Timaru, New Zealand
According to wholevehicles, Timaru is located on the South Island of New Zealand. According to foreign concepts, this city can be called boring, but this will not be entirely fair. There are several interesting museums here, a pretty “piazza” – a square on the coast with amazing views of the popular Caroline Bay with snow-capped peaks in the background and many cafes, bars and restaurants at your side. And in the surroundings you can ride mountain and road bikes, go hiking with overnight stays, go rafting and kayaking on the famous Rangitata River, play golf, ski and even hunt deer, wallabies and wild boars.
It is also worth leaving the piazza to the Trevor Griffiths rose garden, Timaru’s pride – admission is free. It is located almost on the very shore of the bay, which provides visitors with excellent views – in the event that, of course, they can escape from the contemplation of 1200 roses, a pergola, a pond, a fountain and other riches of the park.
How to get to Timaru
Richard Pierce Airport is located 13 km from the center of Timaru and receives several flights a day from Wellington. Christchurch International Airport is located 160 km from Timaru, it receives planes from many destinations of various airlines, and you can get from it to the city by direct bus, but they do not run so often. You can also take the bus to the city from Christchurch and Dunedin. Highway No. 1 passes right through the city, the main transport artery of the north / south. True, the landscape on the road between Christchurch and Timaru is not very picturesque, so you can choose to travel by car on the more beautiful road number 72 through Mount Somers and Geraldine. The only ground transportation in the city itself is a taxi.
A bit of history
Maori lived here before the Europeans, here they built, apparently, their cities and sanctuaries. The harbor of Caroline Bay was excellent for canoeing along the coast. Europeans came here in the 19th century, building a whaling station and naming the bay after the ship that supplied it. The first 120 settlers from Great Britain arrived here in 1859. Over time, the city became the second largest fishing port in the country.
Entertainment and attractions Timaru
Timaru is a medium-sized city by New Zealand standards. It is good for walking and cycling. You can start right from the port: take a look at the huge cranes that played a pivotal role in the development of the whole region; and then look at a number of sculptures displayed on the embankment, starting from the scary “Face of the World”.
Timaru (more precisely, in the suburbs of Temuka) was born Richard Pierce, an aviation pioneer who is believed to have taken to the air on a prototype aircraft of his own design six months before the Wright brothers.
Timaru’s historic architecture is typical of provincial New Zealand in the early 20th century. Many of the buildings on Stafford Street show strong Edwardian influences. The building of the land committee, built in 1870 from large blocks of local bluish sandstone on George Street, is worth attention. Also of interest are the Royal Arcade (between Stafford Street and Sophia Street), the council building (George Street), the old customs house with a portico supported by antique columns (Stratellan Street), St. Mary’s Church (Church Street) and a brutal building Warren and Mahone County Libraries (Sophia Street).
In addition, walking around the city, you can stumble upon several old brick flour mills – for example, Evans Atlas (Station Street), Belford (North Street, but looks better from Heaton Street), Couplands (High Street) and Timapu Milling (Mill Street). Many of these structures are so old that they are meant to be demolished so as not to fall apart during an earthquake, so it’s worth taking a look at them.
Generally speaking, Timaru is not an earthquake-prone area compared to the rest of New Zealand. Its location and soil type also play a role.
The two main churches of the city are completely different. St. Mary’s Anglican Church is an example of the English Gothic Revival. And the Catholic Basilica of the Sacred Heart (it stands a little further along Craigie Avenue) is a completely different matter. It is an impressive rather massive Romanesque cathedral with two symmetrical façade towers. From the outside, the church, built in 1911, looks striking thanks to the contrasting red and white bricks, as well as the copper dome that has become green over time. Inside, you can see beautiful stained-glass windows and an altar worthy of attention, made of different types of stone.
3 things to do in Timaru:
- Have fun at the new CBay Aquatic Center with waterslides, steam rooms, spa, sauna and fitness.
- Take a photo with the bronze captain Kane and learn the story of his life. A bearded captain sits on a box near the tourist information center, holding a spyglass on his knees.
- Go to Pleasant Point and in the local museum look at the only rail car preserved in the world.
Caroline Bay is the gem of the mid-south of Canterbury County. A safe swimming beach and a park complex are located in the heart of Timaru. It is also worth leaving the piazza to the Trevor Griffiths rose garden, Timaru’s pride – admission is free. It is located almost on the very shore of the bay, which provides visitors with excellent views – in the event that, of course, they can escape from the contemplation of 1200 roses, a pergola, a pond, a fountain and other riches of the park. Opened in 2001, the garden has at least one specimen of every major rose varietal group from around the world. The flower grower, after whom the park was named, owned the third largest collection of roses in the world (then it consisted of 600 plants), and another 600 new roses were donated to the garden by the English flower grower D. Austin.
The Eygentai Art Gallery occupies a building with a tiled roof, donated to the city by the Grant family. The gallery has both permanent and temporary exhibitions of art from New Zealand, Oceania, Asia and Europe from the 16th century to the present day. And the territory adjacent to it with a sculptural garden is always open for free visits. In the interesting gallery of York Street, which occupies the old cottage of the first settlers, you can not only admire the most bizarre works of contemporary artists – paintings and sculptures, but also buy something (for a high price or quite the opposite).
According to some sources, the name of the gallery “Aygentai” is just the Scottish-Gaelic pronunciation of the words egg and tie, that is, “an egg and a tie.”
The South Canterbury Museum, on Perth Street, occupies an interesting hexagonal building. Perhaps this is not the Louvre, but the museum definitely has its own character. It gives a good idea of Timaru’s history and Richard Pierce’s flight. And its visit is also free, although donations are welcome. Timaru also has a rock art center called Te Anna Ngai Tahu, where you can learn more about the culture of Ngai Tahu and the deciphering of Maori drawings.
The Timaru Botanical Garden invites you to take a walk in a pleasant, peaceful garden and feed the ducks with bread crusts. Free entry.
Popular hotels in Timaru
Caroline’s Bay Carnival takes place annually, opening on Boxing Day (December 26) and lasting until mid-January. This tradition was founded back in 1910. Everyone, from young to old, gathers here to attend races, games and concerts. Critics say that the fun here is provincial and uninteresting, but their opponents call it “retrostyle”.
At the end of November, when everything begins to bloom, the city hosts a rose festival. The private gardens are open to the public all week, the windows are decorated and there is live music on Saturday, market day.
A small farmer’s market is open on Stratellan Street on Saturdays from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. There are many good local products here, including organic ones.
Geraldine is a pretty village 35 km from Timaru, perched at the foot of gentle hills and bisected by the calm river Vaii. Its main street is lined with untouched old trees and lined with ancient buildings; there are always a lot of walkers – both locals and guests. Not far from Geraldine is Peel Forest, a small village, an oasis of beauty and peace in the middle of a virgin old forest. This is a popular area for all kinds of outdoor activities.
And 20 km from Timaru, Pleasant Point is the perfect place to explore Maori rock art, sample products from an award-winning vineyard, or even see the City Museum and the railroad, complete with restored steam locomotives and a Ford Model T railcar— the last one left in the world.