Diamond Harbour Ferry service

Legend says Diamond Harbour earned its name when an early settler saw sunlight sparkling on the water, and it reminded him of countless shimmering diamonds.

Diamond Harbour remains one of the sunniest, most untouched destinations on Banks Peninsula, perfect for day trips. Whether you’re up for a vigorous hike to Mt. Herbert, a leisurely cliff-top walk, or a simple café visit for delectable food and coffee, there’s something for everyone.

The Diamond Harbour Ferry, operating since 1888, is the recommended mode of transport, bridging Diamond Harbour with Lyttelton. Just a brief 5-minute stroll from the ferry jetty brings you to the heart of the township. With departures every hour, the journey is both convenient and scenic.

Black Cat’s ferry, the Black Diamond, introduced in May 2001, serves as the modern Diamond Harbour Ferry. It replaces the historic Onawe, cutting travel time to roughly 8 minutes and offering more frequent trips. Paired with buses from Lyttelton to Christchurch, it provides Diamond Bay residents an easy commute to the city.

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Directions to Lyttelton

Lyttelton is a short drive away from central Christchurch, typically taking 15 to 20 minutes. For a detailed driving route, visit Google Maps and consider printing the directions for added convenience.

By Car:

  • Destination: B Jetty, Lyttelton Harbour.
  • Upon exiting the Lyttelton tunnel, make a left turn onto Norwich Quay.
  • The second right turn will lead you to the Oxford Street overbridge. Parking is available on Norwich Quay, and from there you can walk over the bridge.
  • Just follow the footprints marked on the pavement and look out for signs directing you to Black Cat ferries and Quail Island.

Public Transport:

  • Bus: Take the number 8 bus. A consistent service connects Christchurch to Lyttelton. 
Number 8 Bus timetable (Metro Info)

Things to do

Suggested things to do in Diamond Harbour

Cycling Adventure:
Embark on a bike journey to Teddington, ascend Gebbes Pass, and connect with the Summit Road. The route promises panoramic views that are sure to captivate. Conclude your ride by descending Dyers Pass Road and passing through Governors Bay.

Diamond Harbour Cliff Track:
Experience the coast with this scenic, albeit occasionally challenging, walk. Beginning at Purau, the track wraps around the cliff, leading to Church Bay. Along the route, there are multiple access points to Marine Drive. To guide your way, maps can be obtained from either the Diamond Harbour Country Store or the Lyttelton Harbour Information Centre.

Town Exploration:
The charming town of Diamond Harbour beckons with its quaint stores and delightful café. Indulge in aromatic tea, freshly brewed coffee, or delicious homemade dishes. For those seeking a relaxed ambience, there’s a splendid licenced decked bar at the back, boasting views of the cricket field.


Diamond Harbour Historical Walk:

Immerse yourself in local history with this leisurely 1 1/2-hour walk. Grab a map for just 50c from either Church Bay Store or Diamond Harbour Country Store.

Charteris Bay Golf Club:
Play a round of golf at this picturesque course, offering breathtaking views of the harbour and coastlines. While visually stunning, be prepared for some challenging holes that leverage the natural slope variations.

Lyttelton Farmers Market & Lunch in Diamond Harbour:
Every Saturday from 10am to 1pm The Lyttelton Farmers Market draws visitors with its fresh produce and artisanal treats. Once you’ve had your fill, hop on the ferry to Diamond Harbour. Continue your gastronomic journey with lunch at the Country Store, known for its delectable food and rich coffee.

Picnic by the Beach:
Pack your favourite treats and make your way to the beach. Purau Bay is a great spot, especially between half to full tide. If you prefer, Diamond Harbour offers a rockier shoreline but provides a safe swimming experience.

Frequently asked questions

Approximately 10 minutes one way.

Gold card holders can travel for free After 9am Monday – Friday, and all day Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. 

YES! – we accept payment by Metrocard, cash or eftpos.

Please click the link below the Metro Info Public Holidays page for an up-to-date list of public holidays and schedules.


Yes you can. There is plenty of parking along the main road in Lyttelton. It is then just a short 2 minute walk across the footbridge to the departure point at B jetty.

For more details on what to see and do in Diamond Harbour see www.diamondharbour.info

On the Lyttelton side, where the ferries depart, there is suitable access for those in wheelchairs. However, at Quail Island, the jetty has steps. With the help of an able-bodied person, it’s possible to navigate these steps. On the Diamond Harbour side, there is a steep uphill road you must take, if you wish to get to the shops or park. 

Although there are no toilets on the ferry, the journey is just a brief 10-minute trip.

Dogs remain the responsibility of their owners. They may use the Diamond Harbour Ferry as long as they are kept outside on the back deck, on a lead and supervised by their owner at all times.

Yes, this is also free of charge. However for safety reasons there is a limit to how many bikes we can have on the ferry at one time. This is not a set number as such but will very depending on weather conditions, how busy the ferry is, the sizes of the bikes and stackability.

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About us

The award-winning Black Cat Cruises is not only an acclaimed success in New Zealand’s tourism industry but also internationally recognized as an eco-tourism pioneer. We hold the honour of being the first to introduce cruises in Akaroa, and we're proud to be acknowledged as New Zealand’s very first eco-tourism operator.

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Our Nature Cruises and Dolphin Swimming experience depart from Akaroa which is only a 90 minute scenic drive from Christchurch. The Diamond Harbour, Quail Island and Ripapa ferry depart from Lyttelton in Christchurch.

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