Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Bays

Explore some of Christchurch's loveliest sheltered bays with these classic coastal walks.

Find out about safe swimming around the Lyttelton Bays.



Set in the natural amphitheatre of an ancient volcanic crater, Lyttelton Harbour is a popular recreational hub easily accessed from Christchurch.

The most direct route is to take the Lyttelton tunnel, getting you to Lyttelton in less than 20 minutes from the central city. There is also a scenic drive to Lyttelton over the Port Hills via Dyers Pass Road. 

Metroinfo(external link) has up to date bus information.


The various walks around the Lyttelton bays have different rules regarding dogs depending on the wildlife and season.

Check the individual walk pages below or the dog bylaw map for detailed information.


Public toilets can be found at multiple spots in the township, Godley Quay, Naval Point, Corsair and Cass Bays.


The bays

The harbour and surrounding bays of Magazine, Motukauatiiti/Corsair and Motukauatirahi/Cass offer opportunities for boating, swimming, fishing and coastal walks.

Magazine Bay is also home to the Torpedo Boat Museum which is housed in an old powder magazine and well worth a visit.

Corsair Bay has a pirate-themed playground and Cass Bay has a number of sandy coves and a flying fox.

Check out the beach map to find a spot to suit you.

Quail Island

Across the harbour from Lyttelton is Quail Island, accessible by ferry(external link).

Quail Island has a long and fascinating history that includes being used as a quarantine station, leper colony, influenza hospital and Antarctic dog training ground.

Take a 2.5 hour walk around the island to see the historic barracks building, ship graveyard and many birds and native plants.


The story of Lyttelton harbour starts some 6-11 million years ago when volcanic activity lead to the formation of two overlapping volcanoes. Eventually, the volcanic complex eroded away and deep valleys formed.

About 6000 years ago, the valleys were flooded as sea levels rose and formed the present day harbours of Lyttelton and Akaroa. High above the water are native bush and tussock covered bluffs created by lava flows.

There is a long history of Māori settlement in the area including around Lyttelton Harbour (Te Whakaraupō), Magazine (Tāpoa), Corsair (Motu-kauati-iti), Cass (Motu-kauati-rahi) and Rapaki. Read more about Māori history in the area at Christchurch City Libraries(external link).

The inner harbour is large, man made and enclosed by flat, linear headlands that have been heavily modified by Port industry over the years. 


Find a new adventure around the Lyttelton Bays on one of these fantastic walks:

Takiuru ki ā mātou ratonga
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