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Thread: Timaru - South Canterbury - East Coast South Island

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    New Zealand

    Default Timaru - South Canterbury - East Coast South Island

    Timaru has been good to me, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on Timaru for anyone interested.

    I lived 5yrs in Hokitika, Westland, West Coast South Island. They call it "The Coast", and themselves "Coasters"
    A beautiful part of the world. Spectacular and a great experience.
    While I was looking for full-time work I shoveled blacksand for gold on Hokitika beach, worked at Silverfern abattoir, forestry pruning and voluntary work for the Lions Club. All too physcial for this old boy so I was relieved to get a job with Inland Revenue.
    I moved just before the Rugby World Cup NZ hosted. I wore my Wallabies jersey to the Railway Station Hotel to watch each game. I copped a lot of harassment for this. They didn't seem to care about the POMS and other Europeans wearing their jerseys, but my wallabies jersey was too much for them to let slide. lol
    Most of the harassment was meant in fun but went way too far and on several occassions it became a physical fight. I stood up for myself and although you might find it hard to believe it, this Aussie did not cause the trouble. I was very respectful as the 'new guy' and took it all on the chin until push came to shove. I think it saved my life that Australia came second to The All Blacks ! Great outcome. I earned my stripes and post world cup my adversaries apologised and said they did appreciate that I wore my jersey with pride and didn't back down. They said you have to stand up for yourself to earn their respect on "The Coast". A bit Wild West culture and I only had trouble from time to time over the 5yrs. I'm sure if you go to Hokitika and ask after me, they called me "OZ" (of course), they won't have forgotten us. You know, I do have fond memories of The Coast but 5yrs was enough.
    The hardest part for this Australian was the rain. I have never, and not likely to every again see, this amount of rain again in my life. One way I describe it... When deciding to mow the lawn (which is every week because grass grows very quickly there, thus all the dairy) it's not about if there are puddles, but the depth of the puddles. 50kms South West up in the Southern Alps is a place called Cropp River. Google it ! It receives 12 meters of rain on average each year. One of the wettest places in the southern hemisphere.
    I used to fly out of Hokitika a lot for work meetings. A small aircraft, one seat on each side of the aisle flying over the Southern Alps. Fantastic experience. Funny though, I nearly never got home on the planned flight back from Christchurch due to weather or aircraft mechanical issues. I always had to plan to stay an extra night or two in Christchurch, which was also fun. There was lots of secret discoveries to be made in Christchurch, little hidden bars and cafes post earthquake. Now the rebuild has progressed nearly everything is in new buildings but there's still some hidden gems to stumble upon.

    We then moved to Timaru. Yep, I'm finally getting to it. lol
    You know what? I could easily settle down in Timaru to live out the rest of my life. I really could. It's just that I'm a surfer boy from Australia and I've promised my sons (who are Australians, now 11yrs and 10yrs) that I would take back to Australia to experience what I know and love, the beaches.
    I describe Timaru as having all the conveniences of a big city without the bullshit of a big city. Having lived on The Coast where I had to travel 50kms to Greymouth simply to shop at The Warehouse and very limited options (And expensive). Timaru has it all ! And it's all within 5kms. Only just big enough to warrant driving. No traffic jams although the 'tail gating' annoys me. They're still in a bit of a hurry for some reason which is very different to The Coast where no-one's in a hurry ever.
    People are friendly in Timaru. I haven't had any aggression or trouble compared to Westland. They look you in the eyes and say G'day as you walk down the street. I like them.
    Only 2hrs south of Christchurch it's not a big trip to the big smoke if you need to fly internationally or access things only a city might have. Timaru does have daily flights to Wellington which was convenient for work trips to the north island. Sadly the 2hr drive to Christchurch would have to be THE most boring 2hr drive on the South Island, but it's an easy drive. Any other drive on the south island is like being on holidays, it's a beautiful place.
    Timaru weather is mild and really very dry. At the lower end of the Canterbury Bight it seems to miss a lot of weather. Just 1hr north in Ashburton or 1hr south in Oamaru the weather is more variable. Oamaru is another beautiful place. Ashburton... meh.
    Timaru has great employment opportunities and cost of living is very reasonable.
    Caroline Bay is our favourite spot. Never busy, beautiful little protected beach. Of course we'd like some surf but for the boys the waves are big enough to ride their body boards. SAFE ! no fear of them swimming. very gentle slope only getting deeper very very slowly. No rips ever. I wouldn't let them even close to the water on The Coast for the dangers over there.
    Lots of beautiful parks in Timaru. It's a beautiful town.

    So there, I highly recommend Timaru.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    An interesting read - thank you!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    North Canterbury, New Zealand


    We pass through Timaru from time to time (daughters at uni in Dunedin) and have always like the 'look and feel' of the place. We often stop for lunch there. I can think of much worse places to end up.

    Agreed, the drive to Chch is the most boring in NZ. We used to play eye-spy with the kids when they were young but after you'd done road, tracks, trees, sky and cows the game came to an end!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    New Zealand


    I lived in Timaru and really enjoyed it! It would be a great place to retire or work!

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