The view of Lake Tekapo from above.

Discover the best place to eat, drink, shop and explore in Geraldine, Lake Tekapo and Timaru with our guide.

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12 Hours in Timaru

Mural painted on side of building in Timaru.
Make the most of your flying visit to Timaru with our 12 hour guide, which will have you sipping the best coffee, nipping into intriguing boutiques and galleries, learning about the ancient practice of Māori rock art and filling up on the best food in town.

The Yellow Door Café

The Yellow Door exterior in Timaru.
Place South Canterbury Timaru
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One of the latest additions to Timaru’s café scene, The Yellow Door at the high end of Stafford Street is hard to miss.

The Running Duck

The kitschy interior of The Running Duck cafe in Geraldine.
Place South Canterbury Geraldine
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Stepping inside the Running Duck café in the heart of Geraldine is like stepping inside a proper kiwi bach, albeit with great coffee on tap.

Saikou

Red leather bench seating at Saikou, Timaru.
Place South Canterbury Timaru
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If you find yourself craving a night of teppanyaki and whisky while in Timaru, point your nose to Saikou.

Hector Black's

Four people sitting on couches around in a circle inside the bar at Hector Black's in Timaru.
Place South Canterbury Timaru
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If a unique, cosy atmosphere, regular live music and a great selection of beverages sound like your kind of bar, then Hector Black’s is a must-visit.

Bay Hill Books

Close up of modern fiction for sale at Bay Hills Books in Timaru, New Zealand.
Place South Canterbury Timaru

There is something quite special about stumbling across small, independent booksellers. Bay Hill Books, in the heart of Timaru, is most definitely one of those petite treasure troves for literature lovers.

Dead2b

Towels, bags, flowers and homewares on display.
Place South Canterbury Timaru

A must-visit for anyone wanting to create a calm and considered home.

Hydro Café & Twizel Bookshop

A door to the entrance to the bookshop from Hydro Café in Twizel.
Place South Canterbury Twizel
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Hydro Café has been keeping the good people of Twizel well hydrated for nearly a decade.

Arthur Street Kitchen

Couple sat at a table drinking coffee at Arthur St Kitchen, South Canterbury.
Place South Canterbury Timaru
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Renowned for its delicious breakfast and lunch menu, plus house-made baking and hearty salads, Arthur Street Kitchen takes pride in producing as much as possible on their premises.

Astro Café

People looking out to the mountain views at Astro Cafe, Tekapo.
Place South Canterbury Lake Tekapo
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Quite possibly the most scenic spot for a flat white in Aotearoa, Astro Café is a coffee shop experience not to be missed when visiting the Mackenzie region.

Barker's Foodstore & Eatery

Barker's syrup bottles on display at Barker's Foodstore and Eatery, Geraldine.
Place South Canterbury Geraldine
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Barker’s Foodstore & Eatery sits in a stunning setting on the banks of the Waihi River in the heart of Geraldine.

Humdinger Gin Distillery

Bottles of gin lined up in a row waiting for stickers to be placed on them at Humdinger Gin Distillery in Geraldine.
Place South Canterbury Geraldine

 There’s a sense of discovery when walking down the alleyway off the main street in Geraldine to a former garage workshop, which has been refurbished to house the...

Farm Barn Café

Flowers and cake on table at Farm Barn Café in Fairlie.
Place South Canterbury Fairlie
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If there was ever a perfect stop to make when on the road with the family, Farm Barn Café on top of Mount Michael in the heart of Mackenzie District is it.

5 Neat Mackenzie Activities and Where to Treat Yourself Afterwards

Aoraki Mt Cook on a sunny day.
The scenic Mackenzie Region is filled with a multitude of activities and experiences. The stunning landscapes of vast plains, snow covered mountaintops and glimmering turquoise lakes create a picture perfect backdrop to these outdoor activities; all which are complemented by the region's ever growing quality hospitality offerings.

Carnegie's Restaurant & Bar

Waitress serving a table at Carnegie's Restaurant and Bar, Fairlie.
Place South Canterbury Fairlie
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Set in a stunning, historical building that was originally built as a Carnegie library in the early 1900s, Carnegie's Restaurant & Bar is a true Mackenzie destination in...

