10 must-visit museums

We love a good Museum and we've got plenty to choose from.

From lace to machinery, space invaders to ancient Maori Rock Art, we've got a lot of bases covered.

You can even visit an old morgue complete with original equipment! It's known to scare kids silly when they visit the Temuka Museum after dark....


Lilia’s Lace Museum, Geraldine

A specialist Museum that showcases the history of international and domestic lace and lace making.

It's an eponymous tribute to its owner’s Geraldine-born lace-making grandmother. “My grandmother had seven generations of lace-makers from both parents’ sides”

The Museum documents the history of lace-making, including national and regional styles and accoutrements, and techniques, and their development.

240A Talbot Street, Geraldine.  Call Jean on 693 9312 to arrange viewing. Entry $5; groups of 10 or more $4 per person.


Geraldine Historical Museum

A recent addition to this cool Museum is the recreated Morrison Brothers Store.  The store operated in Geraldine as a General Store from 1867 – 1998!

Over the years the Store underwent many changes to meet changing times and the needs of customers.  One of the coolest features of this exhibition is the original money machine canister.  Money was put in a canister and pulled up to the office upstairs!

5 Cox Street, Geraldine.  Open 7 days a week.
Free to visit, donations appreciated.


Geraldine Vintage Car and Machinery Museum

Recognised as the finest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, with some exhibits you won't find anywhere else including an original Spartan Bi-Plane.

Highly regarded for the large number and quality of exhibits, and the passion and knowledge imparted by the volunteers who run it.

A fabulous place to visit for all ages.  Even non-machinery type people seem to love it, if the TripAdvisor reviews are anything to go by.

178 Talbot Street, Geraldine. Open 9.30 am – 4.30 pm daily from mid September to June.  Open weekends June - September.


Shark display at South Canterbury MuseumSouth Canterbury Museum

A fantastic place for all ages to explore. They run amazing programs and events over the school holidays.  Primary school aged kids can join the Explorers Club.

Upstairs the exhibits include the prophet Te Maiharoa's greenstone mere, and a spacies machine from the 80s!

We recommend following their Facebook page to stay up to date with Museum happenings, and learn more about the history of Timaru District.

4 Perth Street, Timaru.  Free to visit, donations appreciated.  Closed on Mondays.


South Canterbury Traction Engine and Steam Museum

Discover a vast collection of vintage tractors and old farm machinery, plus a large display of classic and vintage trucks.

There are two working traction engines plus numerous steam powered items. Head along and check out some of our local agricultural and transport history.

33 Brosnan Road, Seadown.  Open Saturday and Monday 1pm - 4pm, or by appointment. Admission: Adults $10, Children under 14 free.


Temuka Courthouse and Museum

Housed in the historic former Temuka Courthouse, it's a favourite with photographers.  It was constructed in 1900-01 and used as a courthouse as recently as 1979.

This Museum is home to over 6,000 items recording the history of Temuka, from farming, to industry, family history and social history.

There is a permanent display relating to New Zealand Insulators and Temuka Pottery, once so economically important to the town. Hundreds of photos relating to the area are available for perusal.  And a morgue, complete with original equipment, is located in the grounds.

2a Domain Avenue, Temuka.  Open every Sunday from 2pm - 4pm, from October until June.


Pleasant Point Museum and RailwayPleasant Point Museum and Railway

Nestled in the small town of Pleasant Point, this  award-winning attraction has been rated as one of New Zealand's best preservation railways.

They run fully operational steam locomotives – including the 1922 locomotive Ab699 – and a rare replica of a Model T Ford Railcar.  But, it’s not just the trains that are on show.

The incredibly detailed miniature railway in the Museum has to be seen to be believed.

Upstairs there's rooms full of vintage goodness, early computers and other machinery, posters, school equipment and more.  Plus an old fashioned movie theatre, complete with antique seats, and they hold old fashioned movie nights there, bring a plate.

Afghan Street, Pleasant Point.  Admission: Family: $35  Adult: $12  Children: $6


Te Ana Maori Rock Art Centre

This interactive experience is housed in the historic Landing Services Building.

Run by local Ngai Tahu guides who are the kaitiaki (guardians) of eight precious pieces of rock art, cut from sites over 100 years ago.  Immerse yourself in the centre as you retrace the seasonal journeys of their ancestors, explore the practice of rock drawing, learn about Pouakai the now extinct giant eagle and much more.

2 George Street, Timaru.  Open daily, 10am - 4pm.


Rangitata Island Aviation Museum

The Rangitata Island Aerodrome is home to a number of museum collections. See more than 20 aircraft and unique pieces of memorabilia, creating a collection unlike any other in the world.

The Museum collections can be viewed by arrangement.  The best time to visit is for the Anzac Day service on April 25 each year.

1 Brodie Rd, Rangitata Island.  Please phone to arrange a viewing +64 3 693 8675


South Canterbury Aviation Heritage Centre

We're ahead of the game when it comes to flying, as in ahead of the Wright brothers if witness testimony is to be believed. It is claimed Richard Pearse flew his bamboo plane before the Wright brothers managed to catch some air.

Since then many locals have had illustrious performances in aviation. This cool centre was set up to record that history.

Exhibits include the Pearse tribute aircraft, and the 'They Served with Honour Museum' honors our local air war heroes.  A must visit.

Richard Pearse Airport, Levels.  Open from 2pm - 4pm on Tuesdays and Sundays.  Admission $5 adults, $2 children.


If you're not Museum-ed out after visiting all of the above, check out some of our other heritage sites.

The Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden contains over 1,200 old roses, it has a rose from every rose family in the world.

The Aigantighe Art Gallery is housed in an historic house built in 1905.  The oldest painting dates from circa 1665.

We've got statues and memorials to all sorts of local legends including Phar Lap, Richard Pearse, Jack Lovelock, Bob Fitzsimmons and more.

Check out the Landing Services Building, the only one of its kind left in the Southern Hemisphere.  The area around it is full of amazing eateries, cool shops and even a Flox mural - it's a great part of town to hang out.

Wander around the cool WuHoo Timaru and Aigantighe Art History signs, really fascinating if you like to know the history of where you're standing.  Copies of original paintings have been placed in situ so you can compare the historic image with what is there today.