• The Timaru Botanic Gardens are a wonderful, peaceful space to relax and play in.
  • Spending time in nature is great for our mental and physical health and kids who play in nature thrive.
  • We can see plants from all over the world. We can learn the importance of plant conservation and identification.
  • Gardens also give wildlife and insects a home, they spread pollen and seeds.
  • We are lucky we can visit a garden that is over 150yrs old whenever we like for free.

This is a map of Timaru and the Timaru Botanic Gardens from 1875. Just one pond existed then. The gardens were established in 1864 making it one of the oldest botanic gardens in New Zealand.

TimaruTownMap BotanicGarden 3000x96 1807136 Web

  1. Timaru Botanic Gardens were established in 1864, making it one of the oldest Botanic Gardens in New Zealand.
  2. The Band Rotunda, opened in 1912, was a gift to celebrate the coronation of King George V the preceding year.
  3. The Interpretive Centre was previously a tea kiosk, windows were added later.
  4. During the depression (early 1930s) the council reduced wages and expenditure. Unemployed men were engaged for manual work in, including the digging by hand of improvements to the two duck ponds.
  5. Between 1936 and 1939, 20,000 daffodil bulbs were donated to the gardens.
  6. In 1940, pupils of South School planted 60 trees along the Domain Avenue frontage of the gardens.
  7. A Dawn Redwood was believed to have been extinct for 2 million years until 1941 when 100 trees were discovered in China. Seed from that stand was successfully sent and a resulting tree thrives in the Gardens today.
  8. Deer living within the gardens escaped the grounds, caused damage and endangered staff resulting in them “being destroyed” in 1945.
  9. A Carob tree was planted in 1946 beside the Gloucester Gates. These trees produce seeds that in ancient times were used as weights and formed the basis of the carat weight system used by jewellers today. It is also used as a substitute for chocolate.
  10. A Totara tree was planted near the band rotunda as part of the celebrations of Timaru being declared a city in 1948.
  11. In 1960, The Queen Victoria Garden Fountain, originally located infront of the Timaru District Council Building, was moved to the Gardens to celebrate her jubilee.
  12. The 3pm temperatures on the national news were always low for Timaru due to the weather site being at the Port. After lobbying from locals the news started reporting temperature from a weather station established in these gardens in 1965, giving Timaru the appearance of warming up overnight!
  13. In 1978, the South Canterbury Model Engineering Club built a jetty to launch their model boats.
  14. Established in 1989, Timaru has New Zealand’s largest collection of species roses. Over 60 of the approx. 150 species in existence are present.
  15. In 2005, the Gardens were awarded the Inaugural Heritage Roses Award, noting that the Timaru Species Rose Border was the only public collection of such roses in New Zealand.
  16. In 2006, a major snowstorm (largest since 1946) caused significant damage throughout the Gardens. It flattened many native plants and trees, which split or had limbs broken, including a 60 year old Carob Tree, a Cork Oak and several Gum Trees.
  17. In 2014, a Metrosideros ‘Maungapiko’(a cross between a Pohutakawa and Southern Rata) was planted to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the land being formally gazetted as a public park.
  18. In 2014, the Timaru Botanic Gardens was recognised as a Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust.
  19. Many plaques and special plants located throughout the gardens recognise family reunions, dedications to people and special anniversaries. Such as planting a memorial tree for the late musician John Lennon in 1980, and planting a tree to celebrate 100 years since the first ascent of Mt Cook in 1994.


Source: From waste land to a garden of national significance: Timaru Botanic Gardens 1864-2014. By Keith Bartholomew

The main entrance is in Queen Street near the corner of King Street. To enter you pass through the ornate Gloucester Gates which were opened by the Duke of Gloucester in 1935.

The Timaru Botanic Gardens are located on 19 hectares of land in south Timaru. This land has been used for gardens and recreation since 1864, when the site was first gazetted as a public reserve. In 2014 the Timaru Botanic Gardens was recognised as a Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust. In 1938 land for the Timaru Hospital was subdivided from the Botanic Gardens providing patients and visitors with a lovely environment for rest, recuperation and reflection.

Key features: Graeme Paterson Conservatory and Fernery, Ornamental ponds, Interpretive centre, Aviary, Cenotaph and War Memorial Wall, Anderson Rose Garden, Band rotunda, Children's playground, Species Rose Garden, Native plant collections, Threatened plant collections, Ornamental plantings, Pinetum, Queen Victoria Garden, Many plant collections. The Timaru Botanic Gardens provides some very attractive vistas as well as a year round interest for plant lovers. It is a photographer's delight. A highlight for children is feeding the ducks on a Saturday as by Sunday they are usually too well fed to be interested.

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WuHoo Timaru is a 100% voluntary effort by WuHoo Admins and Creators: Roselyn and Chris Fauth, 0274 18 12 69, PO BOX 779, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

GRAB A COPY FROM COUNCIL FACILITIES: Scavenger Hunt Maps that have been kindly printed by the Timaru District Council are available at the Timaru Information Centre, The Aigantighe Art Gallery, Timaru District Library, Timaru Museum, Council Reception and the Timaru Botanic Gardens Conservitory.

SPONSOR YOUR OWN PRINTING: If you would like copies to hand out at your accommodation, business, group, club, organisation, please contact us. We can email a .pdf file that you can print off yourself, or if you would like to sponsor your own print run, we can help arrange printing with Corporate Print in Timaru.