Timaru District is enjoyed by a population of approximately 46,300 people (2016), with the main population hub in Timaru City, of approximately 27,000. It has been built on rolling hills created from the lava flows of the extinct Mt Horrible volcano, with the result that most of the main streets are undulating, in clear contrast with the flat landscape of the Canterbury Plains to the north.
Timaru boasts an historically beautiful and compact central business district, linked to Caroline Bay recreational area. The city has preserved much of its historic heritage, both in terms of its architecture and through local treasures housed in the excellent local museum. The Aigantighe Art Gallery enjoys a reputation as having one of the best collections of New Zealand and European art to be found in any regional city. Vistas from the central city over the iconic Caroline Bay through rolling hills to the Southern Alps, are breathtaking. The name Timaru is taken from the Maori "Te Maru", meaning "The Place of shelter".
The Timaru urban area is the second largest city in the Canterbury Region, two hours drive south of Christchurch.
Geraldine is located 36 kilometres north west of Timaru with a population of approximately 2300. Geraldine has a country village atmosphere, and offers great cafes and boutique shopping. The town has built its reputation as a centre of arts and crafts and many creative people have moved to Geraldine from around New Zealand and from offshore. Geraldine has friendly, welcoming locals, and access to great jobs, schools and amenities. Geraldine has friendly, welcoming locals, and access to great jobs, schools and amenities. Find out more about Geraldine.
Temuka township is situated 19 kilometres north of Timaru, on State Highway 1, with a population of 4000 people. It functions as a service town for the surrounding rural area and is famous for producing the iconic Temuka Pottery. Rich with local history, the small town of Temuka was once home to Richard Pearse - the man who raced the Wright Brothers to become the first man to fly. The name Te umu kaha (original spelling) means long-lasting ovens, from the earth ovens that Māori people used to cook the plentifully-growing cabbage trees.
Temuka township, winter morning
Pleasant Point is situated 19km north-west of Timaru, on State Highway 8, and has a population of 1300. The small township has recreational facilities to suit all, several stores and some enterprising industries. Pleasant Point is known for its historic steam train at the heritage railway, the Pleasant Point Museum and Railway. The railway operates steam locomotives and one of only two Model T Ford railcar replicas in the world. It attracts about 10,000 people a year. Pleasant Point is also the original home of the iconic South Canterbury treat, the Denheath Custard Square. It is an important service town for the surrounding farming district.
Situated 22 km north of Geraldine, Peel Forest is a small community located alongside the 773 hectare Peel Forest Park forest reserve. The town features a general store and an outdoor recreation facility. It is near the Rangitata River and is in the foothills of the Southern Alps.