Timaru and the Stunning Caroline Bay

Timaru has much to offer. We have highlighted some of our favourite activities. However, there are still plenty more things to see and do.

Timaru Sunrise
Timaru Sunrise

Caroline Bay

Caroline Bay itself is located between the Pacific Ocean and the Timaru Central Business District. To walk from the beach to the business district you can either walk up the staircase or use the lift. This makes Caroline Bay very accessible for those with accessibility issues.

Caroline Bay
Caroline Bay

Also found at Caroline Bay are the Rose Gardens, playground with BBQs, as well as sculptures and murals. Walking around Caroline Bay is also an educational experience.

Caroline Bay
Caroline Bay

For those who have kids or are young at heart, be sure to visit the Caroline Bay Carnival that is run through the summer months. Some activities, like the mini train, operates throughout the year on selected days.

Blackett’s Lighthouse

Blackett’s Lighthouse is located on the cliff overlooking Caroline Bay. It is accessible from Benvenue Ave or walk up from Caroline Bay. Built in 1877-8 the lighthouse was originally located in Le Cren’s Terrace. In 1980 it was re-located to Maori Park before arriving at its current home in 2010.

The lighthouse is one of only a small number of remaining timber lighthouses in New Zealand. Click here to read more about Blackett’s Lighthouse.

Blackett's Lighthouse at Sunrise
Blackett’s Lighthouse at Sunrise

Sacred Heart Basilica

Built in 1909, the Sacred Heart Basilica is described as ‘… inspiring architecture that lifts the soul in the worship of God …’. We were unable to enter the Basilica. However if you visit their website, there is a video of the interior. It was opened and consecrated in October 1911. It is truly a magnificent piece of architecture and history.

Sacred Heart Basilica
Sacred Heart Basilica

Timaru Botanic Gardens

Walking around public gardens are one of our favourite things to do. And the bonus is that they have free admission. There is so much to see and do at these gardens. Though aim to visit when the sun is shining. Not only are there many different types of gardens, there is also an aviary, a pond where you can feed the ducks as well as a conservatory and fernery. Along one side of the gardens you’ll find the Cenotaph War Memorial and SC War Memorial Wall.

Timaru Botanic Gardens in Autumn
Timaru Botanic Gardens in Autumn

For an excellent map of the garden, click here. The map also shows the location of the cemetery so you can combine two walking activities into one.

Duck Pond at Timaru Botanic Gardens
Duck Pond at Timaru Botanic Gardens

Timaru Cemetery

The first burial was in October 1860 with the first interment May 1961. One of Timaru’s earliest residents, Captain Henry Cain was buried at Timaru Cemetery in 1886. Captain Cain’s son-in-law murdered him with poison. Captain Cain was a prominent businessman and a significant public figure. A copper and fibreglass sculpture of Captain Cain is located outside the i-Site in Timaru.

Captain Henry Cain
Captain Henry Cain

Interestingly, Alan McKenzie has produced several booklets about the cemetery so these would be very interesting to read. It’s sad to see his comment that some parents buried their stillborn children under footpaths so they didn’t have to pay the cemetery fees.

Timaru Cemetery in the fog
Timaru Cemetery in the fog

When we arrived at the cemetery it was a beautiful day. However, within minutes the fog had rolled in off the sea. As it turns out, this happens quite often. We experienced this when we were motel minding in Timaru for a couple of months. Sometimes the fog went as quickly as it arrived – other times it stayed around for several hours.

Timaru Cemetery in the fog
Timaru Cemetery in the fog

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