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There are over 60 walks to choose from in the beautiful Bay of Islands. There are a range of different options and levels, depending on your ability. Here are just a few of the great walks that are easily accessible from Russell.
Cape Brett Walk
A great overnight walk worth every step that you take! The Cape Brett Track will take you approx. 7 hours one way with an option to stay overnight in the cabin just past the lighthouse. From the cabin & lighthouse you will enjoy views of the famous Hole in the rock and feel like you are on the edge of the world as you look out across the ocean. Truly stunning.
Along the way, take a picnic & enjoy lunch at the viewing platform whilst taking in the breath-taking panoramic views of the bay.
Insider tip if you stay in the cabin overnight take a little gift such as food or games for the next bunch of dedicated walkers.
If you are looking for accommodation before or after your walk, Russell-Orongo Bay Holiday Park is located close by for easy access.
Tore Tore Island Track
This quiet and scenic walk is a local’s secret, tucked away on Te Wapu Road. Once reaching Tore Tore you can stroll along the pebble beach, jump from the jetty or cross to the small island which can only be accessed at low tide.
The island walk provides fantastic views over the bay. When you reach the end, you get a fantastic view of Paihia to the one side, Russell to the other, as well as the expanse of the ocean all around you.
Bay of Islands Full Circle Day Walk
This walk will take you right the way around from Russell – Okiato – Opua – Paihia. The walk is developed with different zones which enables you just walk part of it or all, depending on your mood & ability.
The boardwalk is directily opposite Russell-Orongo Bay Holiday Park so you an start your journey here. There are many points of interest along the way; Mangrove boardwalks, the historic site for manganese mining, the first capital of NZ, vineyards, oyster farms, an abundance of birdlife, bush, wetland and coast. Keep an eye out for the endangered North Island Weka between Okiato and Russell!
Whaling Station Walk/Whangamumu Track
Take a walk back in time to see where one of New Zealand’s last remaining shore-based whaling stations was situated. Walk the very same path the whalers used to take in the early 20th century, before it was eventually left abandoned in 1932. The remains of the station and vats are still there today.
This is a comfortable forest and beach walk taking approximately 1 hr 15 mins one way.
Once through the forest you will start the descent down to the beach. This is a peaceful little beach which more likely than not, you would have all to yourselves!
Ngaiotonga Kauri Forest
This is a good short & easy walk taking approx. 20 mins & ideal for families or the elderly. Experience the majestic natural beauty of a native Kauri Forest. Many of the plants and trees there are labelled for identification, so you know what you are looking at.
Flag Staff Hill Loop Track
This leisurely walk is a 2.5 km loop that takes you through regenerating kanuka/manuka scrub, down into the Waipara/Watering Bay stream and wetland before reaching the famous Flag Staff Hill. Once at the top, enjoy breath-taking panoramic views of Russell, Paihia, Waitangi and the islands. This is a great place to watch the sunset.
Tapeka Point ‘Point of Currents’
This track is located just 1 km north of Flagstaff Hill and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete (15 minutes each way).
Here you can enjoy stunning views over the entire Bay of Islands all away along the track, spanning from Cape Wiwiki in the north to Rakaumangamanga in the south-east. (Make sure children are supervised on this walk due to natural hazards such as cliffs and drop offs).
The Pa itself is steeped in history. Maori legend has it that a pair of lovers leapt to their death here in their despair because they could not marry each other due to the tribal customs. The point was therefore known as ‘Lovers Leap’ until only a few years ago.
This short but pleasant walk (approx. 15 minutes) takes you through regenerating bush to picturesque Waihihi Bay (Brick Bay). Fladgate Track is part of the Russell Track network and can be accessed off Titore Way, next to Flagstaff Hill.
Walking on Urupukapuka Island truly is a magical experience. It is the largest of all the islands in the Bay of Islands, but you can walk the entire island in a day. The complete island walk takes approximately 5 hours and is designed in a clockwise direction. If you don’t feel like doing the complete island walk, you can just relax on any one of the beaches that take your fancy along the way and re-join the track at most of the larger bays.
The only way to get to your island escape is by boat. You can catch a ferry from Russell Wharf with Explore for $35 return per person.
The sound of the birds on this island is truly beautiful. The island echoes with the sound of the birds. There are also many look out points on the island with breath taking views of the Bay of Islands.
This is a walk-through paradise that you will treasure forever.
Tips for planning your Bay of Islands walks
Russell is a peninsula with an island feel, offering the opportunity for you to discover hidden places and tucked away treasures in a stunning scenic environment. The year-round warm weather makes Russell a great place to visit anytime.
These walking tracks are easily accessible from the Russell-Orongo Bay Holiday Park where you can pitch a tent or stay in a cabin, cottage or bungalow.
Make sure you are prepared for your walk with suitable walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen & water.
If you are planning to stay at Cape Brett Walk make sure to book the hut in advance & pay track and hut fees at Bay of Islands i-SITE Visitor Centre .