What to Do in Temuka: A Classic Kiwi Country Town
Locals flock to Temuka to see a Kiwi town “like they were back in the days”, while international visitors might enjoy a town offering different architecture and small-town charms. Temuka is a town in the Canterbury region just north of Timaru on State Highway 1, so there’s no excuse not to stop while travelling around the South Island. The town boasts fabulous heritage buildings, like the Court House and the Mendelson Barn, as well as traditional farming events that can be seen in action to this day! Find out more with this list of things to do in Temuka.
While you’re here, you might also be interested in the 10 Things to Do in Timaru and 6 Essential Pitstops for Your South Canterbury Road Trip.
1. Visit the Richard William Pearse Monument
Temuka was once the home of the famous pioneering inventor and aviator, Richard Pearse. Locals know him as the man who flew a heavier-than-air machine on the 31 March 1903, before the Wright Brothers in the US. However, the documentary evidence still remains in dispute so he did not receive international public credit for his work. Nevertheless, his achievements are celebrated at this interesting monument just outside of Temuka. Check out New Zealand’s Firsts for more historical firsts.
Location: Main Waitohi Road, 14km (9 miles) west of Temuka
2. Walk or Cycle on the Opihi Walkway
Just south of Temuka is a long walkway in an attractive willow tree and riverside setting. The Opihi Walkway takes approximately three hours to complete one-way and follows the banks of the Opihi River all the way to Pleasant Point. Highlights of the trail include views across pastoral land to the mountains, as well as the Parrs Waterwheel as you approach Pleasant Point. Check out some of the attractions in Pleasant Point with our 5 Fun Things to Do at Pleasant Point.
Location: Arowhenua Road (about 100m/109 yards after turning off the State Highway 1 bridge), 3km (2 miles) south of Temuka.
3. Check Out the Local Museum and Art Gallery
Temuka has plenty of indoor attractions to keep you entertained too. Take a look at the Temuka Museum in the grand Temuka Court House building, which the building is reason alone to stop by, even if the museum isn’t open. The museum is open only on Sundays in summer. Additionally, you might want to pop into some of the small art galleries scattered across the town.
Location: 2 Domain Avenue
4. Enjoy Uncrowded Shopping
Temuka offers a good range of shops in a much less crowded environment than the nearby centre of Timaru. You’ll find most shops on King Street, but most like to make a special trip to Temuka Pottery which has been making ceramics since 1931. You’ll find their dinnerwear in many Kiwi homes!
Location: King Street and Temuka Pottery – 57 Vine Street
5. Swim, Walk, Camp and Play Mini Golf at the Temuka Domain
The Temuka Domain is the largest park in the Timaru area, and definitely a must-do in the town. The domain boasts historical interest, as the early Maori used the domain to travel between the Opihi River mouth and Arowhenua. On top of that, the domain is home to stately trees planted in 1910, which decorates the grounds full of recreational activities. Play mini golf, let the kids loose in the playground or skatepark, wander the colourful gardens or watch the local clubs playing bowls, petanque, tennis, cricket and much more. Plus, can you find the Temuka Shoe Tree?
Location: Domain Avenue
6. Catch a Temuka Saleyards’ Sale Day
See real Kiwi farming in action at the Temuka Salesyards. It’s one of the few remaining of its kind, having sale days once a week. Pop in to watch auctions for sheep, beef, deer, bobby calves and pigs.
Location: 125 Vine Street