Welcome to Banks Peninsula, home of The Hector’s dolphins and eco-tourism pioneers Black Cat Cruises

Category Archives: Diamond Harbour Ferry


The best of Diamond Harbour

Have you ever been to Diamond Harbour? Better yet, have you ever been to Diamond Harbour and enjoyed the delicious fresh food from the Preserved Eatery? Well today we have an unbeatable deal that is currently live on Treat Me.

For just $13.90 you will get a return ticket on the Diamond Harbour Ferry PLUS a $10 voucher to put towards food at Diamond Harbours renowned Preserved Eatery.

The Diamond Harbour Ferry usually costs $13 just on it’s own so thanks to Metro and the Preserved Eatery partnering together you’re pretty much getting a tasty treat on us.

The single price is set for both adults and children. It’s a perfect day out for the Christchurch kids school holidays!

Please do be advised that tickets are selling like hot cakes and are limited so grab one while you can…

Find Out More

For the Diamond Harbour Ferry departure times click here

To find out more about the Preserved cafe click here


Kids Cruise Free in Akaroa

Don’t forget that during the July school holidays we are offering a Kids Cruise Free promotion on our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise! Under 5’s cruise for free all year round with Black Cat Cruises, however over the July school holiday we are giving away free child spots (5-15 years old) when a child is accompanied by a full paying adult.

Live Sunday Sessions at Diamond Harbour this Summer…..

Wondering what to do in Christchurch this summer? Well we have the answer….grab some friends or the family and jump on the Diamond Harbour Ferry to cruise across Lyttleton Harbour and enjoy one of the many ‘Sunday Sessions’ planned this summer….

Live at the point

The annual summer series of Live at the Point kicked off with a mixture of gospel, country and generally sweet music from The Eastern on the 3rd January 2016. They then follow with the dates below…

  • January 2016:
  • 17th – Phoebe Leyten and Nomad
  • 24th – Fiona Pears
  • 31st – the Brooms
  • February 2016:
  • 7th – Lindon Puffin
  • 14th – Los Farsantes

It’s the perfect afternoon escape for local Christchurch folk or for people with friends and family visiting Christchurch…and best of all it’s completey free

For up to date info, pics and more check them out on Facebook

The series was started a few years back after a group of local folk came together (any locals are welcome!) who have an interest in supporting the post-earthquake recovery of our community. The group has been established as a sub-committee of the Diamond Harbour Community Association and is known as SPRIG (Stoddart Point Regeneration Ideas Group). SPRIG includes representatives from all the local residents associations, and seeks to work with all local groups. Thier membership is fluid and if you have an idea or wish to support a project then you are welcome to join for them as long as suits you, or just tell them what you think

Sign up for newsletters info@sprig.org.nz

Phoebe Leyten and Nomad

17 January 2016

Phoebe Leyten

Soul singer-songwriter and recording artist Phoebe Leyten also goes under the name Lelijveld to showcase her magical mix of funk, blues and soul music.” https://www.facebook.com/Lelijveld-1431283623785233/


Christchurch teens, Nomad, have been winning over unsuspecting audiences, show by show. They opened for Fly My Pretties, Marlon Williams and Benny Tipene, and have played Lazy Sundays, Music in Parks Auckland, Festival of Lights New Plymouth and Queenstown Winterfestival. Aasha Mallard, Will McGillivray and Cullen Kiesanowski formed a band at school in Christchurch as 15-year olds and their differing musical tastes collide to shape their alt-pop/folk sound. They have just released the undeniably-catchy ‘Love Will Call’, written with Benny Tipene. Their debut, ‘I Will Find You’, was produced by Dave Dobbyn (who also features on guitar) and went to No 8 in the NZ singles chart.

Fiona Pears

24 January 2016

‘Electrifying’ – ‘extraordinarily animated’-‘featuring rare and natural charisma’.. These are words used to describe Fiona Pears, the highly talented violinist and composer from Christchurch. Together with her talented band, featuring Ian Tilley on piano, Pete Fleming on double bass and Mike Ferrar on guitar, Fiona will perform music from her own exciting compositions as well as some well known favorites. Expect a fiery melting pot of flavours! New Zealand born and now based in Christchurch after spending the last 10 years performing internationally, Fiona’s personal highlights include appearing at Ronnie Scott’s world famous jazz club in London and performing her own compositions and arrangements with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Fiona has released six CDs and two DVDs to date. Her latest CD Swing Driven Thing was released in 2014 and is a mixture of her own compositions alongside passionate gypsy jazz. Fiona has also performed as a soloist with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra. She is also a guest performer on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary cruises. http://www.fionapears.com

The Brooms

31 January 2016

Formed early 2013, the Brooms offer an eclectic repertoire of song covers ranging from country folk to pop and blues. Having a concealed number of years between them, their acoustic sound is diverse and infectious. Not 4, not 10, but up to as many as 14 strings plucked in poetic unison on bass, guitars and violin – yes – all this combined with lush vocal harmonies!

