The waters and harbors around Lyttelton and eastern Canterbury have welcomed explorers from Captains Cook and Scott to Admiral Byrd and Sir Shackleton. Quail Island, a small island off Lyttelton, now welcomes modern explorers: hikers and picnickers. At various points across its history, the island has been a quarantine station, leper colony and Antarctic training base; today it's uninhabited except for native birds and wild flora. Easy one- or two-hour walks pass swimming beaches, shipwrecks and remnants of the island's past. Ferries depart from Lyttelton twice daily in summer, returning in the afternoon.