Timaru city

The South Island’s only port city, Timaru is so much more than a safe harbour to drop anchor.

In Timaru, you can catch a glimpse of the world’s smallest penguin, gobble down an export-quality custard square and soak up the sun at Caroline Bay (voted most popular beach in the South Island in 2015).

We’re the proud birthplace of Phar Lap, some say the greatest racehorse that ever lived, and we’re one of the best places in New Zealand to view ancient Māori rock art.

There’s Jack’s Point if you’re into surfing or the ominous-sounding (but extinct) Mt Horrible volcano if hiking and rock climbing is more your thing.

Or you can stroll the town’s ocean-facing botanic gardens, take the kids for a dip in Timaru’s outdoor heated swimming pool or pop in to a local winery for a glass of premium pinot noir. 

Got a hankering for craft beer? Then check out the selection on tap at The Oxford, one of our great bars on the corner of George and Stafford Streets.

History of Timaru

Ours is a rich history of Māori tribal settlement, European whale traders and colonial settlers who came to Timaru set up sheep stations.

We have tales of ancient moa bone discoveries, tragic shipwreck and murder (one of our earliest mayors was reputedly poisoned by a family member).

Even our airport is a bit special. It’s named after Timaru farmer and inventor Richard Pearse, who’s said to have invented powered flight before the Wright brothers.

How to get here

Timaru is just two hours’ drive from Christchurch and Dunedin – and has daily direct flights from Wellington.