Lindon puffin

7 February 2016

Born in Christchurch and raised in Picton, Puffin first rose to national prominence as frontman of glam rock group The Puffins in the mid nineties. His music has been described as ‘a blend of heartfelt acoustic, country, rock and folk music’ and with a sound that compares to Chris Knox, Elvis Costello, and Morrissey.

Los Farsantes

14 February 2016

Los Farsantes (translated The Impostors) has become one of the most popular Latin bands to hail from “The Garden City” Christchurch, New Zealand, with their sonic melting pot of classic rock mixed with contagious latin rhythms and percussion. https://www.facebook.com/losfarsanteschch/

Diamond Harbour Photo Contest

Last Friday saw the close of our Diamond Harbour Photo competition and the start of our new competition Vote & Win! (see below)


We had some fantastic entries to the Diamond Harbour contest so thank you to everyone who entered, voted and shared. In total we had 99 entries to the competition and after hundreds of votes were cast the winning photo was awarded to Emma Aldous. Congratulations Emma, a $300 mac pac voucher is now yours!


The Winning shot by Emma Aldous

Diamond Harbour photo contest winner

Spot Prizes


It’s not the winning but the taking part that counts

Everyone loves a winner but we decided to award an extra 5 spot prizes along the way. You see we are nice like that! The prizes included mac pac gift vouchers, metro cards and gift vouchers to Freemans in Lyttelton. Check out our complete gallery of winners here….

Vote & Win! A luxury weekend in Akaroa…

Our new competition ‘Vote & Win!’ is a photography competition with a difference. We have edited a collection of 40 photos from our past competitions. All you have to do is vote on a photo and then you will be in with a chance of winning a luxury weekend in Akaroa. It’s a simple as that!

As well as giving away a weekend in Akaroa the photo with the most votes will be awarded a $500 Black Cat Cruises voucher. To start voting and find out more click here.


Lyttelton is just 13km from Christchurch and is a fantastic place to visit especially on a weekend.  Take the number 28 bus from Christchurch or its an easy 15 minute drive from central Christchurch.  This quirky historical town has seen much damage since the earthquakes in Canterbury but is definitely on the mend.  The locals are vibrant, fiercly loyal and very proactive when it comes to keeping their community alive and consequently there is always something going on in and around the township.

Lyttelton Harbour

13km from Christchurch

The Farmers market every Saturday morning from 10am-1pm is a must do and has become extremely popular with people travelling from afar to buy and sample delicious local goodies.  When you are done with purchasing your produce and fresh food for the week you can amble along to Oxford Street where there is a large community garage sale which also runs from 10am-1pm.

From there you will most probably be in need of lunch and refreshments to replenish your energy for the afternoons attractions.  Head to the Fishermans Wharf on Norwich Quay which is open 7 days a week for the best fish & chips or seafood chowder.  Or walk to Corsair Bay to Freemans Restaurant.

The afternoons activities could include a visit to the Torpedo Boat Museum open Tuesday/thursday/Saturday & Sunday or play a game of petanque on London Street.

Quail Island lookout

15 minute ferry ride from Lyttelton

One of best things to do in Lyttelton in the summer is to take a ferry from B Jetty on the wharf to Quail Island.  Black Cat Cruises run this ferry dailyfrom October to the end of April.  For more on Quail Island click here


Diamond Harbour is one of the sunniest and unspoilt destinations on Banks Peninsula and is great for a day trip. Getting there is easy, the best option is to take the Diamond Harbour Ferry from Lyttelton harbour (departs from B Jetty).  Black Cat Cruises run the ferry over there on a regular basis throughout the day.  check out the website for timetable information and more.

The Black Diamond boat

Diamond Harbour ferry video

Top things to do while there:-

Road and mountain biking has become one of the most popular activities for New Zealanders, mainly due to our fabulous scenery and relatively quiet roads and of course easy access to the countryside.  Take your bike on the ferry from Lyttelton (an extra $2 fee applies) and bike around Diamond Harbour and back to Lyttelton again.

