Lyttelton is a port town on the north shore of Lyttelton Harbour, at the north-western end of Banks Peninsula and close to Christchurch, on the eastern coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
Due to its establishment as a landing point for Christchurch-bound seafarers, Lyttelton has historically been regarded as the "Gateway to Canterbury" for colonial settlers. The port remains a regular destination for cruise liners and is the South Island's principal goods transport terminal.In 2009 Lyttelton was awarded Category I Historic Area status by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) defined as "an area of special or outstanding historical or cultural heritage significance or value".
Lyttelton is the largest settlement on Lyttelton Harbour, an inlet on the north-western side of Banks Peninsula extending 18 km inland from the southern end of Pegasus Bay. The town is situated on the lower slopes of the Port Hills, which form the northern side of the harbour and effectively separate Lyttelton from the city of Christchurch.This steep-sided crater rim acts as a natural amphitheatre and a boundary to urban development.
A tunnel through the Port Hills provides direct road access to Christchurch, 12 km to the north-west. The town of Sumner, some 6 km to the north-east, is accessed via Evans Pass. Another settlement at Governors Bay lies 10 km to the west and a ferry service connects the suburb of Diamond Harbour on the southern shore of the harbour.The uninhabited Quail Island sits in the upper harbour southwest of Lyttelton.
► The town is linked to Christchurch by railway and road tunnels through the Port Hills. At 1.9 km long, the Lyttelton road tunnel (opened in 1964) is the country's longest road tunnel.