Inspiring ideas for New Zealand vacation planning - The Port of Lyttelton

The Christchurch port of Lyttelton is a favorite hang-out for the people of Christchurch, with a tunnel under the Port Hills providing an easy 20-minute connection between the two. On Saturday's it's Farmers Market Day when the town bristles with activity as city dwellers and locals enjoy a coffee, browsing through one of the many quirky gift shops in the town or enjoying a relaxing lunch.

A bohemian vibe and great cafés attract visitors to the historic port town of Lyttelton, a place with a long history. The first European settlers landed here in 1850 before trekking over the Port Hills to establish their new homes in what would become Christchurch, the biggest city in the South Island.

It's a colourful town, home to a community of nearly 3,000, brimming with bohemian artists, cafés and quirky shops, making Lyttleton one of the most creative communities in the Christchurch region.

There are some great restaurants that more than justify the 20-minute drive from the city.

Over summer there's the 'Craft & Treasure Market' with a focus on being the best 'Made in New Zealand' craft market, sprinkled with some wonderful vintage curios and clothing stalls. 

They include stalls selling beautiful leather goods, ceramics, toys, jewellery, natural body care and art. A great place to browse for that unique New Zealand made gift to take home with you. 

For relaxation, enjoy a massage or just sit in the sun while listening to the resident storyteller. 

If you would like more details about the attractions featured in the images below, just click on the website links we've added.


The port of Lyttelton, looking across the Port Hills to Christchurch city in the distance.


On the way, take a break and enjoy a ride on the scenic gondola.


Farmers Market, Saturday's 10:00am to 1:00pm.


Gateway to some great walking trails, around the harbor or in the nearby hills.


Coastal Trail, Lyttelton.


Cass Bay on the Coastal Trail.


Corsair Bay, also on the Coastal Trail.


Or you can take to the nearby hills, with trails suitable for all fitness levels on offer.

Another option, for the more adventurous, is to take the ferry (10-min) across the harbor to Diamond Harbor and from there set off for the highest peak on Banks Peninsula, the summit of Mt Herbert (3,000 ft) 


A rest break on the Mt Herbert Trail, looking back at Lyttelton on the far side of the harbor.

Contact Jane or Lindsay for other interesting suggestions about how to make the most of your Lyttleton visit.

For example, drive to the gondola car park where you can leave your car, (located just before the entrance of the Christchurch to Lyttelton tunnel) then take the gondola to the summit for spectacular views of Christchurch, the Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps. From the summit, follow the downhill trail that leads you to Lyttleton. At the end of your day take the regular bus service through the tunnel to pick up your vehicle at the gondola car park.

Readers of our blogs will have seen Lyttelton included as a suggested stop on the February 19 Akaroa blog

This itinerary uses the recently reopened and upgraded road between Lyttelton and Sumner, an alternative routing to using the tunnel between the city and Lyttleton. 

So, another potential routing for a great day out would be City via the tunnel - Lyttleton - City via Sumner Beach. 


 The scenic Lyttelton - Sumner roadway, a great alternative to using the tunnel in both directions.


The seaside suburb of Sumner.

Whatever your preferences, the specialist team at New Zealand Vacations can help you create something special when you visit Christchurch and other destinations in New Zealand. 

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Jun 07, 2020