Plan ahead for travel to SailGP

On 18-19 March, Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour will host the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix (SailGP). With about 7000 event ticket holders each day, we're expecting public transport and harbour waterways will be busy.

Public transport and accessing the event

Vehicle access to Lyttelton will be restricted from midday until around 6pm on race days Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 March. During this time, only residents and people with access passes, taxis, event shuttles and Metro buses will be able to enter the town. Private cars and rideshare services, like Uber, will not be permitted.

The fastest and most reliable way for ticketholders to get to and from the event is using the shuttle buses provided by SailGP to travel between the SailGP CBD Live Site at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre and the race village in Lyttelton. These shuttles are free for ticketholders and will run from 11.30am until 2.15pm, with return shuttles from 4.30pm onwards.

Ticketholders also have free access to Metro bus and ferry services to get to and from the SailGP Live Site and shuttle pick up and drop off point. Just show your ticket to the bus driver. There are a number of Metro bus stops located within close walking distance of the Live Site. For the shortest walking times, we recommend using the Metro bus stops displayed on our SailGP walking map.

Please note that while public transport to Lyttelton will continue to operate during the event, Metro buses do not travel to Naval Point where the SailGP race village is located. We're expecting the network to be busy, so please be patient and allow plenty of time for your travel.

Anyone can watch the race for free at the SailGP Live Site at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre. Find out more on the ChristchurchNZ website

Other events taking place over the same weekend include the Canterbury Polyfest on 18 March and City2Surf on 19 March, which means there will be more demand on our public transport network. Cruise ships are also expected to be in port at Lyttelton on 17 and 19 March.

We are working closely with event organisers to minimise any disruptions.

Ferry services

Ferry services between Diamond Harbour and Lyttelton are restricted from operating during the event, and during preparations on Friday 17 March. Customers should plan ahead if they rely on this service.

17 March

Ferries will not operate following the 12.50pm departure from Lyttelton (return trip). Services from Lyttelton are expected to resume from 5.45pm.

18 & 19 March

Ferries will not operate following the 1.20pm departure from Lyttelton (return trip). Services from Lyttelton are expected to resume from 5.20pm.

It is important to note that these times are subject to change on the day due to event conditions, and we will aim to provide additional capacity at times when ferry services can operate. We recommend checking the Metro Facebook page or for any updates.

Water navigation safety during SailGP

The Harbourmaster's Office is responsible for navigation safety during SailGP. As SailGP has been declared a Major Maritime Event, the Harbourmaster's Office has increased enforcement powers from Monday 13 March to Sunday 19 March, allowing us to delegate powers to other agencies and organisations, including SailGP. This provides the approximately 30 SailGP marshals the authority to maintain a clear racing area and ensure safe operation among the boats that will be in the harbour to watch the races.

During preparations and on race days, the Harbourmaster’s Office will have eight boats in the water, including vessels borrowed from the Royal New Zealand Navy, Ministry for Primary Industries, and the Otago Regional Council. We will support the SailGP marshals and provide education about the rules for recreational boaties during SailGP (PDF File 571 KB). Lyttelton Port Company, the NZ Police, and Maritime NZ will also be in the harbour to help ensure everyone is safe on the water.

For more information, contact or 027 221 5259.