Timaru is located high above Caroline Bay – but they have a very practical access to the beach from the city.
From a little square named Piazza – on The Bay Hill - a rather monstruous and not very attractive airy staircase construction leads down over several levels. Those who do not want or cannot walk down can take the lift.
At the bottom you step right into the Trevor Griffith’s Rose Garden, and from there you can make your way either towards Marine Parade or to the Benvenue Cliffs and Maori Park. And in the centre of everything is Caroline Bay.
- Road Trip
Caroline Bay: A Beach just some Steps from the CBD
This is Timaru’s main swimming beach, located right below the city centre, separated from the Harbour by a narrow stretch of land – you could call it mini peninsula – and Marine Parade.
The beach once was a pile of rocks but when moles were extended from the landing service, sand began to fill the area to the north. The artificial harbour had been developed from 1877. But only when the moles were extended the area became safer for ships which had often been wrecked before on their sailing along the cliffs and rocks. So the lovely beach of Caroline Bay which is very busy in summer was just a nice by-product of making the harbour safe.
Like in Auckland and Wellington land was reclaimed from the sea – with the big difference that in Timaru you really see where the land once ended and where the sea began. The city centre (The Terrace) sits right on the cliffs.
The amazing thing is that you just have to walk down several flights of stairs from, let’s say, a café or a shop on the main street, and you are right down at the beach. Really fantastic.
Cycling at Caroline Bay
Cycling in Timaru really is a pleasure. There is not a lot of traffic, and less traffic means: less idiots who accidentally or intentionally kill cyclists ;-)
Plus, the hills are not steep, so you get around fine.
You can ride around Caroline Bay, and from there explore the whole area.
If you bring your bikes on/in your car, park at the Caroline Bay Park (Port Loop Road), and cycle from there.
If you want to hire a bike, there are several places to do so, for example The Cyclery. It is located in 106 Stafford Street - which is Timaru's main business and shopping street. It is just two or three buildings from the Theatre Royal.
Open Mon-Thu 8am-5.30pm; Fri 8am-9pm; Sat 9.30am-12.30pm
Phone (03) 688 8892
St. Mary’s – a Mt. Cook Lily and a great View
St. Mary’s Anglican Church (near the city centre in Church Street) is a perfect example of the English Gothic revival style. It was built of local basalt rock, dressed with white Oamaru stone and roofed with Welsh slate. The building process was extremely long. The foundation stone was laid in 1880 and the nave was finished six years later. But it took until 1909 that the chancel, chapel, vestries and tower were finished.
On the inside you will notice the exquisite carving works at the pulpit, the organ case and the the superb reredos screen behind the altar which shows da Vinci's Last Supper.
Have a close look at the pulpit. You will notice a Mt. Cook Lily. This was the trademark signature of the artist FG Gurnsey. We were lucky to meet a lady who just looked after the church (and wanted to close it...) when we showed up once, so she showed us all those nice details.
The church is open daily from 9.30am to 3.30pm. If you want to climb up the stairs in the tower to enjoy great views of sea and mountains you have to apply for the key at the church office in the hall.
24 Church Street
Tel. (03) 688 8377
Photo 2 shows the whole building.
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
Share a Seat with Captain Cain
The two-storey Landing Services Building in Timaru is the last one of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. It dates back to 1870 and was built of volcanic bluestone and used for storage.
The goods once were transported on small boats which were pulled to the shore by surf cables that were attached to buoys anchored offshore. The cables ran through chocks on the landing craft and first men and later machines pulled the boats along them by hauling on a rope. This was hazardous work, and often goods were drenched.
Today the building - located at the start/end of George Street, is partly a museum with New Zealand's earliest life-boat on display, the Alexandra, from 1864, and it also hosts the Visitor Centre where you get plenty of free brochures and street maps, so you can explore the place on your own. And there is also a restaurant/pub/café where you can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the car-free piazza.
You can also share a seat with Captain Cain whose bronze figure sits on a chest on the square. He was a public figure and symbolised the pioneering spirit that made Timaru. This memorial is to honour his service to the town.
Henry Cain was born in 1816 and went to sea at the age of 13. After 30 years of seafaring he settled in Timaru and opened a general store in 1857. When the town prospered he operated the first landing service. He became a prominent figure in local life and became mayor from 1870 to 1873. He died in 1886 after having been poisoned by his son-in-law.
- Historical Travel
is realy not big...the State Highay 1 runs through the Mainstreet...and there is where all the action happen. good old shopping,banking under the Verandah's, forget the brolli ( umbrella ) you won't get wet, neat eh!
oh...park the car in a side street...is alays packed in the Mainstreet
- Road Trip
at the right time in summer, a wonderful swimming bay. otherwise...little on the coolish site. but..........always lovely and refreshing for a walk. have a look when driving down the Highway 1, stop at Caroline Bay...it is well signed out, so no problem to find it
- Hiking and Walking
great for walking
South Canterbury and the area around Timaru is great for walking or Mountain biking. the Southern Alps close. one wonderful spot is the Peel Forest near Geraldine, around an hour drive from Timaru
- Hiking and Walking
South Canterbury has many rivers, in which a lot of fish live.
you can also go fishing from the warf, which is fun, no promises you'll catch anything. Alex has been fishing for about 3years and only just caught this little thing ....which he had to put back. A lot of the local kids spend their weekends cutting bait and thoughing their lines into the waters of Timaru Harbour.
There are also Fishing tours, proper fly fishing tours around the area... Also Salmon fishing in the Tekapo Area (about an hours drive from Timaru) all can be arranged at the local fish and game shop.
- Family Travel
Timaru is a good base for a ski-ing holiday, About an hours drive to a good learners ski field. Most South canterbury children learn to ski on school ski trips. (the photo is my youngest brother on one such trip)
Fun for all ages, lessons easy to obtain.
Gear can be hired easily... either up the mountain (always best to arrange hireage before leaving) or from the Local Surf shop.
Ski Season is June to about Labour weekend. depending on the weather. Good nearby Ski Feilds are Mt. Dobson and Mt. Hutt ALWAYS check daily snow reports for weather and need for Chains on your car. Bus trips to the mountain are easily booked from Timaru.
- Family Travel
- Skiing and Boarding
The Botanic Gardens are next to Timaru's hospital and have lots of nice flowers to look at and lots of ducks and geese to feed down by the ponds.
Stafford Street is the main street in Timaru and where you'll find most of the shops and places to eat.
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