Air NZ's top 10 picks for Timaru

From roses to rock climbing, Timaru offers visitors a surprising array of attractions in South Canterbury.

The local climate is particularly suited to growing roses and prize blooms draw rose lovers to the town every November for the annual Festival of Roses.

The city’s Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden is planted with some 1200 different varieties of rose and the town even has its own special beauty , the bright red ‘Trumpeter’ named in honour of Louis Armstrong.

About 15 kilometres from its glorious gardens, the city’s intriguingly named Mt Horrible draws as much praise as the roses from a very different quarter.

Rock climbers rate the rocky crag as anything but horrible as they take on its 30 odd routes. Roses and rock climbing aside, Timaru has plenty of other attractions on offer.

Try these top 10:

  • Caroline Bay – with beach boardwalks, picnic spots and playgrounds this sandy beach is popular with locals and visitors alike. Watch out for the century old summer Caroline Bay carnival

  • South Canterbury Museum – a recap of the region’s history and natural heritage

  • Te Ana Ngai Tahu Rock Art Centre – discover the stories of Maori rock art and the Ngai Tahu culture in this newly opened venture

  • Landing Services Building – Built in the 1870s this blue stone building is the only structure that remains from the various landing services that operated before the artificial harbour was built. The services used small boats to carry cargo from the large shipping vessels which had to anchor further out to sea

  • Mountain biking and cycling – the area has a range of cycling routes in the city and through the back country

  • Walking and hiking – the region has everything from short to multi-day hikes, from coastal to sub alpine terrain

  • Rafting and kayaking – the south Canterbury rivers are a haven for rafting and kayaking including what is regarded as some of the best white water in the country on the famous Rangitata River

  • Golf – the countryside is dotted with charming and welcoming country clubs

  • Skiing – there are several club fields within reach of Timaru

  • Hunting – hunt for deer, alpine chamois or tahr, wallaby, wild pig, rabbits and hare in the back country.

Air New Zealand flies between Timaru and Wellington connecting it with 25 destinations on the domestic network. For information and to book flights to Timaru, visit

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