Walking would be a close second to biking for most loved activities for locals and overseas visitors or maybe its the other way round! walk from the jetty to the fabulous new look Diamond Harbour Store, the food and coffee are quickly becoming legendary.  Once you have refreshed and re-energised there are plenty of wonderful walks to choose from including Mt Herbert (you will need all day for this one).  Ask the wonderful friendly staff at the store to point you in the right direction.

If excercising is not your thing, there are four wonderful beaches to choose from, Diamond Harbour beach, Paradise Bay, Purau and Camp Bay.  Pack a picnic, take the togs and relax!

There is a beautiful golf course at Charteris Bay with some wonderful views across the harbour and looking back at Lyttelton.


Here’s an updated list of what’s open in Christchurch after the earthquake – and also in the surrounding area. If you know other things please add them into the comments below so everyone knows!

Pop Up Mall

A revamped version of the Cashel Street mall was reopened at the end of October 2011. Temporary shops made from shipping containers make a colourful addition to city’s centre as it gradually reopens. The mall is home to 27 shops and is worth going to look at even if shopping is not on your agenda.


Black Cat Cruises

Stationed out in Akaraoa Harbour, the daily Black Cat cruise is a fantastic way to explore the area. There are cruises which are the best way to see the volcanic outer harbor and there is also the chance to see dolphins, seals and penguins in their natural habitat. There are also tours where you can swim with the dolphins. Just over an hour’s drive from Christchurch, Black Cat cruises are a perfect activity for all ages, and if you want to bring the kids along there are great rates for children.


McLeans Island

This forest section of the Waimakariri River Regional Park almost does it all, just 10 kilometers from Christchurch. It’s a great location for activities such as picnicking, mountain biking, walking and running. On top of this, it is a great destination for recreation activities which includes golf, shooting, horse riding, vintage car steam and machinery club, paintball, tank rides and Orana Wildlife Park. Come and check out the giant playground for all ages.



The summer months offer a great opportunity for surfing some of Christchurch’s great beaches. Popular spots such as Taylor’s Mistake and Sumner Beach are great for surfing and offer the perfect way to spend the day.



Willowbank is the only place in New Zealand where you have access to such a wide range of wildlife. The reserve has natural bush surroundings and much of the wildlife is free to wander around so is able to be petted and fed. Willowbank also offers guided tours with knowledgable staff and a great cultural experience with their Ko Tane Maori Cultural Performances.


Ice Skating

Christchurch’s Alpine Ice Sports and Entertainment Centre is one of the best places to go ice skating in Christchurch. More than just ice skating, Alpine has light shows, music and games as well as a licensed bar and coffee lounge. Open all year round and offering group discounts and family passes, it’s a perfect way to spend the day.

03 3662213


Mountain Biking

If you’re looking for a great outdoor activity, Hanmer has some great tracks for mountain biking. These well maintained trails are a fun way to experience the Canterbury scenery.


Hanmer Springs

Less than 2 hours drive from Christchurch lies the idyllic town of Hanmer. The towns biggest attraction is their natural hot springs and mineral pools. With lots of pools and awesome rides, Hanmer Springs is a great way to relax and have fun.


Tour Canterbury’s High Country

For something a bit different, check out 4 wheel drive tours of Canterbury’s High Country. This magnificent landscape is home of Lord of the Rings Middle Earth and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’s Narnia. This unique part of New Zealand is well worth exploring at any age.


Antarctic Centre

For a family fun activity, visit Christchurch’s Antarctic Centre to experience a realistic glimpse of the Antarctic Region. As well as informative exhibits, visitors can ride in a hagglund and experience the snow and ice.

03 353 7798


What Else is Open in Christchurch After the Quake?

Here is a list which was updated on September 13th with other things that are open in Christchurch after the quakes. This has been provided by ChristchurchNZ.com.

