Timaru Travel Guide


Timaru, whose name comes from the Māori "Te Maru" (shelter), began life as two towns, one called Government Town and the other Rhodestown. The two towns met at George Street and merged in 1868. As Timaru's harbor was developed and its foreshore reclaimed, the Caroline Bay beach took shape and became a popular summer venue for its concerts and sideshows. Take a walk around the waterfront area at Caroline Bay where various festivals and events are held throughout the year—catch the farmers’ market there every Sunday morning. There's a rose garden, semi-enclosed soundshell for outdoor performances, paddling pool, and play area; the boardwalk and sand dune area down at the beach are a great spot to unwind after a day in the car.

These days, Timaru is the urban hub for South Canterbury and is a two-hour drive south of Christchurch—close enough for a weekend trip but far enough away to have its own strong identity. Mountain-biking is a growing sport here with some good trails through Centennial Park Reserve in the city, and a number farther out in the hinterlands.

Read More


Book A Trip



  • CARS

Trip Finder

Plan Your Next Trip

Subscribe to Newsletter
Sign up for Travel Tips & News
I want emails from Fodor's Travel with travel information and promotions. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails.

Thank you for your interest!

Look out for our newsletters with travel tips and special offers.