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.
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.