Why the Timaru District should be on your summer road trip list


Looking for a scenic and exciting summer road trip destination? Consider the Timaru District. With its stunning coastline, lush native forest, outdoor adventures, and delicious food and drink, the Timaru District has something for everyone.

Summer swimming at Caroline BayAbove: Summer fun at Caroline Bay

Explore our diverse region

The Timaru District is conveniently located on State Highway 1, making it easy to reach from both Christchurch and Dunedin. It's also just an hour's drive from the iconic Mackenzie region, home to Lake Tekapo/Takapō and Aoraki/Mount Cook.

Within the Timaru District, you'll find a variety of distinct destinations, each with its own unique charm and attractions. In Timaru City, enjoy breathtaking coastal walks, explore family-friendly Caroline Bay, admire stunning heritage buildings, immerse yourself in art and culture, and savour the local flavours in exquisite dining and bars.

Temuka, renowned for its world-famous Temuka Pottery, is a charming town with a relaxed vibe. Pleasant Point is home to a beloved vintage steam train and museum, while the boutique town of Geraldine entices visitors with its delectable food and beverage offerings, vintage museums, enchanting bush walks, and charming shops and art galleries.

Peel Forest is a hiker's paradise, with trails suitable for all skill levels winding through lush native forest adorned with towering trees and cascading waterfalls. And at the top of the vast and rugged Rangitata River Valley, you'll discover Mesopotamia, a majestic and truly unique destination.

Big Rock CanyoningAbove: Canyoning with Big Rock Adventures

Heaps of activities for the whole family

Whether you're looking for organised tours or prefer to explore on your own, the Timaru District has a wide range of activities to keep everyone entertained.

Unique experiences include the Te Ana Māori Rock Art and The Raptor Experience, as well as fantastic walking and biking trails, farmyard experiences, museums galore, the iconic Caroline Bay, and more.

A must-do walk is Little Mount Peel/Huatekerekere. Regarded as one of the best day walks in Canterbury, Little Mount Peel is a bit of an uphill slog, but the views from the top are breathtaking. The track is approximately 10km long and takes 7-9 hours to complete, depending on your fitness level and the route you take.

Explore our beautiful outdoors on a thrilling ride with Big Rock Adventures, or do it at a more relaxed pace with Real Kiwi Horse Trekking or the Alps 2 Ocean Road to Mesopotamia tour.

If you're looking for some more leisurely time, hit one of the Timaru District's eight scenic golf courses, browse the local shops and boutiques, or simply relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Harbour View MotelAbove: Harbour View Motel located just minutes from Caroline Bay and the Timaru CBD 

Plenty of accommodation options

There are plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets and travel styles in the Timaru District.

If you're looking for a bit of luxury, consider Ngā Whare Mānatu or The Vicarage of Geraldine.  

For those after mid-range options, there is a great selection of premium motels and motor lodges around the district, and for those on a budget, check out one of our great holidays parks including the Timaru Top 10 Holiday Park or the Orari Farmyard Holiday Park.

No matter what your interests are, the Timaru District is a great destination for a summer road trip. With its stunning scenery, diverse attractions, and delicious food and drink, the Timaru District has something to offer everyone.

Need more convincing? Check out our summer events guide for the best festivals, concerts, car shows and more happening in the district over the warmer months.