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The stunning Northland region is situated in the Far North of New Zealand, and is a vast area full of contrasts offering unique and exciting experiences within an unspoilt subtropical environment. The laid back atmosphere surrounds you making you feel immediately relaxed and welcomed as you explore the uniquely rugged coastline.
The Bay of Islands with its breath-taking beauty is NZ’s own aquatic playground offers up many water based recreational activities or you can simply contemplate life relaxing on one of the amazing golden sand beaches. The elegant town of Russell (the first capital of New Zealand) is picturesque and has a rich and very colourful history. Once known as ‘the hell hole of the Pacific’ due to the unsavoury behaviour of the sailors, whalers and traders who made Russell their home. There are many historic landmarks to visit one being New Zealand’s oldest church – Christ Church where you will see musketball holes in the walls from the fighting and ransacking the town endured. Enjoy a meal and a cold beverage at NZ’s first licensed bar and hotel The Duke of Marlborough and watch the bustling wharf as the game fishing boats return with their catch.
Situated close to Russell Township and set in 14 acres of scenic park-like land in a kiwi and weka protection zone, award-winning Russell-Orongo Bay Holiday Park is a central base and a booking agent to discover the magic that is the Bay of Islands. Russell-Orongo Bay Holiday Park was announced the winner of the 2012 Qualmark & THL Maui Britz Most Improved License Holder, recognising excellence in the Holiday Park sector. Features include: Self-contained accommodation, cabins, tipi’s, powered and unpowered sites, camp kitchen, laundry, recycling and dump station, children’s playground and swimming pool, TV lounge with log-fire in the winter, on-site shop, fish cleaning and smokehouse facilities, WI-FI and internet kiosk and tour and cruise bookings.
While you can quite easily entertain yourself soaking up the local history of Russell, perusing the vibrant galleries, enjoying the local cuisine at Russell’s many cafes and restaurants, should you want to explore further Russell is the gateway to the Cape Brett Tramping Track and the Okiato to Russell Walkway. Just a short car ferry trip to Opua will put you on the road to Waitangi where you can tour the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the historic landmark where the treaty between various Maori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown was signed on 6 February 1840. Don’t miss experiencing a Maori cultural performance that could be considered one of the best in New Zealand. It includes a traditional Maori challenge and haka which is sure to get the hairs on the back of your neck standing, as well as a waiata and poi.
Things to do in and around the Bay of Islands, Northland
1) Boat cruise to the Hole in the Rock, swim with dolphins or walk on uninhabited islands with Explore NZ – tours depart from Russell.
2) Delight in the fresh food experiences and delectable wine of the region at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel Restaurant.
3) Embrace culture and heritage with a visit to Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the birthplace of a nation.
4) Take a tour through Pompallier Mission & Printery.
5) Visit Russell Museum and local art galleries.