Ministry of Works

Interior view of table at Ministry of Works, Twizel.
Place South Canterbury Twizel
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Ministry of Works is the social go-to for both Twizel residents and visitors alike.

Mint Folk & Co

A close up of a flat white on a table at Mint Folk and Co in Twizel.
Place South Canterbury Twizel
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Perhaps the most visually appealing cafe in the Mackenzie region, Mint Folk & Co is all about great food, great aesthetic and great service.

Ship Hop Brewing

Taster pots at Ship Hop Brewing, Timaru.
Place South Canterbury Timaru
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Timaru’s only microbrewery, Ship Hop Brewing, is a gem awaiting discovery.

A Beginner’s Guide to Matariki Stargazing: Where To Look for Whetū in Aotearoa

An image of night sky filled with stars at Dark Sky Project.
Matariki marks the arrival of a treasured cluster of whetū (stars) in the winter sky.

York St Gallery of Fine Art

Art on the walls and sculptures on the floor inside York Street Gallery in Timaru.
Place South Canterbury Timaru

Creatives of Canterbury rejoice—York Street Gallery of Fine Art in Timaru is here to satisfy your art cravings.

Fairlie Bakehouse

Close up of a woman holding a paper bag with 'Fairlie Bakehouse' written on it.
Place South Canterbury Fairlie
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What began as a tiny family business with a team of four thirteen years ago, has grown to be one of the best known and most awarded pie-shops in the country – Fairlie Bakehouse.

The Greedy Cow Café

A close up of loaded toast on a table in the sunshine at the Greedy Cow in Tekapo.
Place South Canterbury Lake Tekapo
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This sunny corner store café in the heart of Lake Tekapo is a must stop whether you are just passing through or in town for longer.

The Little Red Fox

The inside of The Red Little Fox store in Fairlie.
Place South Canterbury Fairlie

The Little Red Fox is a contemporary fashion store located in the Mackenzie country town of Fairlie. Housed in a high ceilinged, stone-clad building in the centre of town, natural tones and raw wood beams set the scene for a pleasurable browsing experience.

The Oxford

A close up of the halloumi salad at The Oxford restaurant in Timaru.
Place South Canterbury Timaru
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Ask a Timaru local where to eat in town and chances are they will point you in the direction of The Oxford.

Geraldine Cheese Company

Geraldine Cheese Company exterior.
Place South Canterbury Geraldine

Geraldine Cheese Co. handcrafts small-batch cheese varieties in its petite factory in the heart of Geraldine town centre.

77 Art + Living

Art on display on a brick wall and a colourful chair on a wooden floor at 77 Art + Living in Fairlie.
Place South Canterbury Fairlie

Fairlie might not be the first town that comes to mind when thinking of wonderful independent galleries across the motu, but 77 Art + Living is here to change that.

Petronella's Gallery and Bookstore

Woman looking at books at Petronella's Gallery and Bookstore, Tekapo.
Place South Canterbury Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo’s only independent bookstore, Petronella’s Gallery and Bookstore, offers a sanctuary for both book and art lovers.

Café Verde

A covered verandah outside Cafe Verde, surrounded by greenery in Geraldine.
Place South Canterbury Geraldine
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Café Verde in Geraldine is known for its luscious garden setting and outstanding food. Located in an old phone-exchange building, this is the local café-goers meeting spot where generations of friends and family come together over a cuppa.

Te Ana Māori Rock Art Centre

Wide angle of Te Ana Maori Rock Art Centre, Timaru.
Place South Canterbury Timaru

Te Ana Māori Rock Art Centre in Timaru offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience and learn about the ancient Māori practice of rock art.

Black & Co

Taxidermy chicken at Black & Co, Timaru.
Place South Canterbury Timaru

Black & Co is located in the south end of Timaru’s CBD and focuses on quality fashion pieces for men and women, luxurious homewares and unique jewellery, the store is a must-visit.

Dark Sky Diner

Waitress serving a table at Dark Sky Diner, Tekapo.
Place South Canterbury Lake Tekapo
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Lakefront location, intimate interiors and compelling cuisine make Dark Sky Diner the ultimate Lake Tekapo dining destination.

Best Off-The-Beaten-Path Honeymoon Destinations In New Zealand

Skyscape accommodation in Twizel.
Kick-start your marriage with five-star memories.

