Hotels in Timaru (South Island, New Zealand)
Hotels in Timaru
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Passing Time in Timaru
Situated on the Pacific Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, this charming Canterbury town offers a place to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life. With large area of parkland and beautiful weather, you’ll have no excuse for spending time indoors. Golfers will delight in the many courses in and around the vicinity, while animal lovers will be in awe of the adorable blue penguins that live off Marine Parade. In the winter, you can also take day trips to several local ski areas. Save the rainy days for exploring the town’s magnificent art galleries and history museums, or shopping along Strafford Street, and you won’t waste a day of your holiday.
Endless Summers of Caroline Bay
No visit to Timaru is complete without spending an entire day Caroline Bay Park. If the weather permits, you should also bring your swimming suit to enjoy the beach as well. The park is located close to the city centre, with many hotels situated all around the park perimeter. Caroline Bay Park is a family-friendly recreational area that is equally popular with adults as it is with children, and provides endless sources of entertainment. You can find a mini-golf course, paddling pool, roller skating rink, and more within the park. Children especially love the many playgrounds, the maze, and the mini-railway. Upon exploring further, you’ll find a few other surprises that are not found in most city parks. The walk-in aviary, housed in a clear geodesic dome, is considered a must-do by previous visitors, and boasts a large variety of exotic birds.
Head to the Marine Parade after sunset, and you can spot the smallest blue penguins in the world. The Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden is, also, a major highlight of Timaru on its own. It features a spectacular collection of heritage roses collected by a world-famous rosarian, and hosts an annual Festival of Roses around November. If you’re visiting Timaru in its summer season, specifically around the Christmas and New Year holidays, you’ll likely run into the Caroline Bay Summer Carnival. The carnival features many exciting fairground-style rides, live performances, competitions, and outdoor games. It’s an event that kids of all ages can enjoy.
Uncovering History and Art
Timaru has several renowned art galleries, and is home to the respected South Canterbury Museum. For days when you want to take it easy after all the outdoor activities, feel free to indulge your mind with marvellous culture. The South Canterbury Museum should be your first stop, as it’ll introduce you to the natural history and regional heritage of the Canterbury region. It’s an excellent chance to learn all about Maori history, and view incredible photographic collections from more recent historical events. In addition to many permanent exhibits, this museum also features a wing of changing displays, so there is something new to see with every visit. The Aigantighe Art Gallery is also a highly-recommended stop. It was opened in 1956, this gallery has since grown its collection extensively to include both local and international art, dating all the way from the 16th century to modern day. Timaru has many other galleries as well. Most hotel concierges will give you several recommendations, and point you in the right direction based on your interests. However, keep in mind when planning your visit that most museums and galleries are closed on Mondays.
Another must-visit hot spot for art and culture is the Te Ana Maori Rock Art Centre, which is home to an extensive collection of ancient Maori art. This museum-meets-gallery is known for its immersive tours and interactive exhibitions. You’ll hear real tribal tales from genuine Maori guides, and not only learn about the culture but experience it as well. If you wish to book a tour to an actual rock art site, you must book it at least a day in advance. Keep in mind that these tours are seasonal and/or upon arrangement only. In addition to historic rock art, this centre is also home to various art pieces by Ngai Tahu artists, many of which are inspired by the works of their ancestors. These pieces are available for purchase, with proceeds going to support the tribe. The Te Ana Maori Rock Art Centre is also a great source for purchase of certified New Zealand Greenstone.
Hotels in Timaru
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