Having lived and operated out of Timaru for over a decade now, we’ve come to know this city inside out.
For anyone who’s new to the city or just visiting for a few days, here’s the best of what Timaru has to offer including a large town, beaches, museums, art galleries, picturesque parks and more!
Relax at The Caroline Bay Beach
Caroline Bay is a beach and park in Timaru that’s popular for lots of outdoor events, carnival and recreational activities. In fact, it’s been voted as the most popular beach in the South Island!
At the beach, you could go for a peaceful walk, enjoy a nice swim and see Timaru’s little blue penguins! The Penguins live around the Timaru Port and rock areas.
There is also a children’s playground, free barbeques, large open spaces, beach volleyball courts, mini golf, tennis courts, skate park and a small train offering rides.
There is also an annual summer carnival run by the voluntary Caroline Bay Association that takes place at the bay. The carnival has been operating for over a hundred years and draws people from around much of New Zealand to attend or assist with its operation. The carnival is a traditional family affair with free concerts, rides and sideshow style games.
Explore the Te Ana Maori Rock Art
For an interesting and unique insight into Maori history, you must explore the Maori rock art tours at Te Ana. You can go on personalized guided tours to iconic Māori rock art sites across Timaru and immerse yourself in the history and culture of Ngāi Tahu at the tribal rock art centre.
Tours run from November – April (or by arrangement) and include a 1 hour guided tour of Te Ana Māori rock art Rock Art Centre. Prior bookings are essential and you should allow approximately 3 hours for the tour.
Learn more about Maori Rock Art Tours
Enjoy the South Beach Coastal Track Walk
The 20 minute walk at the South Beach Coastal Track offers fantastic views of the Caroline Bay, the Port and the town. This wide, well made track has been formed on the edge of a shingle beach. It follows the coast line north towards Timaru harbour. It is an easy short walk which currently starts at the Patiti Point car park and finishes at Stuart street. This track is good for cycling too. You can also spot a lot of birds including banded dotterels, South Island pied oyster catcher, white fronted terns.
Learn more about the South Beach Coastal Track Walk
Visit the Timaru Botanic Gardens
The botanic garden in Timaru is picturesque and attractive with an conservatory and fernery, ornamental ponds, an aviary, a rose garden, a children’s playground, native plant collections, a Victorian garden and more.
Children can enjoy feeding the ducks on a Saturday – by Sunday they are usually too well fed to be interested.
The main entrance to the Timaru Botanic Gardens is in Queen Street near the corner of King Street. To enter you pass through the ornate Gloucester Gates which were opened by the Duke of Gloucester in 1935.
Learn more about the history of Timaru’s botanic gardens, opening hours and more.
Spend a Day at The Centennial Park Reserve
The Centennial park includes plenty of walks to choose from, a picnic and play area beside the lake, free BBQs, mountain bike tracks and a lot of wilderness.
The reserve includes a tranquil 3.5 km walkway following the wooded valley of the Otipua Creek which is beautiful.
The Timaru park has something for everyone and is perfect for a family day out.
Learn more about Timaru’s Centennial Park Reserve
South Canterbury Museum
The South Canterbury Museum has a focus on the natural heritage and history of the South Canterbury region of New Zealand – land, life and people.
It is filled with a huge variety of artifacts and displays the region’s history, including natural history of local specimens, Maori history of settlers from 800 years ago, the European settlement with exhibitions on how, why and when settlement occurred, social history of different time periods, documentary history of extensive collections of photographs, documents, archival items and books relating to our region’s history and more!
Learn more about the South Canterbury Museum in Timaru.
Shop at The Timaru Farmers Market
If you are looking to do some produce shopping followed by some relaxing on a Saturday, you can spend your morning at the Timaru farmers market. You can pick up fresh fruits and veggies, mingle with the locals, and treat yourself to some delicious cheeses, baked goodies and preserves. There’s also food stalls with food and drinks for sale.
The market is open every Saturday from 9am to 12.30pm, rain of shine, all year long!
Learn about Timaru’s Farmers Market
About Cool Air Refrigeration & Air Conditioning
We are heat pumps, air conditioning and refrigeration specialists based in Timaru and servicing across Timaru, Ashburton and South Canterbury.