Where we are
Historic Russell is located on a peninsula in Bay of Islands, linked by a passenger ferry to Paihia and car ferry to Opua.
After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, William Hobson purchased land at Okiato to establish New Zealand’s first capital. He changed its name from Okiato to Russell, in honour of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord John Russell. A year later in 1841 New Zealand was established as a separate colony from New South Wales and Hobson moved the capital to Auckland. A few officials lived on in the Government House at Russell but when it and the offices burned down in May 1842, they moved 7 km north to the Maori settlement of Kororareka, leaving Russell virtually deserted. Kororareka was part of the Port of Russell and gradually also became known as Russell. In January 1844, Governor Robert Fitzroy officially designated Kororareka as part of the township of Russell. Now the name Russell applies to the erstwhile Kororareka, whilst Okiato has resumed its original name.
In the early days of European settlement, Kororareka developed a very bad reputation and was known as the Hell Hole of the Pacific. Kororareka was a magnet for rough elements such as fleeing convicts, whalers, prostitutes and drunken sailors. Today Russell is a peaceful village and is an ideal base for exploring Bay of Islands. It is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Paihia across the bay.
The Hanlons Bed and Breakfast is approximately six minutes drive from the centre of Russell and 2.5 km from Okiato and the car ferry to Opua.
How to get here
There are three daily return flights from Auckland International Airport, operated by Air New Zealand Link, to Bay of Islands Airport at Kerikeri which is about 40 minutes drive away (via the Opua to Okiato Car Ferry). Rental cars are available at Bay of Islands Airport.
Travelling here by car by the direct route using State Highway 1 and State Highway 11, the journey time from Auckland airport is about three and a half hours without stops.
Coming from Auckland, you head north to Whangarei on State Highway 1 (SH1). If you have a GPS, once past Whangarei you should carry on to Kawakawa on SH1 and NOT turn off where signposted to Oakura and Russell at Whakapara, about 15 kms after Whangarei, before reaching Kawakawa. (This would take you on the back road to Russell; the picturesque Old Russell Road which is a long, slow and winding route which takes at least one hour longer than the direct route). Our advice is to put Kawakawa in your GPS as a "Via" point and our address 104 Te Wahapu Rd, Russell as the destination. That will ensure that you stay on SH1 to Kawakawa. When you get to the intersection at Kawakawa, don't turn left into Kawakawa but continue in the right-hand lane on State Highway 11 straight ahead and this will take you to Opua, 13 kms away. At the top of the Opua hill you will be directed to turn right. then its down the hill to the Opua to Okiato Car Ferry - $12 dollars one way for your car and two adults. On the other side of the crossing, it is just 2.5 kms to Te Wahapu Rd on the left ( quite a nasty turn), and then we are 1 km. (actually 1040 m. according to the Rapid system) down the road and we are on the right. Down our long drive, there is still a road ahead of you after the steep summit!
The entrance to The Hanlons
The turning to Te Wahupu Road
We are here
Click on the buttons of the interactive map below to zoom in or zoom out or click on the marker to get driving instructions.