Entering the port of Lyttelton, New Zealand

Entering the port of Lyttelton

Lyttelton Harbour, also known as Whakaraupo, lies in the SW corner of the Pegasus Bay, on the NW side of Banks Peninsula, in the South Island of New Zealand. Situated on an inner harbour in the middle of the North side of Lyttelton Harbour, Lyttelton is a custom and fishing port and a port of entry. It is the principal port of the Canterbury Region of New Zealand and it is situated about 12 miles to the NW from the city of Christchurch.

The harbour is approached through Pegasus Bay, between Motunau Island and East Head of Banks Peninsula. The entry is between Godley Head and Adderley Head.




Pilot boards at ~ 2 miles NE of Godley Head.



Lyttelton Harbour, formed by the crater of an extinct volcano, extends about 8 miles WSW from the entrance and is about 1 mile wide.

Port of Lyttelton New Zealand

It then opens out to form a basin about 3 miles wide. From within the entrance a dredged channel leads through the East part of the harbour to Cashin Quay and thence to the entrance of Lyttelton Port.

approaching Lyttelton Harbour


The vessel can get starboard side or portside along the pier in the Port of Lyttelton. One complete swinging – usually to starboard side – is always required and this maneuver can be done while berthing or unberthing, depending on the state of the sea and wind and upon pilot’s recommendation.

Berthing starboard side alongside is a very simple and short maneuver as the vessel is gently pushed alongside by the tugs – both of them fast on the starboard side, one in the aft and one forward.


When berthing portside alongside, the vessel swings to starboard side with the help of two tugs – one pulling forward and another one pushing in the aft. After swinging is complete, the vessel is slowly pushed alongside by both tugs until arrives in the desired position.

IF– Tug pulling in the starboard side shoulder –

IF– Tug pushing in the starboard side quarter –

IF– Getting portside alongside –

Lyttelton portside alongside

If you are interested, you can watch Entering the Port of Lyttelton Maneuver here.

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