Timaru Botanic Gardens & Aigantighe
Duration: 3 1/2 hours
Tour Code: tiu-002
Meander through the enchanted Botanic Gardens in the "Rose City" of Timaru and then discover the impressive Kiwi creativity at the Aigantighe Gallery and statue of Phar Lap.
Boarding your coach at the pier, it's a brief yet scenic drive to the Botanic Gardens, where you'll be free to wander about the spectacular rose gardens, duck ponds and aviary under a canopy of mature trees. It's a wonderfully serene setting, where you may view some of New Zealand's endangered plants and perhaps learn how locally grown herbs and spices are used.
From here, it's a picturesque drive past Timaru's verdant Centennial Park and historic district and on to the esteemed Aigantighe Art Museum. Founded in 1956 by a Scottish family, Aigantighe (pronounced "egg and tie") contains one of the South Island's largest art collections, dating from the 16th century to the present day. Even the museum, housed in a 1908 mansion, is a work of art, as is its surrounding sculpture garden.
Continuing on, you'll next stop at a sculpture of great national pride dedicated to Phar Lap, a thoroughbred racehorse born in 1926 near Timaru. Affectionately known as "Big Red" because of the color of his coat, Phar Lap recorded an amazing 37 wins out of 51 starts, becoming one of the greatest world champions. The statue of the famed racehorse in full gallop is revered as a symbol of perseverance and excellence.
Returning to the pier, you'll drive along the lively Caroline bay beachfront and see the historic Landing Service building that was originally was used for the unloading of ships around the 1870s. Today, it is the only remaining building of its kind in Australasia.
Please note: Walking on this tour is mainly at the guests' discretion during the stops. Most areas are flat surfaces with a few slight inclines. While the bulk of the art collection at the art museum is located on the ground floor, those who wish to view the pieces on the second floor must negotiate a stairway. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The order of the sites viewed or visited can vary.