Earthquake update June 2011
Since the February earthquake only the #28 bus is operating at a limited schedule, meaning every 30 minutes. It leaves at .20 and .50 past the hour.
Also the route has changed as Christchurch's CBD is cordoned off. Terminal in Christchurch now is Parkside, at Hagley Park South, near the hospital.
More info on my Christchurch page and on www.metroinfo.org.nz
Two public buses of the Metro System service Lyttelton. Both routes start/pass at the Christchurch Bus Exchange in Colombo St. Both buses also stop at the Gondola which is the last stop before the Lyttelton Road Tunnel if coming from Christchurch, and the first stop after the tunnel, coming from Lyttelton.
The most frequent route is bus #28. During the week and the day it starts every 15 minutes, at other times every 30 minutes.
Bus #35 is less frequent. It has a different route and passes by the eastern suberbs with a stop at East Gate, the Linwood shopping mall, and it is perfect if you want to stop at the Ferrymead Heritage Park. Right there it leaves the coastal route and turns towards Heathcote and the Gondola.
If you just want to go to the Gondola and/or Lyttelton just take the bus which arrives first. The journey takes about the same time. The #28 bus is red, the #35 bus blue.
As both buses are part of the Metro system (see more information on my Christchurch page) a single trip costs NZ$2.50. The ticket is valid for one transfer within 2hrs, also for the way back if you start the trip within those 2hrs.
When the pioneers settled in Canterbury, railway constructions in England had just reached their boom time. A tunnel would have solved the problem of getting the bulky luggage from the port in Lyttelton to Christchurch city. In the early days this was ferried around Godley Head to Ferrymead, and many rafts capsized and the goods were lost.
Although Christchurch did not even have a railway, the extremely costly tunnel project (200,000 pounds at the end) went ahead.
Work began in 1860, but the English contractors gave up when they struck the extremely hard volcanic rock. So an Australian contractor was hired, and his men started work at the Heathcote end of the tunnel in July 1861.
The two ends, one coming from Lyttelton and the other from Heathcote, met exactly as planned on 24 May 1867, when an iron rod was passed through. On 10 June 1867 people walked through the 2.7 km long tunnel. It was officially opened for passenger traffic on 9 December 1867. It took less than seven minutes to make the trip through the hill. It was New Zealand's first rail tunnel, and for many years the longest. It was the first tunnel in the world to be driven through the side of an extinct volcano.
By the time the tunnel opened, Christchurch had a railway. In April 1863 the Pilgrim, a broad-gauge locomotive, had arrived from Melbourne. A line was built from the wharf to Ferrymead, and on 1 December 1863, New Zealand's first passenger line opened. The railway station was on Moorhouse Ave (which got its name later).
It took another 101 (a hundred and one!) years until a two-lane road tunnel connected Christchurch and Lyttelton. It was opened in February 1964. Before then, all road traffic went over Evans Pass (which is the scenic road from Lyttelton to Sumner, along the harbour). In the early years motorists had to pay tolls to help cover the cost of the tunnel. Now the toll plaza is used by police for alcohol controls, as there is absolutely no escape way for motorists who have had one or more drinks too many.
On the passenger ferry it takes just 10 minutes to get from Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour. Of course, you would be more flexible if you had your car in Diamond Harbour but this trip can take you 25 to 30 minutes from Lyttelton.
You do not get to Diamond Harbour by public transport, other than the ferry. The buses go only as far as Rapaki which is just some kilometres from Lyttelton on the road along the harbour, and the service is not frequent at all. Just consider the bus service ending at Lyttelton, as a rule of thumb.
If you want to go to Diamond Harbour for a coffee or meal at Godley House, or the Clifftop Walk or the big day walk up Mt. Herbert you do not need a car, the ferry is totally fine. It departs about once per hour until 3pm and more frequently after 3pm.
A single trip costs NZ$5 (as Feb. 2007).
If you plan to use the ferry and the bus consider getting the Metro Card which makes every trip cheaper (the ferry trip would cost only $3.75), and on the bus the maximum daily fare would be $3.80 instead of paying $2.50 every two hours for your trips.
You get the card at the Bus Exchange. Please check more info on my Christchurch website, and on the Metro website.
and had to make sure the traffic did not get disturbed....a flashlight inside the Tunnel, well I took my chances and I think it has come out....but I didn't keep the camera even. but it was fun and might do it again
the ride is 2km long and in the middle nearly pitsch black, just the parkinglights from the cars and dim bulbs from the ceiling and the siderails...once I drove in with my shades on..well that was a little tricky ride, till I realised what to do
The tunnel was completed in 1972 and was a major step forward for the moving of freight and people through to Christchurch. The locals will tell you that it let too many 'townies' in.