Russell Museum

Holiday Travel Guide
Russell Museum featuring street scenes

Learn about Russell’s Māori heritage and the history of European settlers through this vast collection of photographs, documents and other objects.

Inspect fascinating items, including traditional Māori weapons, whaling artefacts and large detailed models at Russell Museum. The small historical museum features an archive of more than 2,000 photographs as well as many captivating displays. See military artefacts from the Battle of Kororareka and other items from Russell’s early history.

The museum was established in the mid-20th century to preserve the history of Russell, one of New Zealand’s first Māori and European seaports. Browse a range of displays focusing on the town’s Māori heritage, whaling history and European settlement.

Exhibits at the museum trace the region’s Māori history and include such items as weapons, stone adzes, fishing lures and cloaks. Discover how Māori first arrived in the Bay of Islands by voyaging canoes. Examine the museum’s collection of Māori artefacts, including precious “hei tiki” (neck ornaments) and “mere” (clubs).

The museum also covers Russell’s history as a prominent whaling port, with displays devoted to Russell’s 19th-century whaling history. Among the many remarkable objects presented are harpoons, whalebones, flensing spades and oars.

Study a large model of Captain James Cook’s British Navy research ship, HMS Endeavour. Cook visited the Bay of Islands in the late 18th century, anchoring next to Motuarohia Island. Another interesting exhibit covers the events of the Battle of Kororareka in 1845, and includes portraits of Māori chiefs, as well as cannonballs and military artefacts.

From the museum, walk to many other nearby attractions, including a landmark 19th-century church and the town’s pretty main beach. Christ Church, which is less than 5 minutes’ away on foot, is one of the oldest standing churches in New Zealand, while the waterfront features restaurants and alfresco cafés.

Russell Museum is located in the centre of Russell in the Bay of Islands. The museum is open daily and admission charges apply. Drivers can park in the adjacent lot. Visit the on-site gift store at Russell Museum to purchase history books, bone carvings, paua shell jewellery and paintings.

Top activities in Russell Museum

441 Cheap Hotels Near Russell Museum

Motel Russell
Motel Russell
3 out of 5
16 Matauwhi Road, Russell
The price is NZ$144 per night from 8 Dec. to 8 Dec.
Situated near the beach, this motel is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Russell Christ Church and 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Paihia Beach. Russell Museum and Pompallier Mission ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (202 reviews)
Great stay.
"We were in Russell for our wedding anniversary and it was our 4th time staying in the Russell Motel. Friendly greeting when we arrived escorted to our room it was just a great experience overall."

Reviewed on 16 Jul. 2021

Motel Russell
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 NZ$150 per night from 7 Dec. to 7 Dec.
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 Pompallier ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (510 reviews)
"ease of check in"

Reviewed on 3 Dec. 2021

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel
Intimate and romantic
Intimate and romantic
Russell, Northland
Situated in Russell, this apartment building is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Tapeka Point and 2.9 mi (4.6 km) from Paihia Beach. Russell Christ Church and Russell Museum ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (5 reviews)
Exquisite Russell Experience
"Beautifully renovated historic building in the heart of Russell. Menna’s hospitality is fabulous & we appreciated all her personal touches and generousity in leaving treats in the fridge for us. We were seconds from the waterfront, restaurants and beaches. We highly recommend staying here and will ..."

Reviewed on 1 Feb. 2020

Intimate and romantic
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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Top Russell Museum Hotel & Accommodation Deals

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands
4 out of 5
1 Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi
The price is NZ$128 per night from 13 Dec. to 13 Dec.
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands
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 NZ$150 per night from 7 Dec. to 7 Dec.
The Duke of Marlborough Hotel
Intimate and romantic
Intimate and romantic
Russell, Northland
Intimate and romantic
Motel Russell
Motel Russell
3 out of 5
16 Matauwhi Road, Russell
The price is NZ$144 per night from 8 Dec. to 8 Dec.
Motel Russell
Hananui Lodge and Apartments
Hananui Lodge and Apartments
3 out of 5
4 York Street, Russell
Hananui Lodge and Apartments
Central down-town Apartment with seaviews from the balcony
Central down-town Apartment with seaviews from the balcony
15 York Street, Russell, Northland
Central down-town Apartment with seaviews from the balcony
Kororareka Villa - Russell Holiday Home
Kororareka Villa - Russell Holiday Home
5 Robertson Road, Russell, Northland
Kororareka Villa - Russell Holiday Home
The Gables - Stunning Waterfront Apartment
The Gables - Stunning Waterfront Apartment
Russell, Northland
The Gables - Stunning Waterfront Apartment
Seaport Village
Seaport Village
3.5 out of 5
10 Chapel Street, Russell, Far North
Seaport Village
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.