Corsair Bay is a beautiful little beach near Lyttelton. The beach is mostly shelly but the water doesn’t get deep too quickly, and there’s a raft to swim out to. You can choose whether to hang out on the beach, or up a bit on a grassy bank, but be warned – there’s little shade! Pack a picnic and you can spend quite a while here.
The pirate ship playground is an attraction in itself too. If you’re lucky, you might strike a food truck selling ice creams and coffee etc. There are walking tracks to explore too – read more below.
Access is from Park Terrace and there are two levels of car parking. It’s a bit of a walk down to the beach via steps or a path. There are toilets/change rooms and an outdoor shower (for washing off sand) as you head down to the beach. We saw a few sandflies, but didn’t seem to get bitten.
See the bottom of the page for location and a map.
We visited Corsair Bay in February 2017 (summer) – 29 degrees!
Click on a picture to view in a slideshow.
Lyttelton Bays Walkway – from The Press
This coastal pathway from Lyttelton to Pony Point takes in beaches and playgrounds, with spectacular views of the harbour, Quail Island and Charteris Bay. It is a section of the Head to Head, a coastal track under development, which will eventually follow the sweep of Lyttelton Harbour from Godley Head to Adderley Head on the opposite side. The track starts from 7 Park Tce in Lyttelton and finishes at the Pony Point Reserve. It takes about an hour. From Park Tce, follow the wide, well-formed track that hugs the coastline well above the shore. A connecting path drops down to Magazine Bay (a five-minute trip) – home to the Thornycroft Torpedo Boat Museum (which opens limited hours) and a small, sandy beach, perfect for picnics.
From Magazine Bay, the track passes through regenerating forest and pine trees before dropping down to the shores of Corsair Bay – a popular swimming and picnic spot. The bay has toilets, drinking fountains and a pirate-themed playground beside the car park. Pick up the track again on the far side of Corsair Bay, where it climbs into the pine trees.
This second part of the track is longer, narrower and steep in a few places – with some steps – as it follows the coastline to Cass Bay (about a 20-minute walk). Cass Bay also has a playground with a flying fox, toilets and a grey-sand beach. The final leg to Pony Point Reserve takes about 15 minutes, one way. Drop down to the beach and walk to the far end of Cass Bay. Walk a few metres up Bay View Pl to pick up the well-formed track just above the playground and toilets. The track through Pony Point Scenic Reserve is a circuit track – a 30-minute round trip. The left-hand route sidles around above the boat sheds, following the water edge, before zig-zagging up to a summit, where there is a grassy area with picnic tables and benches, native plantings and great harbour views. The return track to Cass Bay follows the fence line, and then descends through the gum trees. The reserve also has an exit to Governors Bay Rd from the top picnic area. There is a small pull-off for parking. Dogs need to be on short leashes on the beaches from December to March 1 (9am-7pm) and at all times at Pony Point.
The track is suitable for all-terrain buggies only as far as Corsair Bay.
You can access Corsair Bay via the Lyttelton tunnel, or drive over the Port Hills.