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Russell
Travel Guide

Russell showing a coastal town and a bay or harbour

Discover colonial charm, a colorful history and picturesque oceanfront scenery when you visit New Zealand’s oldest town. 

Stroll through Russell’s charming narrow streets to find historic architecture, gift shops and relaxing oceanfront cafés. Visit some of New Zealand’s oldest buildings and discover the town’s history as a Maori settlement and European whaling port. Walk along the nearby cliffs for stunning sunset views before returning to the town for a dinner of locally caught fish in one of the town’s superb restaurants.

Russell, formerly Kororāreka, was first settled by European whalers in the early 19th century and is the oldest “pākehā” (European) town in New Zealand.It was once known as the “hell hole of the Pacific” due to the debaucherous antics of the whalers and seamen that settled here. Today, Russell’s charming colonial buildings, pleasant restaurants and peaceful ambience have given it a reputation for being one of the most desirable destinations in New Zealand.

Learn about the antics of the sailors and the early battles between the local Maori people and the European settlers that took place here when you visit Russell Museum. This intriguing museum also contains a scale model of Captain Cook’s ship, The Endeavour. If the town’s history interests you, visit New Zealand’s oldest industrial building, Pompallier House. This historic building was built in 1841 and contains an original printing press and tanner, both of which are still operational today. Nearby, you’ll find New Zealand’s oldest church, built in 1836.

Notice the pretty colonial architecture throughout the town as you wander along the streets. Find souvenirs in the gift shops or enjoy a coffee break in a café.

The best way to get to Russell is by ferry, as driving there requires a considerable detour. Take a short ferry trip from Paihia and keep an eye out for dolphins as you cross the water.

Russell is located in the Bay of Islands and has a mild year-round climate, making it a pleasant place to visit in any season. Indulge in luxury accommodation in peaceful and historic Russell or find budget lodgings across the water in Paihia.

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel
The Duke of Marlborough Hotel
4.5 out of 5
35 The Strand, Bay of Islands, Russell
The price is £68 per night from 1 Jul to 1 Jul
Situated on the waterfront, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Russell Beach, Russell Museum and Russell Christ Church. Tapeka Point and Flagstaff ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (488 reviews)
"It was so wonderful to have a fantastic person at the front desk when I checked in, he was so helpful and accommodating."

Reviewed on 6 Jun 2021

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel
Motel Russell
Motel Russell
3 out of 5
16 Matauwhi Road, Russell
The price is £69 per night from 4 Jul to 4 Jul
Situated near the beach, this motel is within a 5-minute walk of Russell Christ Church and Russell Museum. Pompallier Mission and Russell Beach are also within ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (199 reviews)
Great Value for Money
"Nice tidy spacious room. Nice pool and gardens. Very relaxed accommodation with just a short walk into Russell."

Reviewed on 28 Feb 2021

Motel Russell
Villa Russell
Villa Russell
4 out of 5
The price is £99 per night from 20 Jun to 20 Jun
Situated near the beach, this bed & breakfast is steps away from Tapeka Point and Russell Beach. Russell Museum and Russell Christ Church are also within 10 ...
5/5Exceptional! (20 reviews)
getaway
"great location, handy to everything, awesome service"

Reviewed on 21 Feb 2021

Villa Russell
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Russell Top 10 Holiday Villas
Russell Top 10 Holiday Villas
3 out of 5
1 James Street, Russell, Northland
The price is £68 per night from 17 Jun to 17 Jun
Situated by the sea, this eco-friendly villa is within a 10-minute walk of Tapeka Point, Russell Beach, and Russell Christ Church. Russell Museum and Pompallier ...
3.8/5Good! (6 reviews)
"Great value for money. Awesome for families. We stayed in one bedroom villa was great little place for a night or two."

Reviewed on 30 Aug 2020

Russell Top 10 Holiday Villas
Seaport Village
Seaport Village
3.5 out of 5
10 Chapel Street, Russell, Far North
With direct access to the beach, this Russell apartment building is in the city centre and within a 5-minute walk of Russell Beach, Tapeka Point and Russell ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (87 reviews)
"They manager was very friendly and helpful, also the locality was only 50 metres from the wharf."

Reviewed on 14 Mar 2021

Seaport Village
Cloud 9 Luxury Villa
Cloud 9 Luxury Villa
5 out of 5
45 Russell Heights, Russell
Situated by the sea, this luxury holiday home is within a 15-minute walk of Tapeka Point, Long Beach, and Russell Christ Church. Russell Beach and Russell Museum ...
Cloud 9 Luxury Villa
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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