Meet me in the middle
Timaru is centrally located on the East Coast of Te Waipounamu. It's the perfect urban base to meet up with friends and whānau from across the South Island.
There are also direct flights from Wellington to Timaru daily for our North Island mates.
Book in a seaside escape with great shopping, fantastic eateries, and loads of scenic walking tracks - minus the big crowds - in Timaru.
We love lists, so here are 5 reasons to get the gang together and meet halfway in Timaru.
1. Outstanding food
There are two main dining hubs in Timaru; The Bay Hill and the Landing Services Building area.
The Bay Hill looks out over the Caroline Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Head here for wining and dining, sunset drinks, people watching, and coffees with a view, before or after a coastal walk.
The historic Landing Services Building is home to the Street Food Kitchen, The Speights Alehouse (fantastic courtyard), the Timaru Information Centre and Te Ana Maori Rock Art Centre. In the general area you'll find fantastic eateries that cover most cuisine styles from vegan to steak-house, take-away to fine dining.
Local produce is featured heavily at eateries, and if you see Ship Hop Beer on tap we recommend trying it.
2. Coastal walks
A favourite walk with locals, given its coastal views and proximity to the Bay Hill eateries and the CBD, is the Dashing Rocks walk.
You set off from Caroline Bay, our beautiful beach reserve right in Timaru City.
The walk takes approximately an hour and will lead you around cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, past the site of historic shipwrecks, Blackett's Lighthouse, and fascinating basalt rock formations - aka 2 million year old lava from Mt Horrible.
3. Wellness and relaxation
After all the outstanding food, sea air and coastal walks we recommend taking some time to sit back and relax.
Whether you're after a massage, a facial, new nails, or even a minimally invasive surgery technique - we've got you covered.
A quick Google search will reveal all the inner city options, they all come highly recommended.
Pencil in a cocktail or two while chilling on leather sofas and taking in the stylish and quirky interiors at Hector Black's Lounge Bar post treatment.
4. Retail therapy
Stafford Street is Timaru's high street. The streetscape is Edwardian, look up and you'll see some beautiful historic buildings.
There’s a range of specialty stores you won't find anywhere else, through to some of the nation’s best-known chain-stores.
There are also fantastic antique and vintage stores dotted around Timaru, and even more just north in Temuka.
Some of stores you won't find anywhere else include:
Black and Co/Heirlooms/Tuesday Store - These adjoining stores are a must-visit. Beautifully curated gifts, designer clothing and antique and second hand finds. Check out their recently launched online store.
Bay Hill Books - A fabulous independent community bookshop in the heart of Timaru, celebrating books and the South Canterbury community.
Jewel of the Harem - Beautiful, unique silver and gemstone pieces, chosen individually from exotic locations around the globe.
You're the Bomb - The best bath bombs and beauty products, hand made, no toxic nasty stuff, and Luana the creator has a fine arts degree so they look AMAZING.
Compulsory cupcakes from Millie Rose Boutique Gifts and Cakes.
5. Summer events
Time your visit to coincide with one of our upcoming events.
The carnival has been going for over 100 years! It's much more than just retro carnival rides and sideshows, it's days full of free entertainment, concerts and talent shows. And don't miss out on the Monster Pub Charity Fireworks event on New Year's Eve. Live music from 9pm.
January 30 | Movies in the Gardens
Free movie night at the Timaru Botanic Gardens! Starting at 5pm with music from The Groove and food stalls. Bring a picnic, cushions, bean bags and enjoy!
6pm - Peter Rabbit
9pm - Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Feel free to bring a gold coin donation for Alzheimers NZ.
Brought to you by: Movie Max Digital, Venture Timaru, Audio Dynamite and Timaru District Council.
The fabulous Caroline Bay Rock and Hop is a much loved annual that event draws crowds from all over NZ.
It's a show for all cars, caravans and motorbikes from modern to vintage, from classic to muscle, from Japanese to English, this show is for everyone. There is a nostalgia theme that celebrates the best of the 50’s & 60’s and everyone is encouraged to dress in fashion from this era and celebrate!
While you're here
Stock up on outstanding food in Geraldine.
Explore Peel Forest
Drive 20 minutes up the road to Peel Forest for horse trekking, bush walks, craft beer and pizza.
DB Brewery Tours
DB Brewery Tours take you through the brewing process, giving you the chance to view the fresh raw ingredients and the brewery’s high speed bottling line. Tours take about an hour, with sampling at the end of course.
Day trip to Mackenzie/Waimate/Waitaki
Our central location means we're a great urban base for lots of great road trips in any direction (except East unless by boat).