Canterbury’s second largest city is surrounded by gently sloping hills, which enfold the beautiful crescent of Caroline Bay.

Timaru lies halfway between Christchurch and Dunedin, marking the southern limit of the broad gravel plains that produce the bulk of New Zealand’s cereal and grain crops. The name Timaru means ‘The Place of Shelter’ in Maori, as it was one of the few havens for sea going canoes on this coast. A whaling station was set up in 1839 and the bay was called ‘Caroline’ after the ship that picked up the whale oil.

Timaru – Caroline BayCaroline Bay is Timaru’s main attraction, drawing many visitors to its safe swimming beach and popular annual carnival, which provides non-stop entertainment each Christmas. The Bay has many diversions including a maze, mini golf, gardens, aviary, landscaped Piazza and wonderful walks. The Bay Hill and Piazza offer stunning views of the distant Southern Alps and Caroline Bay. An interesting walk heads north past the Benvenue Cliffs to the Dashing Rocks. A bright, vibrant social scene is provided by the restaurants and cafès that link the beach to the main shopping area. Centennial Park and the Botanic Gardens are well worth a visit. Take a stroll along The Shakespeare Walk through the gardens and view the Griffith Rose Garden, which is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

TimaruThe city buildings will be of interest to architectural enthusiasts. Grand examples of Victorian buildings constructed in local volcanic bluestone, include the Landing Service Building, which was used to store cargo in the days before the port was built. Other impressive buildings are the Basilica and the Theatre Royal, which was once renowned as the most ornate building in New Zealand. The Aigantighe Art Gallery has over 900 works of art including famous New Zealand artists such as McCahon, Hodgkins and Goldie. The excellent Museum houses moa-hunter artefacts and examples of scrimshaw (etchings on whalebone) and other whaling relics. There is also a reconstruction of the 1903 aircraft used by aviation pioneer Richard Pearse in his first attempt at powered flight.

This popular seaside resort and city, has much of interest to offer the visitor.