03 314 2030

Akaroa Nature Cruises
03 328 9078

Action Karts Christchurch
03 377 3730

Adrenalin Forest
03 329 8717

Adventure Canterbury Ltd
0800 847 455

Air Force Museum
03 343 9508

Alpine Ice Sports & Entertainment Centre
03 3662213

Alpine Jet
03 318 4881

Beadz Unlimited
03 3795 126

Black Cat Cruises, Akaroa
03 304 7641

Canterbury Aviation
03 359 8006

Canterbury Leisure Tour
0800 484 485

Canterbury Museum
03 366 5000

CanNZ Tours
0800 866 539

Christchurch Botanic Gardens
03 941 8999

Canterbury Trails
03 384 6148

Christchurch Casino
03 365 9999

Christchurch Segway Tours
027 542 1887

City Cycle Hire
0800 343848

Court Jesters
03 963 0878

Discovery Travel
0800 372 879

Garden City Bowling
03 366 3323

Glacier Explorers
0800 68 68 00

Glacier Sea Kayaking – Tasman &Mueller Glacier Lakes
03 4351 890

GreatSights Sightseeing Tours
03 365 1113

03 3590470

Hassle Free 4WD/Jet Adventure Tour
03 385 5775

Hassle Free Alpine Safari Tour
03 385 5775

Hassle Free Lord of the Rings Tour
03 385 5775

Hiking New Zealand
03 384 3706

Horse Power
03 342-9246

Jet Thrills
0274 321 104

Ko Tane and Ko Tane free transport service
03 3596226

Kowhai Tours
03 388 7899

Linden Leaves
03 339 8314

Maui – The Art of Maori Haka
03 366 0324

Orana Wildlife Park and Shuttle Service
03 359 7109

Pegasus Golf & Sports Club
03 920 3300

Pirates Island Adventure Golf
03 358 9250

Punting on the Avon & Antigua Boatsheds
03 366 0337

Rangitata Rafts
03 6963 735

Rubicon Valley Horse Treks
03 318 8886

She Chocolat
03 329 9222

Swimming with Dolphins
03 328 9078

03 302 9143

South Pacific Motorcycle Tours Ltd
03 312 0066

Tanks For Everything
03 359 1007

Terrace Downs – Discovery Jet, Golf, The Spa
03 318 6943

The Inside Story Ltd (Tours)
379 8481

The International Antarctic Centre
Free transport on the Penguin Express
03 353 7798

Thrillseekers Adventures – Jet Boat, Rafting, Quad Bike, Bungy Jump
03 315 7046

Up Up & Away
03 381 4600

Waimak River Horse Treks Ltd
323 9064

Watford Grange Llama Park
03 347 4766

Wild West Mini Golf
03 343 2055

Willowbank Reserve
03 359 6226

Yaldhurst Museum
03 342 7914

If you know other things please add them into the comments below so everyone knows!

Also check out the What’s on Map http://www.whatsopen.co.nz/food-entertainment/1/recreational

Image Credits



One of the many damaged buildings after the devastating Christchurch earthquake

We extend our thoughts and condolences to everyone affected by the Christchurch earthquake on Feb 22nd.

For the benefit of our passengers and those looking to get away from the city, we want to let you know that everything is fully operational in Akaroa. Businesses and homes were not affected by the earthquake.

Akaroa Cruises and Dolphin Swimming:
Our cruises and dolphin swims are still going ahead as usual. If you are looking for accommodation, Akaroa currently has plenty of availability.

Lyttelton Wildlife Cruise Cancelled:
We regret The Christchurch Wildlife Cruise in Lyttelton has been cancelled for at least 6 months and possibly up to 1 year.

Canterbury Cat in Lyttelton:
We be operating the Canterbury Cat boat in Lyttelton for groups only and charters. Groups in excess of 20+ pax.

Diamond Harbour Ferry Operating:
Ferry services to Diamond Harbour are now back operating, departures from Lyttelton are every 10 minutes to the hour and from Diamond Harbour to Lyttelton on the hour. These ferry services are free until further notice.

Quail Island Ferry:
Quail Island Ferries commence again from the 14th of March.


Check out our most recent blog post about what is open in Christchurch since the earthquakes.

New Zealand is known for its outdoor adventures: for glaciers and fjords, volcanoes and pristine beaches. And while New Zealanders do love to be outside, the fact is that most of us live in developed urban areas.

Living in cities doesn’t mean we spend all our time in air-conditioned shopping malls and enjoy your time in Christchurch, like a true Cantabrian.

Friday 5-laaaaate


Botanic Gardens

For most of us, the weekend starts on Friday afternoons. Pick up some sandwich fillings, fresh bread and snacks in town and wander around the Botanic Gardens until you find the perfect picnic spot (there are some nice ones by the river, just be prepared to share with the ducks).

