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BUG New Zealand travel guidebook

Destination guides > Pacific Islands > New Zealand > Canterbury > Timaru

Timaru

Timaru is a port city about 160km south of Christchurch and many travellers stop here on their way along the coast. While not a major tourist destination, Timaru does offer a nice seaside location and a walkable historic centre. The few attractions can be seen in a day or two, but there are several annual festivals including the Festival of Roses and the Caroline Bay Carnival. Worthwhile activities here range from a free brewery tour to New Zealand’s third largest public art collection and the sandy beach at Caroline Bay.

Practical information

Timaru i-SITE Visitor Centre

2 George Street, Timaru
Tel (03) 688 6163
Website www.southisland.org.nz/timaru.asp
Open Mon-Fri 8.30am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-3pm

Coming & going

Atomic Shuttles (tel (03) 349 0697), InterCity Coachlines (tel (03) 365 1113), Nakedbus.com and Southern Link K Bus (tel (03) 358 8355 or 0508 458 835) stop at the old train station on Station Street in Timaru en route between Christchurch and Dunedin.

Local transport

Timaru has a good local bus service (tel (03) 688 5544) with city bus routes and regional services to Twizel and Lake Tekapo.


A single fare in the city costs $1.15 including free transfers and an all day pass costs $2.30. Buses do not run on Sundays.

Hostel accommodation

1873 Wanderer Backpackers

24 Evans Street, Timaru
Tel (03) 688 8795

Old Bank Backpackers

232 Stafford Street, Timaru
Tel (03) 686 9098

Eating & drinking

The city centre has streets lined with cheap cafés and takeaway spots. Sopheze Coffee Lounge (190 Stafford Street, Timaru) is a great place to chill out with a good espresso. For a good atmosphere, the Purple Lizard Café (332 Stafford Street, Timaru) is a great spot for lunch. For cheaper fare, head to May’s Bakery (292 Stafford Street, Timaru) for award-winning pies at low prices. There are inexpensive Asian restaurants everywhere, most notably along Evans and Stafford Streets.


Timaru’s supermarkets include Countdown (9 Browne Street, Timaru), Pak’n Save (Evans Street, Timaru) and Woolworths (Church Street, Timaru).

Sightseeing, museums & tourist attractions

DB Mainland Brewery

New Zealand’s best value brewery tour lets you take a look at the brewing process at DB’s Mainland Brewery on Sheffield Street

Sheffield Street, Washdyke
Tel (03) 688 2059
Website www.dbgroup.co.nz
Admission free
Tours Mon-Fri 10.30am

South Canterbury Museum

This museum features exhibits relating to the region’s nature and history with displays on local Māori history, whaling and European settlement.

Perth Street, Timaru
Tel (03) 687 7212
Website www.timaru.govt.nz/museum/
Admission free
Open Tue-Fri 10am-4.30pm, Sat-Sun 1.30pm-4.30pm


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