town in New Zealand's South Island

Timaru is a city of 28,900 as of June 2023 on the South Island of New Zealand, on the east coast at Caroline Bay. It is a seaport and the second largest city in the Canterbury region, and is about halfway between Christchurch and Dunedin. Caroline Bay has a popular sheltered beach and recreation area.

Historic Timaru


  • 1 Timaru Visitors Centre.

Get in


By plane

  • 1 Richard Pearse Airport (Timaru Airport) (13 km north of CBD). 2 or 3 flights daily, Air New Zealand, direct from Wellington. Taxi or rental car (preferably pre-arranged) from airport.    

By road


Timaru is on State Highway 1, 157 km, or a two-hour drive, south of Christchurch. Coach services operate from Picton, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Get around

Map of Timaru

Bus services connect the suburbs to the city centre. Taxi or rental car are other means of transport for tourists.

Oddly, SH 78 in Timaru, is the country's shortest state highway at just a mere 900 metres! Why it exists is still quite a mystery.

Seal at Caroline Bay
  • Aigantighe Art Gallery.
  • Te Ana Maori Rock Art, 2 George Street, Landing Services Building. Personalised and authentic Maori cultural experiences.
  • 1 South Canterbury Museum, 4 Perth St, Timaru Central, +64 3-687 7212. Tu-F 10AM-4:30PM, Sa Su 1-4:30PM. donation.
  • 2 Sacred Heart Basilica (Timaru Basilica).    
  • 3 Washdyke Lagoon. Areas surrounding the lagoon are good spots for Birding    
  • 4 Timaru Botanic Gardens.
  • 5 Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden.
  • Artwork. The Ferocious "Face of Peace", and the "malconstructed tubular bunk of Joy" which reside below the Piazza, and in front of the earthquake-proof Council offices, respectively.
  • 6 Timaru Shipwreck Memorial.
Shops on Stafford Street
  • 1 Ballantynes.    
  • 2 Northtown Shopping Centre.


  • 1 The Sail & Anchor, 51 Sophia St, +64 3-688 8177.
  • 2 Old Bank, 232 Stafford St, +64 3-684 4392.
  • 3 Saikou Teppanyaki & Whisky Bar.





Go next

Port of Timaru

South to Waimate, Oamaru, Moeraki Boulders and Dunedin. Go inland to Geraldine, Fairlie, Mt Cook, the Southern Lakes (Tekapo, Pukaki, Wanaka and Wakatipu) then down to the adventure capital of the South Island, Queenstown. Head north to Christchurch.

Geraldine, a town on the inland scenic route with a thriving arts and culture community nestled at the foot of soft rolling hills and bisected by the tranquil Waihi River. The pretty main street with its venerable trees, gardens and historic buildings is always bustling with visitors and locals alike.

Peel Forest, a short distance from Geraldine is a small, sparsely inhabited settlement village that is an oasis of beauty and tranquility set amid the dense virgin native forest. A popular recreational area offering many outdoor activities.

Pleasant Point, an ideal place to explore Maori rock art, sample the tastes of the award winning Opihi vineyard, or experience the town’s museum and railway with its fully restored steam locomotives with the world’s only Ford Model T railcar.

Temuka is a small town blessed with several rivers, walkways and an extensive collection of trees creating a green and tranquil haven for campers, sportspeople, travelers and locals.

Routes through Timaru
Christchurch  N   S  Oamaru
FairliePleasant Point  W   E  END

This city travel guide to Timaru is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.