday to Saturday for tastings.
715 Pollen Street

Burtons on Pollen
When we asked locals where their favourite lunch spot was, Burtons was inevitably mentioned, if not a little sheepishly. The old style café with self-serve cabinets is one not to be judged by the cover!  Step inside and discover the biggest custard squares I have ever seen along with gorgeous hearty homemade pies and more.
444 Pollen Street

Little Toke
Smoothies, smoothie bowls, poke bowls and coffee, Little Toke was mentioned again and again by locals. And we have it on good authority this local fav is expanding with a tapas and taco bar, hopefully open for the summer in the newly renovated space next door.
720 Pollen Street

The Wharf Coffee House & Bar
Located on Shortland Wharf there is more than one reason to stop by here. A great spot to stretch the legs and grab a true Kiwi feed of fish n chips by the water. If fishing is on the agenda there is room to park the boat as you pick up supplies like bait and ice. And if that fishing didn’t turn out as successfully as you wished, stop in on your way home to pick up some of the freshest fish available!
Shortland Wharf, Queen Street

Carsons Bookshop
‘Get lost in a great book shop’ is their tag line and it couldn’t be truer. An independent bookshop like Carsons is a rare find these days! Growing up and holidaying in Coromandel it was a tradition to stop at Carsons where the selection is vast and the staff picks super helpful for a summer of reading ahead.
600 Pollen Street

Thames Goldmine Experience
If you have a little time, give gold panning a go or don a hard hat and go underground to discover what was once the richest gold mines in the area. See and hear a working stamper battery and really get an understanding of what gold mining was like in the 19th century. Run by enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers, Thames Goldmine Experience truly is gold!
Tararu Road

We tried to narrow it down to 10 as we are suckers for alliteration. The truth is we just couldn’t, so here are a few more spots to add to your list.

Coco Coffee – The perfect stop for a takeaway coffee.
661 Pollen Street

Waiomu Beach Café – A great spot on the Thames coast for a coffee or bite to eat. Just remember, everyone has the same idea on those busy travel days.
622 Thames Coast Road, Waiomu

Hi Stranger Café – We discovered this quirky café last year.
604 Pollen Street

Blackbeards Smokehouse – A must stop for seafood fans. You’ll find their smoked mussels in supermarkets throughout the North Island but what’s better than picking them up at the source, along with the likes of a steak and oyster pie, smoked mussel dip and more.
1 Kopu Road

Thames Market
Held every Saturday from 8am to 12pm in Grahamstown. You’ll find locally produced plants, fruit and veg plus bric-a-brac, second hand goods and books, arts and crafts, fine food, cheeses, specialty oils and much more.


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