Historic buildings and a seaside setting full of cafes, restaurants and art galleries give Russell a truly romantic quality.
This charming town makes a beautiful base for exploring the Bay of Islands.
Russell holds an important place in New Zealand's history, being the country's first sea port, its first European settlement and New Zealand's first capital in nearby Okiato. The town's streets retain their original layout and names from 1843, and many of its historic buildings can still be visited today.
A stroll around the streets will lead you to the Catholic Mission ‘Pompallier’, which is New Zealand’s oldest surviving Roman Catholic building. Built in 1841-42, under the direction of architect Louis Perret, it was used as a printery, tannery and storehouse for the French Marist mission. Pompallier has undergone extensive award-winning conservation work and is now a working museum where past methods of tanning, printing and bookbinding can be appreciated.
Another building to admire is Christ Church, the oldest existing church in New Zealand, which still carries musket ball holes from the New Zealand Land Wars.
Russell was once known as ‘The hell hole of the Pacific’, because it was a shore leave destination for sailors, whalers and traders during the 19th century. Today the atmosphere is much more savoury - Russell is a popular a holiday town, with plenty of shops, restaurants and accommodation to suit the whole family.
At the wharf you can catch a game fishing boat to hunt for marlin, tuna, broad bill and shark. Nearby Long Beach is a nice place for a swim. Many of the Bay of Islands daily cruises also use Russell as a departure point out to the Bay of Islands.
Russell is accessible by road, but the easiest way to visit is to catch a vehicle ferry from Opua (5 minutes), or passenger ferry from Paihia, which takes around 15 minutes.
Functional facts: Approx. population 820, information centre, ferry service to/from Paihia, vehicular ferry to/from Opua.
We've created your account. But there's one remaining step before you can use it. Check your email inbox. Look for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow its instructions to activate your account.
If you haven't received the email within the next minute, look in your Spam or Junk Mail folder, just in case.Having trouble finding or using that email? Contact us at email@example.com.
You have items in your trip planner from the last time you signed in. What would you like to do with your trip planner?
Merge my trips
Combines your old and new trips into one.
Overwrite my previous trip
Overwrites your old trip and replaces it with your new trip.
Revert to previous trip
Deletes your new trip and reverts to your old trip.
Opps, we can’t add this…
To add items to your Trip Planner go to Settings > Safari and switch Private Browsing to Off.
Your login session has expired. Please login to continue with your trip planner.
You need to sign in to save your Trip for future visits. Sign in now