Timaru New Zealand

General Information

Timaru is located in the South Canterbury area, on the east coast of the South Island , New Zealand . It is located 160kms (2 hour drive south of Christchurch) and 200kms north of Dunedin on the Pacific coast.

Direct flights from Timaru airport regularly connect the Central South Island with New Zealand’s capital Wellington. Located only 8 kilometres from the central business area, the airport is within easy commuting distance of Timaru.

The Port of Timaru is the most centrally located South Island Port with an easy approach channel and a sheltered inner harbour.


Briefly settled as a whaling station about 1838 by the Sydney-based Weller Brothers, Timaru's first resident was whaler Samuel Williams. A large part in the area's pastoral and commercial development was played by George and Robert Rhodes, brothers born Yorkshire, England. They set up the area's first sheep run and freeholded 50 hectares of land on which Timaru's commercial heart is based. Timaru was sparsely populated until 1859 when the English ship, Strathallan, arrived with 120 immigrants.

The townships of Rhodestown and Government town (Proposed by the Government, situated south of North Street ) jealously competed until the areas were incorporated as a borough in 1868. Development of an artificial harbour was begun in 1877, but ships continued to be wrecked in the bay into the next decade. As moles were extended from the landing service, sand began to fill the rocky beach to the north, making it a popular summer resort. In 1876, the first steam train puffed into Timaru's railway station.

Maori Translation of Timaru

The name 'Timaru' comes from Māori 'Te Maru', meaning a 'place of shelter'. Māori canoes used it as a place to rest on long journeys up and down the eastern coastline for many years.
Rangitata meaning ‘lowering clouds’.
Pareora meaning ‘Life-giving or bountiful’.


Attractions and Activities

Timaru is the urban hub of the Central South Island. Vibrant plantings of flowers and trees, and a more people-friendly landscape of paved areas, seating and vantage points from which to enjoy the city’s setting between ocean and alps.

A place where people can enjoy diverse range of activities all year round, whether it is outdoors, culture or simply relaxation, this is the place to visit. Timaru has many garden attractions, 8 walkways, the Art Gallery, and within easy distance to a least five Central South Island ski fields. Whether it's dropping a line from the wharf at Timaru in the hope of hooking a fish, sailing offshore on the sparkling Pacific Ocean, or tramping in nature's bush-clad hills, there's something to interest the whole family in a District which takes pride in its many assets. Timaru has a number of free gardens and parks for you to choose from.


The striking piazza, with its stunning views that stretch from Caroline Bay across to the snow-clad mountains, is complemented by the development of numerous café-bars and restaurants that have taken advantage of this superb setting.


Within the gentle curve of the South Canterbury coastline the Timaru District covers 2,602 square kilometres of diverse landscape. The District's north and south boundaries are naturally defined by two rivers, the Rangitata and the Pareora.

From the beginning Timaru District has been a place of shelter with a temperate climate and soil conditions to suit all types of gardening. Protected from harsh winters and extreme summers at latitude of around 45 degrees south, the regions location is ideal for growing almost everything.


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