Photo of Timaru

About Timaru

Timaru is a major port town in the Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island, and for many people it’s a great place for a rest break in their road trips between Christchurch and Dunedin. Those who do stop here will be pleased with their decision, it’s location on picturesque, tranquil Caroline Bay offers wonderful sea views in one direction and spectacular snow-capped mountains in the other. This isn’t a particularly touristy town, but there are still some great options on our Guru’s list of the best places to stay in Timaru.

The town has always been known as a sheltered harbour - that’s what the name Timaru means in Maori - but there was no settlement here until a whaling station was set up here in the 1830s. These days the port is still a key resource for the town and the energy of its vast cranes demonstrate the wealth coming in and out of the town.

What Not To Miss

  • The centre of town is small enough to walk around and there’s a lovely central piazza next to the earthquake-proofed council offices and public library.
  • There are also some great late 19th and early 20th Century buildings in Timaru which give it a bit more charm than other provincial centres. The Sacred Heart Basilica in particular is a dramatic sight to behold.
  • Timaru also has one of the South Island’s largest public art galleries with a variety of thought provoking pieces and exhibitions.
  • Stroll around the captivating Timaru Botanic Gardens featuring various native plant species. The gardens even have a playground making it fun for all the family.
  • Learn about the region's rich heritage at the South Canterbury Museum which is full of the region’s historic artifacts. The museum also holds a number of diverse exhibitions.

Our selection of the best places to stay in Timaru allows visitors the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful rural settings around Timaru, whilst being within striking distance of the town.

For a rural escape

  • The Glendeer B&B Lodge is a three room lodge run by the Glendeer Fly Fishing Guides located in between a bevy of beautiful rivers and streams, so it’s an especially good choice for fisher-folk. The lodge has a fully equipped kitchen and they do continental breakfast for guests.

For an apartment or cottage

  • If you'd prefer your own space, for a variety of properties to suit visitors of all needs - visit our online partner Booking.com

Travel Information

  • Fly to Christchurch Airport located 160km (100 miles) from Timaru. The airport provides a large number of both Domestic and International connections.
  • If you want to rent a car, for prices visit our online partner Rentalcars.
  • Best time to visit - the summer months from December to February typically provide the most pleasant weather for exploring the South Island.

Still not sure?


Monthly Weather in Timaru

Best Hotels in Timaru

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

    Fishing  -  Centrally located to over 30 rivers and streams
    Back to Nature
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    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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