Caroline Bay to Dashing Rocks, Timaru

The walk to Dashing Rocks from Caroline Bay is part of the Hector’s Coastal Trail in Timaru.

The walk from Caroline Bay to Dashing Rocks takes approximately one hour. The walk starts at the northern end of the Caroline Bay carpark. Follow the track over the Benvenue Cliffs past the old lighthouse. The Benvenue Cliffs provide stunning views of the ocean, Caroline Bay and the Timaru Port in the distance.

This is the site of two shipwrecks. In May 1882 the Benvenue and The City of Perth broke loose from their moorings due to heavy swells. The two ships became grounded and capsized. Nine lives were lost in failed rescue attempt.

From the Benvenue Cliffs follow the track along the top of Waimataitai Beach to Richmond Street.

Turn right into Climie Terrace, going over the foot bridge to Moore Street. This is the beginning of the Dashing Rocks Walkway.

Follow the track along the clifftop. The Dashing Rocks are the result of ancient lava flows that have created basalt columns.

From the Dashing Rocks the track follows the edge of the bay below. The track crosses a paddock to Pacific Street. Cross Pacific Street to Westcott Street and back to Richmond Street to rejoin the path you came along.

It is possible to start this walk at Moore Street. This would take approximately 30 minutes.

Timaru Lighthouse

Timaru Lighthouse, also known as Blackett’s Lighthouse, is a former lighthouse now heritage site at the Benvenue Cliffs.

The wooden lighthouse was designed by John Blackett and was the main harbour navigation from 1878 to 1970. It is a three storey Kauri timbered lighthouse. The lighthouse tower stands at 30 feet protected by a 5 foot dome.

The lighthouse was originally lit by kerosene. This was replaced by gas in 1890 and by electric light in 1920.

In 1980 the Timaru Harbour Board moved the tower from its original position at No. 7 The Terrace to a site in Maori Park.

In 2010 it was relocated again to its current site close to the edge of the Benvenue Cliffs overlooking the sea. It is near the Caroline Bay Aquatic Centre and the pedestrian rail overbridge.

Caroline Bay, Timaru

Caroline Bay is a popular park and beach in Timaru.

After the construction of Timaru’s harbour the currents created a sandy beach. It is Timaru’s only sandy beach – in fact it is the only sandy beach between Oamaru and Banks Peninsula.

In 1902 the Borough Council leased the foreshore from the Harbour Board and decided to turn the bay into a European-style resort.

A summer carnival has been held at Caroline Bay since 1911.

As well as the summer carnival rides and sideshow games Caroline Bay has many facilities including a children’s playground, free barbeques, an outdoor gym equipment circuit, beach volleyball courts, mini golf, tennis courts, skate park and a small train offering rides. 

Beach volleyball courts

The Trevor Griffiths Rose Gardens are also located within the park. You can read more about the rose gardens in my blog post here.

The Piazza crosses the railway line connecting the Timaru CBD with Caroline Bay. Pedestrian access is via a grand staircase or lift.

Caroline Bay is also home to Timaru’s Little Blue Penguins. The penguins nestle up in the rocks next to Marina Parade. The footpath on Marina Parade is the best place to view them after sunset.