SOL Square

After dinner, head east, into the heart of town for some live music. SOL Square (which stands for South of Litchfield – conveniently describing the address) is a mainstay of the nightclub scene. The square features trendy bars and restaurants set hidden behind industrial brick buildings. You can definitely spend an evening bar-hopping here.



Arts Centre Craft Market

Walk off the remnants of last night at the Arts Centre craft market. Wander past the handmade jewellery, crafts, delicious ice creams and don’t miss out the fudge cottage. If the smell of the fried food is too much for you, catch a bus or drive to Lyttelton for the crisp, fresh aroma of the weekly farmer’s market.

Lyttelton Farmer’s Market

Once you’ve stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies (you know you’ll want a snack later in the afternoon), wander around Lyttelton’s hip main street. Pop into one of the many cafes for a latte and a sandwich. Lyttelton Coffee Company offers a great view from the back porch.

Hiking in the Port Hills

If you took a bus, strap your hiking boots on and get trekking over the Port Hills to Sumner Beach. The paths are well marked, though it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a map. The hike should take about 4 hours.

If you drove yourself to the harbour, you’re in for a treat. Take Sumner Road out of Lyttelton and then detour to the left when it intersects with Summit Road. Park at one of the lots off the main road for a scenic walk to burn off your lunch. Mountain bike trails are also plentiful, so definitely bring your bike. Once you’ve fully exhausted yourself, drive down into Sumner.

Fish & Chips on Sumner Beach

There should still be a few hours of sunlight left for you to enjoy this charming little beach town. Cool off in the temperate ocean, lie out on the sand and climb up Cave Rock (if you still have the energy!). When hunger strikes, pick up a package of fish and chips to enjoy by the beach. An ice cream cone while the sun sets is the perfect dessert.

If it’s not quite bedtime, catch a film at Sumner’s 70 year-old cinema—the only one of its kind still standing in Christchurch.



Beautiful Akaroa the French Colony

The last day of the weekend is popular for a day trip as we try to cram in a vacation before we have to head back to work. Akaroa is a good choice, since it is close enough for a day trip but worlds away from what we’re used to in Christchurch.

Known as New Zealand’s French colony, Akaroa isn’t exactly what most people would consider ‘French’, but it’s still awfully charming. Take a relaxing stroll down the Rue Lavaudor park yourself on a scenic bench with a book. Akaroa is a relaxing town you won’t realise you are only an hour drive from Christchurch.

Akaroa Cafes and Restaurants

There are plenty of boutique cafes and restaurants for lunch. Check out a few menus and choose whatever looks good. With an abundance of restaurants serving French cuisine, this may be the only taste of France you get in New Zealand.

Swimming with Dolphins in Akaroa Harbour

Enjoy an incredible experience swimming with the worlds smallest and rarest dolphins. Hector’s dolphins are protected in the Akaroa harbour by a marine mammal sanctuary and this cruise gives you the chance to see them up close.



Akaroa – Relax, Shop and Enjoy

The morning will be spent in lovely Akaroa. Take time out to read a book on a bench overlooking the harbour. Treat yourself to an ice cream and take a walk up the jetty at the gorgeous shops including the famous pearls from Akaroa.


Cruise on Akaroa Harbour

In the afternoon, hope on board a Black Cat cruise for a stunning tour of Akaroa Harbour. You’ll get a great look at the marine wildlife that makes its home in the area including fur seals, penguins and the tiny Hector’s dolphin.

Barry’s Bay Cheese Factory

Drive back to Christchurch on the shuttle or your rental car and make sure you stop in to pick up some award winning cheese from Barry’s Bay Cheese factory. These are produced with some of the finest milk from the pastures of the Banks Peninsula.

We hope you enjoy your stay in Christchurch and have seen many of the wonderful Christchurch attractions.


We have a new boat into our fleet as a back up Diamond Harbour Ferry. Although she is new to us she has been round a while being the very first Fiordlander that Real Journeys built and has spent its life in the Southern Lakes of Te Anau, Milford and lately Wakatipu as back up to Earnslaw. She has even carried many VIPs including the Queen herself and makes a great addition to our fleet.


We’ve been awarded the contract to run the Diamond Harbour ferry for the next 5 ½ years. Environment Canterbury, the regional council, announced the successful winners of the ferry and bus routes recently. The ferry services are very important to because it provides year round business and is not as susceptible to international tourism movements. The new contract starting on November 1st will require Black Cat to purchase a new vessel, though the main ferry will be the existing Black Diamond.