8 Best Things to Do in Lyttelton

© ChristchurchNZ

What to Do in Lyttelton: The South Island’s Largest Port

Through the historic Lyttelton Tunnel or over the scenic Dyers Pass lies the cool harbour settlement of Lyttelton. Its eroded volcanic geography offers some different scenery to what’s found in Christchurch, making Lyttelton a popular day trip from Christchurch for visitors. Not only does the town offer fantastic eateries and boutique shopping, but there are plenty of active adventures to be had, from hiking in the Port Hills to exploring the intriguing Quail Island. Find out what you could be getting up to with this list of things to do in Lyttelton!

While you’re here, you might also be interested in the 10 Things to Do in Christchurch at Night and 10 Akaroa Must-Dos.

1. Spend a Day at the Beach at Corsair Bay

One of Lyttelton’s picturesque beaches, Corsair Bay is a sheltered bay ideal for swimming in the summer months. There are coastal walking tracks to the neighbouring Cass Bay and Magazine Bay. Or simply enjoy a picnic here.

Location: Park Terrace, 2.5km (1.6 miles) west of Lyttelton

8 Best Things to Do in Lyttelton© ChristchurchNZ

2. Check Out the Lyttelton Farmers Market

Experience a real Kiwi farmers’ market at the fantastic Lyttelton Farmers’ Market happening every Saturday. Buy fresh local produce, try delicious treats and experience the buzzing atmosphere. See more suggestions like this in the 15 Free or Cheap Things to Do in Christchurch.

Location: London Street

Nancy Zhou - ChristchurchNZ© Nancy Zhou - ChristchurchNZ

3. Sample Great Food and Drinks at the Lyttelton Eateries

Christchurch locals often come to Lyttelton just to visit the amazing cafes and restaurants! See what all the fuss is about by treating yourself to smooth chocolates at She Universe, try the tapas at Civil and Naval, enjoy the views over the harbour at Lyttelton Coffee Company and much more! See more activities like this in the 9 Things to Do in Christchurch for Foodies.

Location: All over Lyttelton

Nancy Zhou - ChristchurchNZ© Nancy Zhou - ChristchurchNZ

4. Take a Ferry Over to Quail Island

Quail Island is a fascinating little island brimming with history. It was once used to quarantine immigrants and animals coming to New Zealand. It also held a leprosy colony, as well as being the base for Scott and Shackleton to train their sled-dogs and ponies for their Antarctic exhibitions. There are many walks and great swimming spots on the island, so take a picnic and enjoy a great day out. Catch the ferry from the Lyttelton Jetty departing daily through summer and weekends during April-September. This activity also features in our 10 Christchurch Must-Dos.

Location: Lyttelton Jetty©

5. Take a Day Trip to Governors Bay

Further along the Lyttelton Harbour is the attractive little community of Governers Bay. The bay offers wonderful views down the harbour and has some great little cafes. From here, take the scenic Dyers Pass back to Christchurch city.

Location: Governers Bay Road, 9.5km (6 miles) west of Lyttelton

Bernard Spragg. NZ on Wikipedia © Bernard Spragg. NZ on Wikipedia

6. Pop into the Local Art Gallery

See local contemporary art at Oxford Street Art. See solo and group exhibitions that are updated monthly, so who knows what you’ll discover?! The art gallery is open on Friday evenings also serving wine to go with your art viewing. Check it out in the Tin Palace building.

Location: 13a Oxford Street

pxhere© pxhere

7. Explore the Port Hills

Lyttelton is one of the hubs for exploring the famous Port Hills of Christchurch. There are a number of walks to enjoy with open expansive views across the harbour and over to the city. Try the Bridle Path (2-hour return) from Bridal Path road or enjoy a scenic 10-minute ride up the Christchurch Gondola (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) up to the crater summit.

Location: Access via Bridle Path, Cornwall Road, Ross Terrace, Brenchley Road and more.

8 Best Things to Do in Lyttelton© ChristchurchNZ

8. Take a Ferry Over to Diamond Bay

More delightful views of the Lyttelton Harbour can be seen from Diamon Bay, named after its sparkling waters. Either enjoy a scenic coastal drive to the Diamond Harbour or take the ferry from Lyttelton Jetty. Once there, check out the local art galleries and cafes, or if you’re feeling more active, there’s a great deal of walking trails to explore.

Location: Charters Bay Road, 25km (15.5 miles) drive from Lyttelton or a short ferry ride from the Lyttelton Jetty

Blue Bubble Blower on Wikipedia © Blue Bubble Blower on Wikipedia

More Things to Do Near Lyttelton

That’s it for the best things to do in Lyttelton. Find more activities for your travels in the 51 Best Things to Do in the South Island.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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