Matilda & The Metalman

Artwork and clothing rack at Matilda and The Metalman, Fairlie.
Place South Canterbury Fairlie

Matilda & The Metalman sits neatly in a large corner shop space on Fairlie’s main street.

Silverstream Hotel

Dining area at Silverstream Hotel, Kimbell.
Place South Canterbury Kimbell
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The Silverstream Hotel, a historical country pub in Kimbell, is an iconic Mackenzie region destination.

Three Creeks

The three buildings of Three Creeks set in front of rolling hills.
Place South Canterbury Burkes Pass
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Part museum, part second hand and vintage store, part coffee cart and real fruit ice cream trailer – there is so much to explore at Three Creeks.

Blue Lake Eatery & Bar

Doorway looking into the bar area at Blue Lake Eatery and Bar, Tekapo.
Place South Canterbury Lake Tekapo
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Blue Lake Eatery & Bar boasts a menu that’s heavily influenced by the seasons and local produce - and with a French twist on Kiwi classics - think beef cheeks marinated in red wine or hot goat cheese salad with local Mackenzie honey.

Get to Know the Culinary Curiosities of South Canterbury

Gin being poured into a shot glass at Humdinger Gin Distillery.
While famous for its sheep runs and hardy shepherds, South Canterbury has far more to offer than farming and vast plains. The picturesque landscape of the region is filled with fertile soil and fittingly home to a huge number of innovative producers and makers of consumable goodness.

Susan Badcock Gallery & The Mailroom

Artwork and sculpture at Susan Badcock Gallery,  Geraldine.
Place South Canterbury Geraldine

Explore this unconventional gallery space where contemporary artworks by Susan Badcock and the wider creative Badcock family are showcased alongside other New Zealand artists.

Get to Know the Town of ... Fairlie

A sculpture of a man and his dog.
Perhaps the cutest little town in the Mackenzie District, Fairlie is that perfect stop-over spot on your journey through South Canterbury, as well as a destination in its own right. Surrounded by rolling hills and snow-capped mountains, there’s a fairy tale sense in the air of Fairlie.

Get to Know the Town of ... Geraldine

A streetscape in Geraldine.
World-renowned as the hometown of Barker’s, makers of jam, preserves, chutneys, sauces and more, Geraldine is a name familiar to many. A picture perfect country town, sitting prettily in the heart of South Canterbury on the banks of the trickling Waihi River. Huge, exotic trees line the surrounding town area, as do the lush, green foothills of the Southern Alps.

Get to Know the Town of ... Timaru

An old building in Timaru on a sunny day.
The Riviera of the South, Timaru, is a South Canterbury east coast town well worth getting to know. The second largest city of the region, Timaru has so much to offer visitors that it’s pure madness not to have it on your must-visit-list.

Get to Know the Town of ... Twizel

The Twizel shops on an overcast day.
Purpose built in the 1960s to house workers involved in the Upper Waitaki Power Scheme, these days Twizel is a hub for all things outdoors. Located oh-so-close to Aoraki / Mt Cook National park and the Mackenzie basin, this hydro-town is the perfect base for a variety of experiences.

Ode to Long Lunches

People having a long lunch at Tussock Hill Vineyard, Christchurch.
Is there anything more satisfying than a lingering long lunch?

Recline and unwind: NZ's independent cinema experiences

The pink and black exterior of The Mayfair in Kaikoura.
Picture this, it’s Friday night, you’re settling into your favourite reclining lounger, a glass of wine in hand and the opening credits are beginning on the screen in front of you. Sure this situation could be in your living room at home but why not amp up the cosiness vibes and treat yourself to a trip to your local independent cinema.

The Road to MacKenzie Region: A Guide to Geraldine and Fairlie

The hills around Fairlie, New Zealand.

Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned day trip?

Tick Off Your Reading List At New Zealand’s Independent Bookshops

Bookcase jam packed with books at The Last Chapter, Wānaka.
Support local and score a good read? You don't have to tell us twice.

We've Done the Hard Yards to Bring You the Best Boutiques and Galleries of South Canterbury

Interior view of Dead2b.
The finest galleries and boutiques dotted around South Canterbury.