Quail Island

Quail Island, Christchurch: Address, Phone Number, Quail Island Reviews: 4.5/5

Quail Island
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58 reviews
Very good

Matilda C
Christchurch, New Zealand23 contributions
Jun 2022 • Couples
We visited on a cloudy day with a strong cold easterly wind and it sucked! The island is quite exposed to the wind.
The walk said it would take 2.5 hours. We are not fast walkers but completed it in half the time, and then had about 4 hours to kill in the cold until the return boat.
I’m certain it would’ve been a much more enjoyable day if it wasn’t windy and cloudy. In fact we would like to go back in summer and try out the campground that sits in front of a pretty beach.
My one peice of advice would just be to pick your day and make sure it’s good weather!
Written 8 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Christchurch, New Zealand1,741 contributions
May 2022 • Family
Quail Island
Black Cat cruises often advertise trips to the island.
Great for family outings.
There are a couple of toilets around the small island.

A hut to sleep the night in if you planned to.
Great and nicely maintained paths around the island.

Have been over several times on the Black Cat cruises which offer themed trips for kids holidays like Easter, Halloween, Christmas etc. You have to look for posters on the way and mark them off on your sheet, later to collect a chocolate prize onboard the boat home.
A bit of history to be read about as was an old quarantine island.
Highly recommend.
Written 25 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

London, UK1,032 contributions
Feb 2020
Quail Island is an uninhabited island within Lyttelton Harbour with history and picturesque setting. We were driven by ATTKings in a massive group.
Written 16 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Christchurch, New Zealand257 contributions
Feb 2020
We had a great Family day out visiting Quail Island having last visited the Island many years ago and remembering having good times back then.
This time was even better what with a lovely autumninal day , the seven of us set off all loaded up with goodies and expectations of some walking and revisiting parts of the Island.
We first came to a smallish beach ,very shallow and safe to splash around in which some did.
We treked small distances around where the ship-wrecks were in the shallows, all five of them.
At that point, all around us, we could enjoy fabulous views of the harbour ,the hills and other islands as well as the port and activity going on.
The views got even better still after climbing right to the top and wow! it was such a great spot for outstanding views including key spots such as the Gondala, Sugarloaf even right over towards Diamond Harbour.
To summarise, this is a very undervalued place and resource for Cantabrians who I suggest would find the Ferry and visit a very worthwhile visit and experience.
It is worhwhile to allow at least a half day or more to visit.
I understand that the Ferry and Quail island are run by D.O.C.
Note that Gold Card discounts do not apply on the Ferry and that anyone who can catcha number 28 bUS can travel all the way to Lyttelton.
Finally there are no shops or commercial activities on the Island apart from an accommodation that can be rented out.
Written 23 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Nicki J
Christchurch, New Zealand91 contributions
Jan 2020
I took my daughter who is 6 years old for a day trip to Quail Island. I booked the tickets online first thing which is advisable as you get priority boarding. We got a free all-day park on Norwich Quay then walked over the bridge to the jetty. We caught the 10:20am ferry and left on the 3:20pm ferry. The lady who checked our tickets was friendly and gave us a map of the island – a must have! The boat trip to the island took about 15 minutes – you can sit upstairs or downstairs. We looked for dolphins but were not lucky. We disembarked and walked uphill towards the beach. We decided to end at the beach for a swim so headed towards the Stables and Otamahua Hut to check it out for a possible future overnight stay. The hut is great - two bunk rooms each with 3 bunks. Two dining tables, kitchen, log burner and indoor flush toilet - need to go outside and walk around back of building to access toilet.
The weather forecast was for a fine day but maybe some light morning rain. We had packed our bags with everything from sunhats and sunblock to rain jackets and puffer vests and togs and towels - being January we didn't need the puffer vests but the morning weather was changeable so we wore everything else at least once! Then we walked on around the island way up high looking down at the sea below. The distant views were a little hazy due to the Australian Bush Fires but would be magnificent on a clearer day. We walked to the seagulls nesting area where it was alive with squawking seagulls flying. Further around were the shipwrecks then views of King Billy Island (a tiny wee island) before a bit more walking resulted in the beautiful beaches. We were running out of time for a decent swim so we missed the Leprosy Hut. There is a jet ski bay called Skiers Bay then Swimmers beach. It has tiny little pebbles which don't hurt to walk on which I was pleased about! A few metres into the water is Margaret Mahy's guggliwug squelchy mud.
There are different length walks you can take around the island. Walking around the whole island took us about 2.5 hours - lots of stops to enjoy the moment, take photos, put on jackets, take off jackets, eat lunch, pretend the thistle seeds were our makeup brushes - you get the picture! However, you could shorten the time easily by half if you kept walking!
DO: Take food and water (although there are taps dotted around the island);
DO take your rubbish home with you;
DO take a jacket and warm top, even in January;
DO wear suitable walking shoes;
DO read the information posts;
DO take photos;
DO swim in the sea;
DO pick up a map of the island;
DO allow enough time (ten minutes) to walk back to catch the boat; (some people missed the first boat but a second one came about ten minutes later).

