Photo of Timaru

About Timaru

A major port town in the South Island’s Canterbury region, Timaru makes for a brilliant break between Christchurch and Dunedin, and has long served as a resting place for Māori travellers along the island’s eastern coast. Perched on picturesque Caroline Bay, Timaru offers sea views in one direction and snow-capped mountains in the other, with a plethora of outdoorsy activities in between. Whether you’re keen to explore a quaint little town or to try your hand at fishing and kayaking, base yourself at one of the best places to stay in Timaru.

A small whaling station from the 1830s, and an important Māori archaeological site for centuries, Timaru is rich in history. Visit the South Canterbury Museum, discover traces of Māori rock art in the Opuha and Opihi river valleys, and peer at the striking 19th- and 20th-century buildings of the town centre. The Sacred Heart Basilica, Timaru Botanic Gardens and Aigantighe Art Gallery are remarkable, and the central piazza is well worth exploring.

Beyond the town’s boundaries, you’ll find rivers and streams for fishing, kayaking and rafting, as well as trails for cycling, hiking and horse riding. Heritage buffs will love the charming town of Geraldine, whilst active sailors and water sports enthusiasts will enjoy making the most of the coast. Retreat to one of the best places to stay in Timaru for hearty breakfasts and a tranquil, laid-back atmosphere.

The Best Places to Stay in Timaru

For Boutique Chic

  • The Vicarage Geraldine has recently undergone an extensive restoration, and now offers six chic contemporary rooms. Shared sitting rooms and kitchenettes create a convivial vibe, and there's excellent food at Barker's Foodstore & Eatery next door — owned by the same family who renovated the Vicarage. For couples, groups, or families with teenagers. North of Timaru.

For Keen Anglers

  • Glendeer B&B Lodge promises three inviting guest rooms close to more than 30 rivers and streams, offering world-class fishing. Run by Glendeer Fly Fishing Guides, the lodge is ideal for anglers who will appreciate the help of expert guides in a stunning setting. Also good for kayaking, hunting, hiking and birdwatching.


  • If you'd prefer a self-catering option, we suggest that you visit our online partner


  • Fly to Christchurch International Airport and travel 2 hours south to Timaru by bus or car. Alternatively, break up your drive from Christchurch to Dunedin (or vice versa) with a couple of nights in Timaru.
  • New Zealand is famously wonderful for a road trip! Contact our online partner Rentalcars if you would like to hire a car.
  • Travel during the spring or summer (December to April) for the warmest weather. For a quieter trip and great deals, consider visiting in May or October - November.



Monthly Weather in Timaru

Best Hotels in Timaru

  • Glendeer B&B Lodge Timaru 3 rooms from £92

    Fishing  -  Exceptional fly-fishing in over 30 clear headwater rivers, streams, spring creeks with an expert guide
    Trekking  -  Hike along the South Beach Coastal Track or through the surrounding hills
    Back to Nature  -  An off-the-beaten track escape for adventurers and nature enthusiasts
    Kayaking  -  Thrill-seekers will adore kayaking on pristine rivers or out at sea
    GardenParkingNo pets

    Run by Glendeer Fly Fishing Guides, this lodge has three ensuite rooms with underfloor heating, unlimited wifi and continental breakfast included in the stay. Use of fully equipped kitchen. Centrally located close to over 30 rivers and streams, making it ideal for the avid angler. See More

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  • The Vicarage Geraldine Timaru (Geraldine) 6 rooms from £140

    Great walks  -  Take a Geraldine Walking Tour, or explore Talbot Forest, Peel Forest or Pioneer Park and follow scenic paths on foot
    Local exploring  -  Centrally located in Geraldine, close to family-owned Barker’s Foodstore & Eatery and various attractions
    Groups  -  Perfect for relaxed groups trips to charming Geraldine, the Vicarage can be book on an exclusive basis
    Golf  -  Play at round at the 18-hole Denfield Course, just a short drive away
    Air conditioningGardenDisabled accessParkingNo pets

    Recently restored by a family who have lived in the area for generations, this historic vicarage in Geraldine has six beautifully appointed contemporary rooms. Shared sitting rooms & kitchenettes encourage a convivial vibe, and there's excellent fare at Barker's Foodstore & Eatery next door. See More

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