Historic buildings and a seaside setting full of cafes, restaurants and art galleries gives Russell a truly romantic quality.
This charming town is the perfect 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 hellhole 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 sharks. 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.
Just 450 metres from Kororareka Bay, Bellrock Lodge offers studios with a private balcony and lovely bay and town views. It features free Wi-Fi, plus free diving, fishing and snorkelling equipment hire.
A kitchenette with a dishwasher, microwave and refrigerator is standard in all studi... (more)
Commodore's Lodge offers waterfront motel accommodation in Russell, Bay of Islands. Accommodation consists of 10 spacious self-contained motel units that are serviced daily. Luxury upstairs waterfront house available on application.Units come with fully equipped kitchen, ensuite, wireless ... (more)
Situated just outside Russell, Eagles Nest offers spacious and elegant villas with free Wi-Fi access and full kitchen facilities. Each has a large private terrace, and some villas have a private swimming pool. Guests enjoy a bottle of champagne upon arrival.All of the villas at Eagles Nest... (more)
Flagstaff lodge is a small property offering luxury accommodations in the village of Russell, in the Bay of Islands. Guests can enjoy a peaceful environment, good spa facilities and free Wi-Fi.The lodge has 4 uniquely decorated and themed guest accommodations, all which are spacious in siz... (more)
Surrounded by lovely gardens, Hananui Lodge and Apartments features accommodation with free Wi-Fi, a private balcony or patio and an LCD TV. Guests enjoy an indoor spa pool and free use of kayaks.
Accommodation options include apartments located 100 metres from the waterfront and lodge ... (more)
Set amongst beautiful tropical gardens, Russell Motel offers comfortable accommodation just 5 minutes’ walk from Kororareka Bay. The property features an outdoor swimming pool, barbecue facilities and free parking.Motel Russell is located within 5 minutes’ walk of a number of shops and res... (more)
Pawhaoa Bay Lodge boasts direct beach access and rooms with beautiful views of Whangaruru Harbour from your private patio. Guests enjoy free use of kayaks and snorkelling equipment.You can spend the evening relaxing in the guest lounge, which features a library and a warming fireplace. The... (more)
Russell TOP 10 Holiday Park offers great accommodation, stunning sea views, the perfect Bay of Islands location and a relaxed holiday atmosphere. We have the answer to all your Bay of Islands accommodation needs secluded motel units, family accommodation, a range of cabins, deluxe camperv... (more)
Russell's Family Park offering budget accommodation options and an ideal base for Bay of Islands tours, fishing, beaches, walks, galleries, cafes, restaurants, heritage sites, dolphin and Hole in the Rock cruises. 100m from the Okiato to Russell walkway and 1.5km from Russell village. Over... (more)
Offering peace and total privacy, yet just 5 minutes’ walk from Russell's wharf and town centre, Tahapuke features direct access to a private beach from the outdoor terrace with seating area and BBQ.Tahapuke Lodge is decorated with modern decor and furnishings and offers expansive views ac... (more)
The 19th-century Duke Hotel is located on the waterfront, overlooking the stunning Bay of Islands. It features a guest lounge, restaurant and bar. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property.Situated in Russell town centre, The Duke of Marlborough is just 4 minutes’ walk from Russell M... (more)
Exclusive 5 Star lodge overlooking the ocean harbour of historic Russell. Peaceful and serene, 1 minute from town or 10 minutes walk along the foreshore and through the forest. Easy access by ferry or road. 3 full suites, elegant art and furnishings. Activities include sailing, high speed ... (more)
A Top Motel and a warm welcome await you at Top Motel Russell in the historic township of Russell. Offering quality, comfort and family-friendly accommodation all within easy walking distance to beautiful swimming beaches, heritage buildings and sites, scenic walks, cafés, restaurants and ... (more)
Triton Suites Motel offers modern accommodation only a 5-minute stroll from Russell's waterfront. Free car parking is included.The rooms at Triton Suites Russell include satellite TV, DVD player and bathroom toiletries. Most rooms feature full cooking facilities and great views towards the... (more)
Whose line is it in the Bay?
Russell Boating Club welcomes...
The Improv Mob: hilarious interactive stage comedy skits.
1.5 hours guaranteed laughter, Sunday November 17, two 45 halves between 7.30pm and 9.30pm. ... more