Lyttelton is the port town of Banks Peninsula and is located on the north shore of Lyttelton Harbour, only 12km by road from Christchurch. Lyttelton harbour is inlet on the north-western side of Banks Peninsula , extending 18 km inland from the southern end of Pegasus Bay . It is surrounded by steep hills formed from the sides of an extinct volcanic crater, which rise to a height of 500 m. It was the landing place for the first Canterbury settlers, the First Four Ships arriving late in December 1850.
Lyttelton Port , the gateway to the South Island of New Zealand plays a vital role in the global transport network, offering a full range of regular shipping services, worldwide.
Banks Peninsula is located in the Canterbury region on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and adjacent to the city of Christchurch . Several smaller settlements are dotted along the shore of the harbour, notably Governor's Bay and Diamond Harbour. A small island, Quail Island, sits in the upper harbour south-west of Lyttelton
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There are many activities and attractions available for everyone in Lyttelton. Head out onto the harbour to watch for Hector dolphins, which often play alongside the boats. Try one of the many Banks Peninsula Tracks designed to provide a special and memorable experience for the intrepid explorer and holiday maker alike. Visit Akaroa , the oldest Canterbury town, settled by the French in 1840.
The Lyttelton Road tunnel is 1900m in length, making it the the country’s longest and oldest road tunnel, dating from 1867. It was the first in the world to be excavated through volcanic rock, allowing easy access to the centre of Christchurch .
The first Māori inhabitants to Akaroa were the Waitaha iwi (tribe), later other iwi’s inhabited the area; the Kati (Ngati) Mamoe and the Kai (Ngai) Tahu.
While circumnavigating New Zealand in 1770, Captain James Cook named ‘Banks Peninsula’ in honour of Joseph Banks, his botanist. By the 1830s Banks Peninsula had become a European whaling centre.
Around early November 1830, the brig ‘Elizabeth’, Captained by John Stewart sailed to Akaroa to trade for flax. Unknown to the Kai (Ngai) Tahu people, Te Rauparaha and his warriors (Kati (Ngati) Toa, North Island iwi) were hiding on board....more.
In 1838 Captain Langlois set in motion, the idea of French colonisation of Akaroa, Banks Peninsula and eventually the South Island.....more.
The name Lyttelton was given to it in honour of George William Lyttelton of the Canterbury Association, which led the colonisation of the area.