Things to do
Kia Ora! And welcome to our little slice of paradise!
Named after Lord Lyttelton, our charming town is located on the side of an extinct volcano. Close to the water, it made a great harbour, fishing spot and meeting place. It was also a prominent place in Canterbury for local Maori who called it Ōhinehou. The name Ōhinehou refers to a young girl (hine) who longed to be with the Patupaiarehe (fairies) who loved the harbour and eventually she did go “away with the fairies”.
Lyttelton was the landing site for the first four settler ships from England, and therefore holds significant historical importance for the entire region.
Our picturesque and scenic town is well known for our lively Saturday market which brings together locals, visitors and even draws our Christchurch friends through the longest road tunnel in New Zealand.
For nature lovers or those looking for some adventure, Quail Island is a Lyttelton Harbour highlight. The former quarantine station and leper colony island, easily accessible by ferry, makes for a great day out with walking tracks, history, and beaches. Back on land, we host various walking and biking tracks including the famous Bridle Path which led the first European settlers over hills to Christchurch.
For those seeking a more laid-backed experience, our town is also well-known for numerous great cafes and boutique shops for you to explore. Be sure to explore our safe streets, and not to miss our historic and quirky homes many of which are very old and have their own stories. Lyttelton is the only town to be a registered historic township in New Zealand.
Our Heritage walk, accessible from the website, provides the perfect opportunity to explore the town and learn about its long history. Follow the numbered locations around the streets, view images and read about the historical sites all from your device.
On 22 February 2011, Lyttelton was close to the epicenter of a magnitude 6.3 earthquake that devastated and reshaped Christchurch. In consequence, you may notice a lot of empty spaces around our town that use to be where some of our most historic buildings use to be. Despite this, our quaint town is bouncing back and moving forward into the next chapter of our history. So be part of it!
Lyttelton has much more to offer visitors than just a gateway to Christchurch, so be sure to spend some time with us taking in the stunning views and soaking up the vibrant history.
Lyttelton is open for business!