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6 Best Things to Do in Temuka

© Pixabay

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

Stevenjgarner on Wikipedia© Stevenjgarner on Wikipedia

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.

brian nz on Flickr© brian nz on Flickr

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

Pixabay © Pixabay

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

Virginia McMillan on Flickr© Virginia McMillan on Flickr

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

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

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

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More Things to Do Near Temuka

That’s it for the best things to do in Temuka. Find more activities for your travels in the 51 Best Things to Do in the South Island.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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