"Roses, Beaches, Heritage and Carnival" Top 5 Page for this destination Timaru by Kakapo2

Timaru Travel Guide: 55 reviews and 145 photos

This page already gives a nice overview about things to do in Timaru but it is not finished yet.

Timaru - about halfway between Christchurch and Dunedin on the South Island's east coast - is a delightful, not really big but not small coastal town either. It is very quiet and great for walking and cycling. This is thanks to the relocation of State Highway 1 that does not flow through the mainstreet anymore.

Since then you can enjoy the Edwardian heritage and the parks and gardens, with the three-week long carnival around Christmas and New Year as the peak of activities. The Christmas decoration in and above the street is spectacular - and a LOT - LOT nicer than in Christchurch. Just this is nearly worth a visit at this time of the year.

It is not only the architectural heritage that makes Timaru a great destination. Right below the city centre is wonderful Caroline Bay with its safe swimming beaches and an artificial harbour at the southern end (Marine Parade). Only the creation of this harbour created the beautiful sandy beach.

The northern side of the bay which is bordered by the steep Benvenue Cliffs is a reserve, once owned by Maori and now by the city (Maori Park, Ashbury Park).

You can walk down to the bay from the city via a kind of spiral walkway with a lot of stairs. The first great place you get to see down there is the fabulous Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden which includes arbours, pools and a fountain. Timaru celebrates its love for roses with the Festival of Roses in November (in 2009 it was from 20 to 29 November).
Check out here: http://www.festivalofroses.co.nz/

Another favourite place is the Landing Service building at the end of George Street. It also hosts the Visitor Information Centre. (More about this in an extra tip).

200 metres higher in Perth Street is the South Canterbury Museum which displays a lot of Maori artefacts. It also shows a reconstruction of the airplane in which Richard Pearse made the first attempt to fly in a motor powered object.

Timaru has two very nice churches, St. Mary's Anglican Church, a fabulous example of the English Gothic revival style, and the majestic Catholic Basilica with twin towers in Craigie Ave.

No accommodation tips as it's not far from home and we have friends down there.

Off the beaten path is the birthplace of Australia's most famous race horse ever, Phar Lap. Yes, Australia's - and you see, it is like with many things. Australia's best stuff - like the Pavlova and Crowded House - comes from New Zealand ;-)))

Lately (December 2009) I have driven along one of the roads that leads to the Phar Lap Memorial at the horse's birthplace, this is a hilarious story with the title: "What the Phark is this?"

Short time before that a new Phar Lap Memorial was unveiled at Timaru's Racecourse, at the northern end of town (in Washdyke).

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Small enough to explore in less than a day but enough to do on a longer stay
  • Cons:Smog in winter
  • In a nutshell:Laid back atmosphere and great views of the mountains and the sea
  • Last visit to Timaru: Jul 2008
  • Intro Updated Feb 4, 2010
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Reviews (23)

Comments (3)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    There are so many wonderful things to see in Timaru! A very special place. Nice page!

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2009 at 1:31 PM

    Very interesing looking little place.I wonder why Henry Cain was poisoned by his son-in law??Love the main photo- sitting with him on bench looks quite realistic. Those steps would be good exercise after a meal.

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Nov 10, 2008 at 1:18 AM

    Love the shoe tree! And that's where Phar Lap was foaled. Lovely page.

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