Port Lyttelton is the cruise port serving Christchurch - the largest city on New Zealand's South Island. The seaport is located to the southeast of the city. Christchurch has population around 375,000, ranking it NZ's 3rd largest urban area - after Auckland and Wellington.
Lyttelton (cruise port to Christchurch) is a port town located on the eastern coast of South Island (New Zealand). The cruise port Lyttelton Harbour is at Banks Peninsula's northwestern end. The distance from Lyttelton to Christchurch is approx 12 km (7,5 mi) - to the northwest. The town covers a total area of approx 15 km2 (5,6 mi2) and has population around 3,000 (including the neighbouring Cass Bay, Corsair Bay, and Rapaki.
Lyttelton Harbour and Akaroa Harbour are the two major inlets of Banks Peninsula (Canterbury, NZ). The harbor has length approx 15 km (9,3 mi) from its mouth to Teddington. Like Akaroa Harbour, Lyttelton is the caldera of an extinct volcano,
Lyttelton is linked with Christchurch by 1-track rail tunnel (1867-opened), also by 2-lane road tunnel (1964-opened) and 2 roads. Near Lyttelton Harbour's head is located Quail Island (nature reserve), and to the south is Ripapa Island.
Christchurch NZ is the seat of Canterbury Region. The urban area is on the eastern coast of South Island NZ, and north of Banks Peninsula. The city was named on March 27, 1848. On July 31, 1856, it received the city status (declared by Royal Charter), officially making it the oldest established city in NZ.
Avon River flows through downtown. An urban park is situated along the river banks. the city is distinctively English, with various European elements and featuring Gothic Revival architecture. As New Zealand's early settlers, Maori culture is also widespread. The town has a lot of public spaces, cafes, bars and restaurants in the centre and also in the surrounding suburbs.
The large number of parks and residential gardens has given Christchurch the name "The Garden City". Hagley Park and Christchurch Botanic Gardens are in the central part. Hagley Park serves as a site for sporting events, including golf, netball, rugby, cricket, as well as for open-air live concerts performed by local orchestras and bands.
To the north is Willowbank (wildlife park). An ecological restoration program to create a wetland (Travis Wetland) is to the east of the city centre (in the Burwood suburb).
Lyttelton is the main seaport of Canterbury (Christchurch) area since 1877. During the 1970s, Lyttelton was one of South Island's main ports upgraded for containerization. Its container terminal was inaugurated in 1977. Most of South Island's coal cargo is shipped from Lyttelton. The port also has a petroleum storage terminal and large container / bulk cargo terminal.
Port Lyttelton has been historically regarded as "Gateway to Canterbury" by its colonial settlers. The port is a regular travel destination for NZ cruise ships. It is South Island's principal cargo port (goods transport terminal) handling around 61% of all imports and 34% of all exports by value.
In 2009, NZHPT (New Zealand Historic Places Trust) gave Lyttelton the status "Category I Historic Area". Lyttelton is the biggest settlement on Lyttelton Harbour. The harbor waterway is an inlet on Banks Peninsula's northwestern side. The town is on Port Hills' lower slopes that separate it from Christchurch City. A road tunnel through Port Hills links Lyttelton with Christchurch (to the northwest). Sumner Town is approx 6 km (3,7 mi) to the northeast, and is accessed through Evans Pass. Governors Bay is approx 10 km (6,2 mi) to the west.
Much of Lyttelton's architectural heritage was lost in the 2010-2011 earthquakes. Damages were considered too extensive for reconstruction. Town's oldest churches have also collapsed, among which was the Holy Trinity Avonside.
Following the earthquakes, for several years cruise ships instead of in Lyttelton docked in Akaroa. Regularly scheduled ferries link Lyttelton with Diamond Harbour (on the harbour's southern coast). The uninhabited Quail Island is southwest of Lyttelton.
In June 2018 started construction works on Port Lyttelton's new cruise berth (completed in November 2020). The USD 67 million facility is located between Inner Harbour's entrance and Cashin Quay. It became NZ's first custom-built cruise terminal with capacity to handle world's largest passenger ships. The new berth is designed to withstand earthquakes and waves generated from storms and northwest winds typical for the region. Terminal's existing berth will continue to be used by smaller-sized vessels. On November 16, at the new berth docked MS Professor Khromov (fka Spirit of Enderby). The operated under charter Russian ice-strengthened ship departed from Vladivostok Russia carrying only crew (22 Russians) who remained in isolation onboard for 43 days total. Professor Khromov then continued to Invercargill (NZ's southernmost and westernmost city) to pick up its first cruisers for the voyage to Stewart Island and Fiordland NP.
For season 2019, the cruise port had scheduled 19 ship calls.
Lyttelton-Christchurch cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Christchurch NZ dock in Lyttelton Harbour (at port's Inner harbor). The pier is located at short walking distance from downtown. Lyttelton Port Authority provides complimentary shuttle bus service between the cruise terminal and the tourist info center in downtown Lyttelton. The port has 2 dedicated cruise berths and capacity to dock two liners simultaneously.
Most cruise companies offer complimentary shuttle buses to Christchurch City's center. From Lyttelton, cruise passengers can also take public Bus Route 28 (Papanui-Lyttelton-Rapaki) to Christchurch. Bus travel time is approx 30 min.
New Lyttelton cruise ship pier
On May 1, 2017, Lyttelton Port Company announced its plans to construct a new cruise ship pier (berthing / docking facility) in Lyttelton. The completed in 2020 facility is Christchurch's first purposely-built cruise ship dock with capacity to accommodate the world's biggest cruise liners. The new cruise berth is designed to accommodate vessels even of the RCI's Oasis-class - LOA length 362 m, weight 225,282 GT tons, capacity over 5400 passengers plus 2400 crew.
Previously, as Port Lyttelton was unable to handle large cruise vessels, they docked in Akaroa instead. Construction works were initially scheduled for completion by 2019 but the project was extended through November 2020.
NZ's cruise industry has worth of around AUD 490 million to the country's economy (season 2016–2017 statistics).
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