Moving to Geraldine

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Thinking about moving to Geraldine?  You’ll find an attractive boutique village nestled among the foothills of the Southern Alps, where people still greet one another in the street and popping to the supermarket for a pint of milk often becomes a social outing in its own right.

The town has the unique distinction of being both a rural service centre and a tourist destination, as the gateway to the southern lakes and Aoraki/Mt Cook, and the ‘bridge’ between the Inland Scenic Route and the gateway to the Starlight Highway.

Visitors are as likely to see a farmer driving through the main street on his tractor, or muddy gumboots left at the door of a local café, as they are to see an artist painting along the riverside walk and business people convening regional conferences over lunch.

The town has a long, proud and diverse history, where residents drawn from around the globe mix with those descended from the founding families.  Newcomers are attracted to the village life here with all the benefits of the modern age.  Geraldine is truly a place where country meets cosmopolitan.

This, coupled with a reputation as a Central South Island outdoor adventure playground, regional producer of gourmet food products, hand crafts, art and culture, means Geraldine has something to offer everyone.

Geraldine is a great place to live, work, conduct business and enjoy a high quality lifestyle.  Regardless of the reasons bringing you to the lovely District of Geraldine you’ll need to know some key facts.

Geraldine at a Glance:

*Geraldine is located in the Waitaha/Canterbury region on the East Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, about 140 km’s south of Ōtautahi/Christchurch, 35 km’s north of Timaru (Waitaha’s second largest urban centre after Ōtautahi) and 51 km’s south of Ashburton.  It is part of the Timaru District and just 10 minutes from the arterial State Highway 1 which travels the length of the island.

*Takapō/Tekapo, Aoraki/Mt Cook, as well as Oamaru and the Waitaki Lakes,  are only an hour or two by car and make great day trips, weekend getaways or camping trip destinations from Geraldine.

*The town has a population of over 3000 people.  While some families have been settled in the area for several generations, there are many newcomers from around the world, drawn by the lifestyle and opportunities here.  People new to the area often comment about how friendly and welcoming they find local people and how easy it is to settle in.

*The township is located on the flat Canterbury plains with the rolling hills of the Geraldine Downs overlooking the town and the foothills of the Southern Alps in the distance.

*Warm dry summers complement crisp sunny winters, with Geraldine enjoying higher temperatures and sunshine hours than neighbouring towns.

*There are no traffic lights in Geraldine and the central shopping district is compact and attractive.  Many of those living in town choose to walk or cycle, rather than drive.

*The town boasts two large parks/domains with the Waihi River meandering through the centre of town.  Many large exotic trees grace the public spaces and floral displays from the well-tended private gardens bring seasonal colour to the town.

*Education is very well served in the wider district with 5 early childhood centres (do check for waiting lists), 4 primary schools and a co-educational high school.  Timaru provides further education with the Ara Polytechnic Institute and good universities are located in both Christchurch and Dunedin.

*No need to leave town as we have doctors, dentists, chiropractor & physios along with a pharmacy, fuel/petrol/gas stations, supermarket, library, great shopping, shoes, fashion, beauty therapy, hair salons, hardware and much more.

*The Richard Pearse Timaru Airport is just a 20 minute drive, servicing several national routes, while Christchurch International Airport is just 1.5 hour drive.

*Geraldine has a low crime rate and a culture of neighbours caring for one another.


Geraldine is a wonderful place to raise a family with good educational providers, excellent sporting and recreational facilities and a great big outdoors on your doorstep.  It is a safe place where children can enjoy the sort of childhood we all remember – splashing in the rivers during long hot summers, taking walks in the cool native bush, heading out for a bike ride with pals and hitting the ski fields in winter.

The district has much to interest people at all stages of life from the young through to retirees, with more than 200 different clubs, groups and organisations offering everything from patchwork quilting to pilates.  Having a very diverse population also means that social, musical and cultural events abound. There is always an event, festival or gala happening, or about to happen, which brings people together and offers plenty of opportunity to get involved.  Check out the events calendar to find out about our annual events and see what is coming up soon.

Geraldine is a busy service centre for the rural economy, but as it is also located on the popular tourist route to Takapō/Tekapo, Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Southern Lakes, there is a range of fantastic eateries and boutique shopping, more commonly seen in much larger centres.

Walking, tramping (hiking) and mountain bike riding are among the many outdoor activities that Geraldine boasts as well as 2 golf courses, horse riding and much more.  The area has long been an attractive bolt hole for artists and crafts people so you’ll find plenty of galleries, studios and workshops to visit and art related workshops to attend.

Music and theatre are incredibly popular here with regular shows and gigs showcasing local talent.  Geraldine has also become a mecca for travelling shows and musicians due to the strong local support for the arts.


Over 250 businesses operate in and around Geraldine including key employers, Fonterra Clandeboye and Barker’s Food Processors.  Unemployment for the South Canterbury region is almost half the national average and there are many opportunities in the local area or further afield in Ashburton and Timaru, both of which are an easy and pleasant commute.

As a rural service centre there are a wide range of agricultural and dairy-based job opportunities but also plenty of scope for other fields such as engineering, services and hospitality.

Setting up business:

The South Canterbury district is a great place to do business and there is plenty of support for business owners, including the regional economic Development Agency, Venture Timaru, South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce, and for Geraldine specific support.

Watch ‘Our Story’ and these clips to find out more about life and business in Geraldine and South Canterbury.

Finding a home to call your own:

The housing stock in Geraldine is varied, from lifestyle blocks for the budding hobby farmer to traditional kiwi ‘do-ups’ for first home buyers and on to high end luxury homes.  You’ll find homes in Geraldine for all budgets and lifestyles, with your money going much further here than it does in other urban centres.

Prices begin at just under $400,000, with median house prices around $560,000 (As at June 2022, data provided by REINZ). Premium top end properties in prime locations begin at about $700,000 and go up to $1.2 million.

Geraldine is a sought after location for house buyers and prices tend to hold well even in times of economic down turn.  No less than three real estate agencies service the property needs of this busy town.

Section sizes tend to be generous with plenty of space for families and keen gardeners.  Those looking to downsize for retirement are also well provided for with a modern retirement lifestyle village and a number of supported eldercare facilities.

Want to try before you buy?  All the real estate agencies provide property management for rentals as well so you can move to the area before you buy.

Key Links:

*Learn more about current happenings in Geraldine by reading our local newspaper, the Geraldine News.

*Have a question that you need answered?  Contact the Geraldine Community Resource Centre.  There cnetre also offers a free welcome pack on arrival to Geraldine and operates a newcomers group to help you settle in and meet people.

*Visit the Timaru District Council Service Centre located in the local library for all your civic related queries such as what day to put your bins out and when the refuse transfer station is open.  They also offer FREE wifi.

*Check out jobs in the Geraldine News, Geraldine Community Resource Centre or online at Seek or Trade Me.

*An important communication tool in Geraldine is the Geraldine Buy, Sell Swap and Community Noticeboard Facebook page.  It is a great way to get connected with the community.  Make sure you answers the questions to join and let them know you are planning on moving to the area.

*For any community resources we might not have mentioned already use the business directory on the home page or the search function at the top right of the page.

*For general questions please feel free to contact us at


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