COST: $30 per adult; $15 per child; Free for under 5s

PS I noticed an accessible toilet at the beach but the walk uphill from the boat would be hard work.
Written 26 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Christchurch, New Zealand26 contributions
Dec 2019
I've lived in Christchurch for 15 years and have been meaning to go to Quail Island for ages. I'm so glad I finally did and already have plans to return with visiting friends and family.

We took the 12.20pm ferry over to the island, giving us 3 hours there (and ample time to buy lunchtime pies from the Saturday Farmers' Market in Lyttelton beforehand). It took 2 hours to stroll around the circumference of the island (including a lunch stop and some side trips to see points of interest) so the whole trip felt really relaxed and unhurried.

I'd recommend Quail Island to almost everyone. There were several families with young children enjoying the beaches. The size/scale and easy navigation would be excellent for those wanting a relatively unchallenging adventure. And adventure/outdoorsy types will still get a kick out of seeing the harbour and hills from a new angle.
Written 2 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Glynny K
Dunedin, New Zealand19 contributions
Dec 2019
Quail Island was such a wonderful surprise. The boat from Lyttelton was a fun way to start the day to a little island that has so much diversity. The climb up to the fork where one chooses either the beach to the left or the hut to the right. We traversed beyond the hut and walked the island taking in the different sights, sounds and smells. The seabirds (mainly gulls) were busy as was the weather! Mizzle, rain, wind and sunshine! A very special place indeed.
Written 27 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Christchurch, New Zealand73 contributions
Mar 2019 • Friends
Quail Island


Tranquil and Private


Lucky enough to have a friend with a boat, we have visited several times over the summer, but only when prevailing weather is suitable (typically a nor'west evening with the tide rising). Leaving the Lyttelton Marina around 4.30pm arriving 4.50pm. Time for a picnic or a (gas) barbecue (PLEASE DO NOT LIGHT FIRES), and a choice of several walks and fantastic views. The water was warm and we swam too. Island deserted too occasionally. This place is a real gem, plenty of birdlife SO DON"T BRING DOGS. I also spend time picking up rubbish (not much but this place needs to remain unspoilt.) There are toilet/shower facilities and you can camp overnight. Contact DOC Otautahi or the Christchurch Visitor Centre to make bookings.
Written 28 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lou K (Solokiwimum)
Christchurch, New Zealand20 contributions
Mar 2019 • Family
Enjoying a short ferry ride operated by Black Cat Cruises from the Lyttelton port is a great way to start this adventure. We had smooth seas and excited kids. 

We chose to head right at the first fork and went uphill to the new DoC hut, past the animal quarantine and towards the boat graveyard. The youngest in our group was three. He was carried in the kid pack for most of the walk. The tweens and teen enjoyed reading the information boards dotted around the island. 

For an extra bit of fun, try finding the secret word that can get your kids a Kiwi Guardians adventure medal. This is run by DoC and sponsored by Toyota.

Just over 3 hours of walking round the island saw us back at the dock for our boat ride back to Lyttelton. 

Keep an eye on grabone as they occassionally have deals for the ferry rides.
Written 1 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gwyn L
28 contributions
Mar 2019 • Family
I did a day trip with my 3 yr old. We walked around the whole island and did some more exploring around the hut and beaches. He absolutely loved the shipwrecks and we had a great time exploring them before the tide came in. The views were stunning. The walk was not too strenuous and the little man managed it fine. We saw dolphins on the way over on the ferry so that was a bonus.
Written 19 March 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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