Be sure to read the Special Notes further down this page for important requirements and restriction.
WHAT YOU VISIT
The Martha Gold Mine
Known as New Zealand's "Heart of Gold," the Martha Gold Mine was the richest underground gold mine in New Zealand. From 1878 to its closure in 1952, it produced over 192 tons of gold and silver.
The mine found new life in 1987 as an open-pit mine and is currently in use. Once in Waihi, you'll be welcomed by a friendly host over morning tea at the charming Sterling Hotel where some of the era's characters and stories will be introduced. Following a tour of the Cornish Pumphouse, you'll embark on an exclusive inside-the-fence tour of the massive Martha Gold Mine. Then, take a ride aboard the Goldfields Heritage Railway just like the miners did a century ago.
The Gold Discovery Center
Located near the Martha Gold Mine at the top of Waihi's main street, the center offers hands-on experiences that allow you to experience New Zealand's pioneering industrial heritage. Rattle a drill, crank the handles, push the plungers and become immersed in the interactive activities. The Ghost Theater offers a special treat: set in colonial Waihi, actors are brought to life by 3D holograms in a story inspired by real local characters.
The haunting and rugged beauty of the Cornish Pumphouse makes an ideal photo subject. The imposing stone building was built in 1904 and housed the pumps that carried out the vital task of pumping out water from the gold seams.
You'll be served a brown bag lunch while riding the rails on the Goldfields Heritage Railway.
WHAT YOU SEE ALONG THE WAY
As you make your way from the Tauranga port to Waihi, you'll be traveling through an area that was a Maori burial ground known as Pukewa Spur; once it was discovered in 1878 to contain gold-bearing quartz, it wasn't long before it became the Martha Mine. William Nicholl marked out five acres of land, named it after a family member and had a battery built and operational within three years. Thirty years later, Waihi was the fastest growing town in the area.
Special Notes:The mining operations are normally off-limits to the public, however Waihi Gold Mine Tours has exclusive rights to take visitors inside the mine security fence to experience modern-day gold mining up close.
Tour timeline may vary to avoid overcrowding, etc.