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.

Motel Russell
Motel Russell
3 out of 5
16 Matauwhi Road, Russell
The price is NZ$137 per night from 9 Nov. to 9 Nov.
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 ...
4.5/5 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 25 Oct. to 25 Oct.
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! (508 reviews)
"Great location lovely setting."

Reviewed on 1 Oct. 2021

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel
Eagles Nest
Eagles Nest
5 out of 5
60 Tapeka Road, Bay of Islands, Russell
Located in Russell, this beachfront lodge is next to a golf course and within a 10-minute walk of Tapeka Point and Flagstaff Hill. Russell Beach and Tapeka Point ...
5/5 Exceptional! (2 reviews)
1st Wedding Anniversary
"Perfect romantic escape for our 1st wedding anniversary. Stunning and private location and in room chef was a fantastic way to cap the experience."

Reviewed on 22 Jul. 2018

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Eagles Nest
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.
The Gables - Stunning Waterfront Apartment
The Gables - Stunning Waterfront Apartment
19 The Strand, Russell, Northland
Situated on the waterfront, this historic apartment building is steps away from Russell Beach, Russell Museum and Russell Christ Church. Pompallier Mission and ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (15 reviews)
Historical and Modern
"A beautiful historical building with original windows and a modern kitchen. During our stay the Gables restaurant was being refurbished so there was some construction noise coming up through on the main level, though the master bedroom on the top floor was quiet. Good communication with the host. ..."

Reviewed on 29 Sep. 2021

The Gables - Stunning Waterfront Apartment
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 ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (88 reviews)
"Lovely property, close to shopping, restaurants and ferry. Very friendly manager."

Reviewed on 19 Mar. 2021

Seaport Village
Light, bright and brand spanking new!
Light, bright and brand spanking new!
12 James St, Russell, Northland
Situated in Russell, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Tapeka Point, Russell Beach and Russell Christ Church. Russell Museum and Pompallier Mission ...
5/5 Exceptional! (1 review)
Lovely bach in a great location
"Had a great stay - house is well furnished, clean and comfortable. There were 4 adults and 5 kids in our group - bunk room was ideal for our kids (7-11 years) and a separate room with a sofa bed for the teenager! Great communication and info from Jules. Would definitely consider staying there ..."

Reviewed on 30 Mar. 2021

Light, bright and brand spanking new!
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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