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The port town of Lyttelton is on the north-western side of Banks Peninsula. Its deep harbour is an ancient volcanic crater - steep hills rise from the sides of the harbour to a height of 500 metres. The town is linked to Christchurch by a road tunnel that runs through the Port Hills. At 1.9 kilometres long, the Lyttelton Road Tunnel is the country's longest.
Historically, Lyttelton played a crucial role in the settlement of Canterbury. In 1848 the Canterbury Association was formed and its mission was to found a Church of England colony in New Zealand. Lyttelton was chosen because of its suitability as a port and the availability of a large area of flat land just over the hill - the extensive Canterbury Plains. The first four ships of immigrants arrived soon after the dock was constructed.
The old stone dry dock remains, and is the last of its kind in the South Island. Lyttelton makes a great day trip from Christchurch. It has an excellent variety of restaurants, shops and cafes. Local operators can take you cruising on the harbour to view local sea and birdlife or to visit the nearby Quail Island.