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Top 10 Things to Explore in Lyttelton

Discover the lively town of Lyttelton. From quirky cafes, eclectic shops, the must visit Saturday farmers market to historical gems at every turn - Lyttelton and the surrounding bays are definitely worth taking the time to explore. Here's some top picks for a great day out!

A Poem and a Place

Walk the streets of Lyttelton and hear the voices of seven local poets reading poems in the places that inspired them. Featuring Ben Brown, Gary McCormick, Dan “Spud” Johnson, Rebecca Nash, Sarah Amazinnia and Andy Coyle. Download the app to get started.

Stroll down London Street

Explore the boutique shops and quirky cafes of London Street. Stop to admire “Hector” - a bronze sled dog statue celebrating the commitment of Lyttelton to exploration in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Hector symbolises the courage, commitment and comradeship of those involved in this continuing endeavour. 

Urumau Loop

Head up into the hills behind Lyttelton for magnificent vistas over Whakaraupo/Lyttelton Harbour. The walk takes you through Urumau Reserve, which has been the focus of community native tree planting over the past few years. This 3.5 hour walk includes steep hill climbs and narrow cliff paths, ideal for the nimble-footed. Walking maps are available from the Lyttelton Information Centre.

Te Ana Marina 

Enjoy the waterfront taking time to relax on the recycled wharf seats taking in the activity in the marina. An ideal spot for families, with plenty of parking and flat space. Travel by foot with a path linking back to Norwich Quay and Lyttelton township.

Top picnic spots

There are plenty of bays to explore and enjoy a picnic. Corsair Bay and Cass Bay have been popular spots for generations, with playgrounds, tables and toilets. Pony Point is a scenic reserve west of Cass Bay and has a lovely grassy area surrounded by native plants and stunning views. The carved pou depicts a culturally significant place for Maori.

Ferry across the harbour

The Black Diamond Ferry departs from Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour on the hour. On arrival explore the coastal track, Stoddart Cottage, art gallery and the village cafes. This is also a great spot to fish off the wharf or enjoy a spot of swimming. Family fun for everyone!

Walk the paths of early settlers

Follow the footsteps of early European settlers and walk the Bridle Path linking Christchurch to Lyttelton. Constructed in 1850 many horses were ridden or lead over the path hence the name. Along the path there are memorial seats honouring the pioneers and the first four ships to Canterbury. Enjoy breathtaking views of both Christchurch and Lyttelton at the top of the hill.

View torpedo treasures 

Head to the Old Powder Magazine Building to visit the Lyttelton Torpedo Boat Museum and see restored sections of the 1885 Lyttleton torpedo boat. As well as the partly re-constructed bow and stern, there is a scale model and an example of a steam engine that once powered it. An informative historical documentary can be viewed. Open weekends 1-3pm.

Escape to an island!

A real adventure over the warmer months – visit Quail Island from October to April. The island is named after the now extinct native Quail (koreke) and offers beautiful scenery, great walks, wildlife, ships’ graveyard and glimpses into the past through the information panels. The island has connections with  the Antarctic and was a quarantine and training area for the sled dogs and ponies of Scott and Shackleton’s expeditions. It also housed New Zealand’s only leprosy quarantine colony. 

The Timeball Station set to return

After a major restoration effort by Heritage New Zealand, the significant maritime site of the Lyttelton Timeball Station will soon once again be open to the public. The ball will once again drop from the mast onto its stone tower every day at 1pm. Historically, it signalled time to ships in Lyttelton Harbour to ensure accurate navigation.

Walk the foreshore

Enjoy spectacular views up the harbour and out to the heads from sea level. Wander the 2kms from Allandale Reserve to Governors Bay jetty. Pop up to the the Main Rd and enjoy refreshments at She Universe Cafe or Governors Bay Hotel before taking the gentle stroll back again. This road was first constructed in 1857 by the prisoners of Lyttelton Prison (1851-1922). Initially it was a bridle way only, later widened for the coach service that began in the early 1880s.

Discover Orton Bradley Park

Orton Bradley Park is an absolute gem within the harbour basin. 650ha of park including picnic areas, original farm buildings and machinery, many walking/tramping options, an exciting adventure playground with flying foxes and a stream for children to explore, an acclaimed rhododendron garden and a cafe over the summer months. Perfect for gatherings with family and friends. Camping is available through January and self contained campers/caravans all year.