Lyttelton is a small port town located over the Port Hills from Christchurch. It was one of the first areas settled in the Canterbury region and currently home to approx. 3000 residents.
The area was discovered by Europeans in 1770, and had been home to Maori for around 700 years. It was colonised and proclaimed a port in 1849 with settlers arriving shortly there after. In 1908 the Nimrod Expedition, led by Ernest Shackleton, left from the harbour to explore Antarctica.
The port was used as the 'Gateway to Canterbury' during settler times and is still an active port today, handling 34% of exports and 61% of imports. It is the primary port for energy shipments in the South Island with both coal and LP gas and petrol shipped from here. It is also a regular stop for curise ships.
The Royal Hotel was built during Lyttelton's establishment and one of the many historic buildings in the town. In 2009 the New Zealand Historic Places Trust named Lyttelton a Catergory 1 historic area. This means the area was deemed one of special or outstanding historical or cutural heritage with significants or value. Unfortunately in the 2010 and 2011 earthquake many of the historical buildings were damaged, some, including the Royal Hotel, beyond repair.