Awesome Activities

Fun things to do in Timaru

Hang out in Caroline Bay

Come and hang out at Caroline Bay. Locals love it. You will too.

The entire Bay area is a must visit when in Timaru, including the restaurants and bars up the Bay Hill.

Caroline Bay is a lovely sandy beach ideal for swimming. There are cycling and walking tracks. It's a great place for a picnic. It's got beach boardwalks, public artworks, outdoor bbqs and playgrounds for the kids.

Come In December and join the throng at our annual summer carnival.

See Māori rock art

How many other places in the world can you see a collection of ancient Māori rock art like ours? None. Zip. That's right, Timaru's incredible collection is unique.

And you should see it by organising a one or three-hour tour with the Te Ana Ngāi Tahu Rock Art Centre. Make your booking at the Landing Services Building on George Street.

Note, tours have to be booked a day in advance. Do it though, it's totally worth it.

See the world's smallest penguin

It may be a little known fact that Timaru is home to the smallest penguin the world. The kororā stands just 40 centimetres tall.

The best time to see them is after sunset as they come ashore for the night. Grab a coat and beanie and head to Marine Parade at dusk as they head for the rocks at Caroline Bay. The penguins are small but they're noisy – so you’ll probably hear them before you see them.  More information here.

Eat a Denheath custard square

In Timaru we like to think no day is complete without having sampled a Denheath fluffy, high rise, melt-in-your-mouth, rich and creamy, custard square.

They are delicious - and they're available from cafes all over town. You can also buy them from the Denheath factory on Mill Street.

Remember Phar Lap

We’re the proud birthplace of Phar Lap who some say was the greatest racehorse that ever lived. You can remember the superior steed (born 1926) by visiting a bronze statue made in his image.

It's located at the entrance of Timaru Phar Lap Raceway on State Highway 1. The life-size statue by sculptor Joanne Gessler gives you a good estimation of Phar Lap's impressive stride.

Go hydrosliding

We've got two hydroslides in Timaru. They say one is fast and the other's even faster.

Best time to go is weekends and school and public holidays when it's open 10.30am till 5pm. $4 buys you unlimited slides (on top of your entry fee). So grab your togs and head to the Caroline Bay Trust Aoraki Centre on Te Weka Street.

Within the complex, there’s a 25-metre lane pool, a leisure and toddlers’ pool, a café and a luxury spa, sauna and steam room.

Take a DB Brewery beer tour

If you like your beer (and you're the right age), then take a tour of Timaru's very own DB Brewery.

You'll see how DB beer is made and sample of some of the brand's most iconic beers - DB Draught, DB Export Gold and DB Export 33. Find the brewery on Sheffield Street in Washdyke.

Tours run at 1pm from Monday to Saturday, cost $20 for adults and bookings are essential.

See fine art

The Aigantighe (pronounced ‘egg-an-tie’) Art Gallery on Wai-iti Road is a must-do for fine art lovers. The gallery has an impressive permanent collection, including artworks from famous NZ painters Frances Hodgkins and Colin McCahon, and there are changing feature exhibitions each month.

The sculpture gardens are one of the most photographed locations in Timaru.

Take time to smell the roses

We're home to one of only three World Federation gardens of excellence in the country - that's proof enough that we're truly good at growing top-notch roses.

But you should see for yourself by visiting the garden that won us the title, Timaru's Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden on Evans Street. Best time to go is the beginning of December when the rose gardens are in full bloom.

Game hunting options

It's important to remember you're on the edge of back country wilderness here in Timaru. All it takes is a brief detour into the hills and you're deep in red stag territory. That's why we attract game hunters from all over the world.

For a successful game hunting adventure, contact Timaru's experienced tour operators Stravon Safaris. They'll sort you out with an incredible tour and plenty of memories to write home about.