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Mercury Bay Museum, Coromandel

Mercury Bay Museum - Whitianga

Year round popular attraction, the Mercury Bay Museum enjoys waterfront views. A must-do on a rainy day and/or for heritage buffs.  And for family and friends with companions who would rather go fishing the marina is opposite the museum.


Next door is a local favourite for its delicious cone ice cream creations; perfect for a holiday energy top up.


  • Captain James Cook (18th century explorer) has a full sized copy of the great cabin on the HMS Endeavour complete with a model in the dress uniform of Captain Cook. Joseph Banks (botanist) is nearby and an unnamed cabin boy
  • The foyer is home to a statue of Kupe, his wife and his tohunga (learned priest) acknowledging the role of East Polynesian navigators to Aotearoa New Zealand. Kupe named a area along the beach after his marae in Tahiti, Taputapuatea
  • Linger in the family room where photographs capture the 19th century expansion of the dairy industry
  • Fishing displays and logging operations are carefully documented
  • Find the butter churn continuing to stand in its original spot in the former daily factory

With exhibits about the Polynesian navigator Kupe, Maori artifacts, the Endeavour and James Cook, HMS Buffalo (sunk 1840), kauri timber and gum, the old dairy factory in which the museum is housed, early settlers’ records, natural history, fishing displays and a wonderful photographic collection

Mercury Bay Museum, Coromandel, New Zealand
Mercury Bay Museum

There is an exhibition of the wreck of HMS Buffalo, (1840) and a Coastal Port exhibition. There is a 1953 school room, a blacksmith shop and the very popular Kauri Room. The nature display of the birds of the area is slightly dusty with stuffed birds forever frozen in flight.

The Museum is housed in the former Mercury Bay Dairy factory. The site was where the Kauri Timber Company Mill existed. Prior to that, the site was an urupa (cemetery); the two crew members who lost their lives in the HMS Buffalo were buried there. HMS Buffalo relics are being carefully retrieved from their watery grave.

Opening hours

Check beforehand to avoid disappointment. There is an admission fee to support the museum activities. The museum is largely managed by dedicated volunteers.

This museum is part of the heritage trail in the Coromandel Peninsula. Check the Coromandel Guide for more information.


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