Things to do
We both have more than 15 years experience in the local tourism industry and are familiar with all the attractions and activities in the area. We know most of the operators personally and can book most tours and activities for you.
Whether you want to relax and spoil yourself, explore the town's history, experience the beautiful Bay of Islands from the water, take a sightseeing trip, go hiking and bush walking, visit native kauri trees, enjoy a swim and picnic in a secluded bay or simply indulge in some retail therapy, there is plenty to do during your time in Russell and the surrounding area.
Russell has many restaurants, cafes and bars including the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel.
Russell has many attractions including Flagstaff Hill, the Pompallier Mission (with tannery and print museum), Russell Museum and Christ Church (the oldest church in New Zealand) with its bullet holes and fascinating cemetery.
We have extensive walking tracks within our four acres of land and there are many others nearby; some are leisurely, others are for serious hikers. We can help with maps and track conditions.
You can swim from 'our' secluded beach or, on the east-side of the peninsula, there is Long Beach. Slightly further away, there are many small bays (some on unsealed roads) and about a half hour drive will take you to Elliot’s Beach which has fine surfing when conditions are right. We have a dinghy moored at our beach which you can use for fishing or just pottering around and you can also fish from the rocks.
Most boat excursions that leave from Paihia also pick up at Russell wharf. This includes trips to the Hole in the Rock, the Cream Trip, Dolphin Watching and Swimming and the high-adrenalin Exciter or Mack Attack boat rides, or try para-sailing, sky-diving or a helicopter trip. You can also spend a day or half day on one of the local fishing or sailing charters including the R. Tucker Thompson tall ship.
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds, overlooking Bay of Islands, is New Zealand's pre-eminent historic site. It's a half-hour walk from the Paihia ferry terminal. Other activities available from Paihia include paragliding, sea kayaking, vineyard tours, scenic helicopter flights and scuba diving the Rainbow Warrior and the ex- HMNZS Canterbury in Deepwater Cove.
For golf you can take the car ferry to Opua and enjoy a game at either Waitangi or Kerikeri and the local Bowls Club welcomes visitors
There are a number of wineries within a 10 minute to one hour drive away.
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Go to Kerikeri. The Stone Store, built in 1833, is the oldest stone building in New Zealand and the 1821 Kemp (Mission) House is the oldest surviving wooden building. The Rainbow Falls, Manginangina Kauri Reserve in the Puketi Forest, numerous local vineyards and the Makana Chocolate Factory are all worthwhile visits.
Take a trip to the most northerly point of New Zealand, Cape Reinga. Numerous bus tours leave from Paihia early in the morning and include visits to the Cape Reinga Lighthouse, the silica sand beaches, Te Paki giant sand dunes and a drive up or down Ninety Mile Beach (depending on the tide). Do not attempt this with a rental car. Salt Air offer an air and land trip to Cape Reinga from Bay of Islands Airport.
Go to the West Coast - the Hokianga Harbour, Clendon House and the Waipoua Forest (with Tane Mahuta, at 51m the largest Kauri tree still standing).
Go to Kawakawa - the world-famous Hundertwasser public toilets, Bay of Islands Vintage Steam Railway and Kawiti Glow Worm Caves.