Lyttelton Ferry

Lyttelton Harbour was formed 11 million years ago when a massive volcano erupted and the sea filled its crater. Today it is a picturesque and vibrant town perched on the hillside overlooking the harbour. Just 13km from Christchurch (the South Island’s largest city) by bus or car through the famous Lyttelton Tunnel, the town is home to many locals who commute to work in the city each day.

The calm waters of the harbour are a popular recreational spot for sailing, fishing and swimming whilst the surrounding hills are great for mountain biking and walking.

Lyttelton is the hub for anyone living or working on this side of Banks Peninsula, with the Black Cat Lyttelton ferry fleet departing regularly through the day across to Diamond Harbour and the other bays facing the port.

Lyttelton is filled with fine old buildings, churches and Victorian cottages, plus many interesting shops, cafes and bars, a very popular Saturday morning farmer’s market, and historic features like the Timeball Station, which was the hourly timekeeper for anyone working in the port or out on the water.

Things to do

Suggested things to do in Lyttelton

1. If you are visiting at the weekend then you must make time to pop along to the Lyttelton Farmers Market. It’s held on Oxford Street every Saturday from 10am until 1pm. The market is a foodies delight with fresh produce from local farmers sold direct to the public. Check out their facebook page for some inspiration.

2. Go shopping. Oxford street is also lined with some wonderful boutique stores that are worth checking out.

3. Jump on the Diamond Harbour Ferry. It’s only a 10 minute ferry ride across the beautiful harbour!

4. Wine and Dine. For a small harbour Lyttelton serves a large appetite. From the cool new wine and tapas bar Civil and Naval, todelicious italian from Freemans or a great coffee served with possibly the best home baking this side of the equator from Samo you won’t be left unsatisfied.

5. Have a hearty breakfast in Lyttelton and then take a trip over to Quail Island and complete the 2.5 hour loop track walk to burn it off. A perfect destination for people of all ages. We think it;s one of the best things to do in Christchurch!

6.. Depending on when you are visiting you may be able to experience one of Lyttelton’s festivals. There’s everything from the Banks Peninsula Walking Festival, SummerFest, The Festival of Lights, Kura Festival…the list goes on. Check out this page for more information and keep an eye on the Black Cat blog for details on the festivals nearer the time

7.Pack a picnic and a swim suit and head to the beach.Corsair Bay is a fantastic sheltered beach complete with a nearby pontoon. Great for the family. Insider tip: It gets busy Christmas Day!

8. One event NOT TO BE MISSED is the Lyttelton Urban Downhill competition. Taking place in November 2014 the event runsfrom Somes Road to London Street. Over 3,000 spectators turn out each year to watch talented local and international riders compete on a course of 1.2km with a 160m vertical drop.

9. If you’re feeling adventurous why not go Kayaking? Nearby Cass Bay has Kayaks for hire during the summer months.

10. Still stuck for ideas you can always pop into the Lyttelton Harbour Information Centre.

How to find us

How to Get to Lyttleton

Lyttelton is around 15 to 20 minutes drive from the centre of Christchurch. See for detailed information about how to drive yourself. Print this map out to help you navigate. We are located at B Jetty, Lyttelton Harbour. At the end of the tunnel turn left onto Norwich Quay. The 2nd turning to the right is the Oxford Street overbridge, you will need to park on Norwich Quay and walk over the bridge. Follow the footprints on the pavement and signs to Black Cat ferries and Quail Island.

Public Transport

The number 28 bus runs a regular service to Lyttelton. Please check the timetable on Metro’s website for accurate detail

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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