Over the river and through the woods, or rather over the hills and through the tunnel, will bring you to the coolest pocket of Christchurch - the beautiful yet delightfully weird world of Lyttelton.
When I first opened NODE in 2020 in Lyttelton, I heard from so many people in Christchurch that it was "too far away," and I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Lyttelton is about 15 minutes from the city centre in Christchurch; it's so much further to go from Papanui to Sumner. I reckon because you go have to go through the Lyttelton Tunnel to get here, people think it is so much further than it actually is. Once you pop out of the tunnel, you're greeted with the beautiful rolling Port Hills, the blue water of the harbour, and the historic cottages and houses perched up along the hillsides. It's charming as hell.
I can *literally* hear all the locals screaming at me to shut up right now. We all want to keep Lyttelton chill. But I can't resist sharing my take on Lyttelton after living here for a few years and opening up NODE here right in the heart of Lyttelton - 8 London Street, baby! Lyttelton is the perfect day trip from Christchurch, with so much to do, see and, of course, eat. And after dark, it gets even better with an epic music scene.
Here are our picks for our fave haunts and experiences in Lyttelton - enjoy!
1. Burn some calories and hit up the iconic Bridle Path
Lyttelton is the best base for exploring the famous Port Hills of Christchurch. With heaps of walks to choose from, you're spoiled for choices, and all guarantee a fab view over the beautiful bay and harbour. For the best of the best when it comes to views, you've got to tackle the Bridle Path. Originally the route was constructed in 1850 for Canterbury's first European settlers travelling between Lyttelton and Christchurch, it's a steep but beautiful climb up from the Heathcote Valley over the summit and down into Lyttelton - one hour's walk one way. You can skip the climb and take the gondola up and walk down into Lyttelton. There are buses back and forth too.
If you're looking for something flatter, then try the Lyttelton Coastal walk, which follows a trail along from town to Corsair Bay and Cass Bay, finishing just before Rapaki (where I used to live). It's just beautiful!
2. Sneak in for a coffee or two at Spooky Boogie
Groovy, cool, possibly the best coffee in town - Spooky Boogie is our number one coffee spot for us at NODE. Now picking a favourite cafe is bound to start a fight, but for us, Spooky always delivers the best of the best. Locally owned and operated, it mixes pop art and culture with perfect coffee beans they roast themselves. I love mid-afternoon walks when I can smell the coffee roasting!
Besides fab coffee, you can browse and pick up some really cool treasures, from imported Japanese toys to epic stickers and patches. The walls are always decorated with local art for sale. It's definitely a vibe.
3. Hit up the Saturday Farmer's Market
Saturday mornings are a veritable hive of activity in Lyttelton. Lyttelton definitely shines when it's busy with the market. The thriving farmers' market attracts a host of locals and visitors every Saturday morning from 10 am - 1 pm right here on London Street. Usually, we have a coffee pop-up stall right in front of NODE - wahoo!
With heaps of perfect produce, homemade bread, and all kinds of stalls and shops, it's the perfect spot to spend a Saturday. There's also live music for entertainment as you stroll down London street and soak up the atmosphere.
4. Hop on the ferry over to Diamond Harbour
A classic Lyttelton experience is hopping on the fast ferry over to Diamond Harbour - there's a growing number of people who live out here and commute to Lyttelton and Christchurch by ferry. A beautiful, quiet village perfect for a walk or a swim. You can go for a wander and check out the sculptures on Stoddart Point and grab an ice cream or coffee from the cafe at the village centre while soaking up the laid-back lifestyle of the Banks Peninsula.
Black Cat Cruises operates the ferry but also runs boat trips to Quail Island and a wildlife cruise of the harbour. P.S did you know that Lyttelton is home to Hectors dolphins – one of the smallest and rarest in the world?
5. Hang with friends over pizza at Arbour
A glasshouse pizzeria with clear ceilings and a repurposed 120-year-old fishing boat turned into the bar, Arbour Pizza is cosy and inviting, and I haven’t even mentioned the houseplants yet, many of which started at NODE. One of our fave spots for lunches or dinners, it's an epic spot to feel like you're in a jungle.
6. Grab a cheeky drink or two at Civil & Naval
What does it say about us that our favourite bar slash kitchen is right next door to NODE? Where we have a running tab, Civil & Naval is about as hipster and amazing as it gets without feeling pretentious or fake. A Lyttelton institution and a beloved local favourite, you'll find this place full day or night with an impressive array of local Canterbury craft beer. And did we mention the fried chicken? Because damn, it's amazing.
7. Come hang with us at NODE
Home to the most stylish space for plant-loving folk, here at NODE in Lyttelton, we always promise to delight and surprise. If you haven't managed to visit us yet, as quoted by Lizzo, well, it's about damn time! We are always shaking things up with new designer houseplants, epic homewares, local crafts, as well as workshops and pop-ups every weekend. We promise you won't regret a visit, though your wallet might!
So, what are you waiting for? Pick up that phone, holla at your friends a holla, and come on over to Lyttelton and its surrounding bays! Don't forget to pop in at NODE and say hello!