Seaside City, Timaru

Book in a seaside escape with great shopping, fantastic eateries, and loads of scenic walking tracks - minus the big crowds - in Timaru.


EAT

We love good food.

The Bay Hill looks out over the Caroline Bay area, it's home to a row of fabulous eateries.

For more info check out these restaurants:
The Bay Hill Brewery Bar
Little India
Cactus Fire
Saikou Teppanyaki and Whisky Bar

Timaru's other dining hub if you wish to wine and dine in the city is around the historic Landing Services Building, home to the Information Centre, Te Ana Māori Rock Art Centre, the Speights Ale House and the Street Food Kitchen.

You have plenty of choices in eateries/bars in the area, and throughout Timaru, take your pick.


BEACH DAYS

Caroline Bay is a beautiful recreational beach reserve right in the city.

Canoe on Caroline Bay

The popular family-friendly beach is safe for swimming and watersports, and home to little penguin/kororā from October to March.

Also at the bay is the renowned Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden, which is in bloom from November to April.   This garden was deemed ‘a garden of excellence’ in 2013. Designed by Sir Warren Miles, it contains around 1200 old roses.

The Timaru Botanic Gardens also has an impressive collection of heritage and species roses.


ANCIENT & MODERN ART

We’re home to the most significant collection of ancient Māori Rock Art in New Zealand. 

Te Ana Museum

Learn about it at Te Ana Māori Rock Art Centre in Timaru.

Te Ana are the kaitiaki (guardians) of eight tribal taonga (treasures), cut from their sites over a hundred years ago, and now returned home to the centre and their people.

The centre is interactive and you learn a lot about the seasonal journeys of local Ngai Tahu ancestors.

Following an hour-long tour of the centre, you have the option to travel to the archaeological site – only accessible with a Ngai Tahu guide.

From ancient art to modern art, we love our  growing collection, of street art.

The Aigantighe Art Gallery in Timaru  holds a fantastic collection of contemporary and historic art.  Or, if you're looking to add to your art collection, chat with resident artists in their retail galleries.


HISTORY BUFFS

There are no less than 11 museums to explore in Timaru District!

The South Canterbury Museum is right in Timaru City, and the South Canterbury Traction Engine and Transport Museum is a short drive north of the city.


SHOP

The streetscape is Edwardian - look up and you'll see some beautiful historic buildings.

There’s a range of specialty stores offering boutique shopping, through to some of the nation’s best known chain-stores.


TIMARU TRAILS

Find all the best places in the city.

The Timaru Trails App brings all the city's best locations and puts them all in one place.

Explore Timaru District’s fascinating history, art scene, food, walking tracks and more with the free Timaru Trails App. You'll find all kinds of trails and self-guided tours in Timaru, Geraldine, Peel Forest, Pleasant Point and Temuka.

This app will have you:

  • Walking our coastal tracks keeping an eye out for penguins, seals and dolphins
  • Hiking bush tracks with waterfalls and native birds
  • Taking self-guided tours of heritage buildings, Timaru cemetery and street art
  • Doing a district foodie fossick
  • Finding the best places to wine, and dine

History of Timaru

Ours is a rich history of Māori tribal settlement, European whale traders and colonial settlers who came to Timaru set up sheep stations.

We have tales of ancient moa bone discoveries, tragic shipwreck and murder (one of our earliest mayors was reputedly poisoned by a family member).

Even our airport is a bit special. It’s named after Timaru farmer and inventor Richard Pearse, who’s said to have invented powered flight before the Wright brothers.

We’re the proud birthplace of Phar Lap, some say the greatest racehorse that ever lived.

How to get here

Timaru is just two hours’ drive from Christchurch and Dunedin – and has daily direct flights from Wellington.