Towards the end

Our next port was Lyttleton, the gateway to Christchurch.

Part of Lyttleton harbour

We had visited Christchurch on our last trip via Akaroa, because Lyttleton port was still out of action due to the earthquake.
When we booked this cruise we were hoping that we would visit Christchurch via Akaroa again because during our last visit Akaroa was just a transit place to board the coach for Christchurch.
Akaroa looked an interesting place with the French influence due to Jean Langlois buying land from twelve local Maori Chiefs. Langlois planned to resell the land to French settlers back in France.

The original name of Lyttleton was Port Cooper after Daniel Cooper (1785-1853) from Bolton in Lancashire UK who was convicted at Chester for theft. He was transported for life and became a very successful businessman. His life story reads like a novel.
Later Lyttleton became known as Port Victoria until 1858 when it was formalised by the Governor as Lyttleton, after George William Lyttleton.

Map of Lyttleton in 1849

Lyttleton’s main shopping street (London Street)

Because we had seen Christchurch Maureen wanted to see more of Lyttleton, the last time I visited Lyttleton was in the 1960’s and it did not look like it had changed all that much, except for the closure of a few pubs due to the earthquake.

                                                       London Street

There were quite a few passengers from the Majestic Princess who had the same idea, so we joined the queue for the local shuttle bus rather than the Christchurch shuttle. At least the Lyttleton bus was free, and the journey was less than five minutes.

We walked the shopping street – both sides – and returned to the drop-off point.

You can see how close we were to the ship -on the left is one of the shuttle buses. 

We had hoped to walk to the Time Ball clock that had been repaired after being damaged during the earthquake.

The above shows what the Time Ball looked like before the earthquake. The whole building, including the tower, was reduced to rubble during the earthquake.

 The Time Ball had been in use since 1876 and up to 1934 was the only way mariners could check their chronometers to assist in accurate navigation.
In 1934 the time ball was replaced by radio signals. 
After the earthquake all the stones were rescued and numbered and the tower was able to be reconstructed, but unfortunately not the original building.

                                                  The current Time Ball
The climb to the view the Time Ball was all too much for Maureen, so we made our way back to the ship. 

I was hoping to take Maureen to the Mitre Hotel, which first opened in 1849 but was destroyed by fire in 1875 and rebuilt.
In November 1910 Captain Robert Falcon Scott had his farewell dinner in the ballroom of this hotel. 

Captain Scott and his wife Kathleen aboard Terra Nova 1910.

In the 1960’s I had experienced some happy times over drinks in this hotel, so I was disappointed that the hotel was no longer in business, all due to the earthquake.  

The last I heard was that the owners were asking for permission to knock the place down due to the high cost of repair. 

Simple answer to a simple question – where shall we go for a drink before lunch, the Mitre Hotel is closed so we will try the Majestic.

The view was pleasant, and lunch was ready when we wanted it . . . 


Our next port of call was to be Port Chalmers for Dunedin – once again we had visited Dunedin on our last visit and decided not to repeat the experience, because last time it rained, and the forecast for our visit was again, rain.

I took the above as we approached Port Chalmers – dramatic & beautiful, but not site seeing weather.

It was raining when we arrived in Port Chalmers. We, (as did many others), stayed on board, warm and dry.   

Akaroa & Lyttelton


Entering Akaroa, which in English means ‘Long Harbour’.

Our ship anchored off the small port and used the ship’s tenders to get the passengers ashore.


The wharf where we were dropped off by the tenders.


A beautiful area where I just couldn’t stop taking pictures – I only wish my photographic skill had been better.

I’d booked a local travel company to show us around – one because he was cheaper than the cruise company, and two because his mini-bus could only take about eight to ten people, so getting on and off would be a lot quicker and the driver / guide would be a lot more personal than on a fifty six seater coach.

During our trip I found out a little about the area.
Jean François Langlois, was a Frenchman who made his living in whaling.. He ‘bought’ tracts of land from the local Maori people for about £6 worth of goods, and later a further £234 worth, before returning to France to sell land in lots to French migrants. When all had been sold he and his migrants set sail for New Zealand.

In the meantime the British had found out about the plan and they claimed the area around Akaroa as British territory – par for the course at that time.

Anyway, on their arrival the French migrants decided to stay and Akaroa now has a strong French influence even after 180 years .

220px-akaroafrnamesStreet names have a mix of English and French.

dsc07964rFrench baker and the French flag can bee seen flying over various buildings.


Even the local police station has a French influence, but with Kiwi policemen inside.

Many of the decedents of the original sixty three French emigrants still live and work in Akaroa, and their family names have not been anglicized.

Along with the Dawn Princess the Seabourne Encore was also anchored in the harbor.

dsc07959rDawn Princess on the left and the Seabourne Encore on the right.

Our mini-bus had to wait for a couple of passengers off the Seabourne Encore so Maureen and I had a look around.


The lighthouse is now a museum.


A little warmer than Wellington! Picture taken from the lighthouse looking back to the wharf.

dsc07968rOn leaving Akaroa for Lyttelton, before making our way to Christchurch, the route took us around the furthest point that the harbor stretched inland. As you see the tide was ‘out’.

dsc07974rcA short time later we began the climb to cross the local hills that surrounded the harbour.


DSC07980rc.jpgTaken from the bus as we climbed – the picture is looking back at Akaroa harbor.


A comfort stop at a small village / town called Little River.


The work man was maintaining the museum piece – the station is close to trains.


London Street in Lyttelton today – the town was knocked about by the earthquakes, which is why cruise ships no longer call here. I was last here in the late 60’s and only had vague memories of this street until I saw a large photograph on a board. I took a photograph of the photograph.


This I recognized – a pub that we used to visit.


The pub was demolished, (the above shows what it left) due to it being damaged after an earthquake. I read that the after shocks caused more damage to this building than the actual earthquake. The pub was over a hundred years old when it was damaged, but the cost to restore it was too high, and leaving it was a threat to public safety.

At the end of London Street we came across a temporary replacement for a missing building


This is now a bar called the ‘Port Hole’ – made from two shipping containers – not sure if it is still in business.

On the road out of Lyttelton we passed The Mitre Pub,  (see photo below) which was the closest pub to where we docked when I was at sea.
At the end of a day of working cargo, and the shore-side ‘Dockers’ had left,  we used to visit this pub and we would often see some of the crew off a Danish ship of the Maersk Line.
I think the Maersk Line ships were ‘dry’ i.e they were not allowed to drink alcohol while on board, so when the crew went ashore . . .  let’s just say they were noisy.
After a few beers the singing would start and the one song they would always sing was  Maersky Submarine – they replaced the word yellow with Maersk – funny how certain places bring back memories.


I wouldn’t mind, but Marsk Line ships didn’t have any yellow colouring.


Leaving Lyttelton we used the tunnel through the hills rather than climbing the hills, to take us to Christchurch.

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