Cruise Season

Kia ora! The next cruise season is October 2023 - April 2024. Here's some background information about Lyttelton.

Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour is one of two major inlets in Banks Peninsula, on the coast of Canterbury, New Zealand, the other being Akaroa Harbour on the southern coast. The spectacular geography you will witness as you cruise into Port Lyttelton is because our harbour sits in an eroded caldera of the ancient Banks Peninsula Volcano, the steep sides of which form the Port Hills.  As you cruise in, you will pass the small settlements of Purau and Te Waipapa/Diamond Harbour on your left. To your right is Ōhinehou/Lyttelton. Views from your ship will be breathtakingly beautiful, no matter which way you turn.

Evidence of Moa bones in Pūrau Bay suggests that Waitaha Māori were living in Whakaraupō as early as the 1300's. The sheltered bays around the harbour, the abundance of kai moana (seafood) and forested hillsides teeming with birdlife made this an ideal place to live. By 1800s defences had been build on Rīpapa Island and Ōhinetahi. Te Rapaki o Te Rakiwhakaputa became the main settlement of Ngāi Tahu; this is still the home of their ancestors today. Ōhinehou/Lyttelton grew into Whakaraupō's main landing site and the port grew as more whalers and traders came to rest on its shores. The British soon decided that they would begin to colonise the area and in 1850 saw the arrival of the first four ships from England.

Today the port town of Lyttelton is an effortlessly cool village. Whether you are looking for locally roasted coffee, shopping for locally designed and produced functional provisions and homewares, browsing an excellent second hand bookshop and our local craft market, grabbing some food at one of our many eateries and pubs, walking the hills (or flat!) to take in some of Mother nature, or adventuring on the water itself by boat (did you know we have two islands you can explore?) jetski, paddleboard or kayak, we are sure everyone will find something to do in this relaxed and friendly part of Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

Welcome to Lyttelton and our harbour communities!