Where to go
Lyttelton has many places to see. A look at the map will detail where all of the important bits are to be found.
On the left of the map is the road off to Govenors Bay and further on to Diamond Harbour. The middle has bits such as the cemetary and main street of London Street. The right side includes the Time Ball station and road the goes over the hill to Sumner.
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
There are three major tracks up the hill that can be accessed from Lyttelton. The Bridle Path is the most well known being the track that the Settlers used. The other two are Stan Helms Track (incl the Whaka Raupo lookout) and Major Hornbrook track (to the Gondola). You don't need any special gear other then some comfortable walking shoes and your water bottle. If you do the whole of the Bridle path and get a bit tired you can catch the bus back into Lyttelton on Bridle Path Rd (Heathcote - beside the domain).
The tracks start at the end of Lyttelton streets;
Major Hornbrook = Somes Rd
Stan Helms = Harmans Rd
Bridle Path = Bridle Path Rd
Lyttelton Gaol (Jail)
The old Gaol is only ruins now and is part of Lyttelton Main school. All that is left are some old steps and the Rose Garden at the back of the playing fields. This site is important as it forms part of NZ's penal history.
The Gaol started out as an institution for mentally unstable people and bankrupts plus the worst criminals in 1860. The place became the site of much NZ history with 7 hangings including 1 woman. The inmates were responsible for most of the roads around the Lyttelton harbour area as they did hard labour as punishment. The inmates also built the holding cells (if you can call them that) on Quail Island for the Lepper colony and the Timeball Station.
The old Timeball station has overlooked Lyttelton since 1876 when its building by local prisoners was completed. From late December 1876 the timeball was dropped every day at 1p.m., except when there were high winds. After May 1877, Alexander Joyce became the first timeball keeper to be appointed at Lyttelton (I would love to see THAT position description!!). The station used to have an astronomical clock but this was sent to Wellington & each day the time to drop the ball was sent via tetegraph!!
Apparently, so my father tells me, the place became a run down unit after it was stopped being used in the 1930's. It wasn't until 1978 that the station was restored.
In its current form the Timeball drops at 1pm every day that the station is open - which is all summer & Wednesday to Sunday in winter.
Diamond Harbour Day-trip
A nice day trip from Lyttelton is taking the ferry to Diamond Harbour. DH is a quiet place with a couple of nice eating spots including Godley House. You can catch the ferry from the Lyttelton warf just down and to the left of the historic Signal Box.
The Timeball station is part of Lyttelton's historic past and is one of the easiest landmarks to see. It's open daily in Summer & Wed to Sun in Winter (May to Sept). The Timeball mechanism drops at 1pm every day that the station is open.
Entry cost is Adult: $7, Child/Student: $2 or Family: $15 - I think this is 2 + 2.
Historic Tug "Lyttleton"
This historic Tugboat was built in Glascow, Scotland in 1907 and brought under her own steam to Lyttleton.
She's been working in tourism as a passenger vessel since 1973. You can take a cruise in the harbor onboard.
Like the timeball in Greenwich, New York or Washington DC, this one was used to measure the accuracy of the navigator's chronometer.
Each day, at 1300 local (not 1300 Greenwich time, as Lonely Planet indicates) the ball drops with a loud bang, to indicate the exact time.
Winter delight :-(
you better take care and don't get distracted.....it is a very populare road for Bikers, lot of bends and curves...from the seaside of Sumner, by car takes about 10min to Lyttelton
- Road Trip
Stroll down London St
London St, on street up from the one on the waterfront (Norwich) is the main street of Lyttelton and includes the supermarket, Wunderbar (above the supermarket) and several nice cafes.
I'm not exactly sure of the name of this street, but it's in the center of the small town, and it's the 'main' street.
Lyttleton Timeball Station
Unfortunately it was closed when we were there, but I still enjoyed looking at the castle-like building, set high on a hill.
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