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Funky little Lyttelton. It's a place I was introduced to by a friend, who was born and bred in Christchurch. On the way back to Christchurch from a daytrip to Akaroa, he suggested we stop by in Lyttelton.
Where? I asked. The place wasn't on my radar at all. But, as I soon found out, it really does not only make a great stopover en route to the Banks Peninsula, but deserves a visit in itself, even just for an afternoon.
Lyttelton is essentially the port of Christchurch and a settlement of about 3000 people, and perhaps fresh in people's minds as the epicentre of Christchurch's 2011 earthquake. What most visitors don't know, however, is that Lyttelton has quite an artsy crowd and an organic vibe, and its very own farmers' market.
The farmers market takes place in central Lyttelton, not far from the ferry, on Saturdays, from 10 am to 1 pm. It is located just off Oxford Street, which is not far from the ferry terminal that crosses over to Diamond Harbour.
In fact, it's a great place to have a late breakfast - how about a hot chocolate from She Chocolat? The latter are a local outfit from Governors Bay nearby. Their seducing concoctions feature a fine hot chocolate with chili (I believe it was called the Mayan spice), or handmade chocolates with lavender.
Of course you'll find plenty of other stands to complete your breakfast experience with. From artisan breads to dried cured meat from Canterbury Biltong for the meat lover, there are lots of yummy foods to choose from.
Fancy a bit of locally produced jam with your croissant? Perhaps Peninsula Preserves could tempt you with one of their delicious marmalades, jams or chutneys. There's plenty of fresh produce from the region around too, so those fruit and veggie enthusiasts will feel right at home.
And on top of that, there's also a flea market in the grounds next to the farmers market once in a while. There are great bargains to be found, from second hand books to home decorations and various clothing stands. It's a curious little bargain paradise right in the heart of this versatile little town. It's a port town, with a great cafe culture, a local community that is all about sustainability and organic growing of fruit and veg. A great place to get to know the real New Zealand!
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