The small port-side village of Lyttelton, New Zealand is a place close to my heart. It’s where my grandmother lived when I was growing up; it’s a short boat trip away from where my family lives now; and it’s where my partner and I ended up, by chance, renting a house for the first 6 months of our unexpected and extended stay in New Zealand (thanks, pandemic!)
The village feels like a world away, it’s beautiful, and the sense of community is something I adore. Yet it’s a very quick drive through the tunnel to the heart of Christchurch city. It’s kind of the best of both worlds, in many ways. It doesn’t feel at all like the city, Lyttelton. And in fact, before the tunnel was built through the port hills, it really was much more on its own.
Nowadays it has the accessibility of a suburb, with the charm and feel of a small town. Throw in loads of lovely houses, gardens and native birds; and you have quite the undiscovered little haven of a town.
I haven’t always written about New Zealand, but I am extremely proud of where I come from, and after having spent near to two unexpected years in the country, it felt about time to blog about it! So without further adieu, here’s three of my favourite things to do in Lyttelton.
1. Lyttelton Market
Every Sunday it’s time for the most wonderful things about Lyttelton – the weekly farmer’s market. People come from all over the region, as it’s surely one of Canterbury’s best markets. The Main Street of town is closed off to traffic and stalls pop up down the full length. The surrounding restaurants and cafés are bustling with people, and there are usually musicians and street performers. There is excellent produce to be found, locally produced cheese, meets & olive oils but my favourite stall is the bakery right at the end who make one of my favourite foccacia in the world – but you need to get there early as they sell out!
2. Eat, Eat, Eat!
For such a small place, Lyttelton has an abundance of wonderful cafes and restaurants. It was a delight to spend our weekends exploring the different foods and excellent coffee. The Lyttelton Coffee Company has my vote for coffee, Bomba makes some of the best pizza you’ll ever try (and all made by one of the friendliest people in town), and for a few other places to get yourself to make sure to head to Forty Two – the restaurant of a good friend of mine; Super for awesome cocktails and asian inspired food; and Fisherman’s Wharf for fresh seafood right on the water.
3. Take the Ferry to Diamond Harbour
Every hour throughout the day (and even then sometimes more frequently) a small little ferry makes the seven minute hop across the harbour to picturesque diamond harbour. An even tinier town, with beautiful views, loads of walks, and a lovely little eatery to sit and enjoy a coffee. This also happens to be where my family are, so I love it for personal reasons, too! But it’s a wonderful trip to make if you want to explore more of the beautiful banks peninsula.