Cold day activities in Timaru District

Our pick of family friendly things to do

Head indoors

If it's too cold for outdoor pursuits...

Timaru City:

Take in a movie, burn off some steam at Chipmunks, or Flip Out Timaru.  Caroline Bay Aquatic Centre is a great place to swim and slide.  The South Canterbury Museum is a fascinating place to explore, and the Aigantighe Art Gallery is family friendly and free entry.


The Geraldine Cinema is independently owned and has comfy couches. The Geraldine Museum and the Geraldine Vintage Car and Machinery Museum are both well worth a visit for the history buffs.  Lilia's Lace Museum is a NZ Museums specialist museum, it showcases the history of international and New Zealand lace and lace-making.  Viewing by appointment.

The Rangitata Island Aviation Museum is well worth a visit, with over 20 aircraft on display as well as other unique memorabilia.


The Temuka Museum is housed in a striking old Courthouse building.  It's not always open so check before you leave home.

Pleasant Point:

The Pleasant Point Museum and Railway is an award-winning attraction which has been rated as one of New Zealand's best preservation railways. But, it’s not just the trains that are on show.  Displays range from the country’s worst railway disaster at Tangiwai in 1953, to the district’s brewing history, to old printing machines and computers. You can also make a booking to drive an 86-tonne steam engine.

Go skiing in winter

In less than a couple of hours drive from Timaru City, you'll find yourself at several family-friendly ski resorts.

There’s Mt Dobson, at the southern end of the Two Thumb Range, which is ideal for novice to intermediate skiers. Fox Peak, at the highest point of the Two Thumb Range, is a mixed-ability club field. Roundhill, near Tekapo, is great for beginners, intermediates and more advanced skiers. Mt Hutt is, one of the most popular resorts, is ideal for all ability levels.

Grab the kids, rug up and have a blast on the ski slopes.

Go stargazing

Our region is ideal for stargazing and checking out the Mackenzie and Aoraki Mt Cook international dark sky reserve.

Start with the Geraldine Observatory, the reviews it gets are outstanding and it's great value for money.

To go further afield, jump in the car and drive to Tekapo, then book the family in for a stargazing a day or night tour with Dark Sky Project.

If that's not quite enough, travel further to Aoraki Mount Cook and book yourselves in for a Digital Dome Planetarium tour.

Check out Tekapo Springs

A 90-minute drive from Timaru is Tekapo Springs, a great place for a family day out. Tekapo Springs has outdoor hot pools, an open-air ice rink and a tube park. It'll keep the kids busy for hours.

Take a OneRing Tour

If your kids loved the Lord of the Rings movies, you may want to head to Twizel and take a Lord of the Rings movie-inspired tour with OneRing Tours.

Tours of up two-hours take you on location and provide insight into movie making. Another great day tour.

Take the family on a heli-tour

Check out the South Island’s stunning snow-capped mountains and glaciers from above with a heli-tour.

Local operators Air Rangitata offer scenic and charter flights and are based locally.

The Helicopter Line operate scenic flights throughout nearby Mackenzie country and Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. Nearest pickup area is Twizel, a two-hour drive inland from Timaru.

A great option for a crisp and clear winter's day.