Russell Waterfront, Bay of Islands
© Northland Inc
The elegant town of Russell was New Zealand’s largest town before 1840 and once known as ‘the hell hole of the Pacific’ due to the rough behaviour of whalers, traders and sailors who settled there.
Russell: The first capital of New Zealand is also a world-renowned game fishing port. Zane Grey famously described Bay of Islands as ‘an angler’s El Dorado’ when he caught his first marlin here in 1926. Tuna, broad bill, kingfish and shark are other potential game fish catches.
A large fleet of world-class charter boats with skilled and experienced skippers caters for just about any type of fishing and for all skill levels. From hooking into a delicious snapper to saltwater fly-fishing, fishing in Northland today continues to live up to Zane Grey’s description. Today Russell is still a favoured spot for boaties who seek safe anchorage.
With waterfront restaurants and cafes that are the perfect place to catch the evening sun. Visit Zealand’s oldest licensed pub and Christ Church, New Zealand’s oldest church, which is still scarred with musket ball holes from the 1845 fighting.
The Catholic mission building of Pompallier, built from rammed earth, hand-printed 40,000 bibles in Maori and you can still see how they traditionally cured the tans for the covers and printed the pages of these beautiful pieces of art. Discover Russell's exciting past by visiting the museum, cafés, restaurants and craft galleries, while appreciating its colonial architecture.
Russell is the gateway to the Cape Brett Tramping Track (8 hrs), and the Okiato to Russell Walkway; a full circle walk with many start and end points, which includes a 5 minute ferry crossing between Opua and Okiato (on the Russell side).
You will find a wide range of accommodation available and you can also arrange sightseeing, adventure or fishing activity from the Russell waterfront. For self-drive explorers, take State Highway 11 to Opua and catch the vehicular ferry to Russell or leave State Highway 1 at Whakapara and travel the fully tar-sealed scenic coastal route via Oakura. There's also a passenger ferry service from Paihia.
Rawhiti is a small beachfront town about 30 km from Russell in the Bay of Islands and is a holiday haven with beautiful beaches and spectacular views. Most of the land in the area is owned by Māori.
The Duke of Marlborough – Hotel, Bar & Restaurant. The Duke is New Zealand’s oldest licenced hotel sitting on the waterfront in Russell. Our Hotel is a great place to recharge the batteries, catch up with friends or simply enjoy the moment.View Details View Rates & Availability
Luxury bed and breakfast with 4 Ensuite units with breathtaking views over Russell village and bay. Each unit has private entrance and deck, kitchenette, aircon, Freeview TV, radio/IPod dock, CD player and Wi-Fi.View Details
A unique opportunity to see and hear the rare North Island weka and kiwi in their natural environment. Picturesque, spacious with affordable accommodation. Choose your own powered or unpowered site. Self-contained privately situated cottages & cabinsView Details View Rates & Availability
Private Luxury Holiday Home above Russell's premier beach. There are 3 levels of the house, 4 bedrooms and 4 baths each with full ocean views and private decks. Ideally located just minutes from the beach and town. Kayaks and mooring available.View Details
Boutique luxury in a fully restored 1912 villa in the heart of Russell. Just 4 individually styled ensuite rooms, superbly appointed and with views through to the Bay. Enjoy a wonderful breakfast and join us for complimentary evening drinks.View Details View Rates & Availability
New Zealand's HIGHEST parasailing at 1200ft and family owned and operated since 1998. Enjoy breathtaking views of the beautiful Bay of Islands. We offer single, tandem and triple flights. Great family activity or for couples.View Details View Rates & Availability
Fly with us to experience the wonder of the Bay of Islands & Northland viewing the spectacular beauty of our diverse remote coastal areas, much of it unreachable by road. Unique experiences and a high level of scenic content.View Details
The Bay of Islands has the warmest waters in New Zealand, making it the perfect location for swimming with dolphins. Join our experienced crew aboard our small jet propelled boat for your chance to swim with these amazing creatures.View Details View Rates & Availability
Cruise the Bay of Islands in search of Dolphin on board our purpose built catamaran to the 'Hole in the Rock'. Includes an island stopover on beautiful Urupukapuka Island Reserve.View Details View Rates & Availability