Russell: Introducing The Bay of Islands
Slowly over the last several weeks, I have been stealthily compiling a list of random places that I hear my Kiwi and well-traveled backpackers mention in New Zealand. As I scanned the map for my route from Whangarei to the Bay of Islands, I noticed Russell, a name that sounded familiar.
I went to my notepad and found it amongst the list of mismatched bays, towns, and beaches on the North Island. So it was settled, I would go to Russell first.
After, several wrong turns which led to an hour and a half worth of detours, I finally found myself in the old whaling port of Russell. Knowing absolutely nothing about the town beforehand, I was pleasantly surprised. Instantly, I was smitten by the colonial architecture reminiscent of British sailors and people who settled in the town about 150 years ago.
This little town seemed like the perfect romantic getaway (cue tears because I’m alone). I took a short, twenty minute walk up to Flagstaff Historic Reserve to get a nice view of the ocean, read up on some interesting Maori-British history about the flagstaff that was erected on that spot and repeatedly ripped down by local Maori, and stumbled upon the most stunning sundial I imagine ever to be gazed upon.
After a short brewski at New Zealand’s first hotel ever, The Duke of Marlborough—I’m slowly making my way through the entire Mac’s product list—I wandered along the beach some more and hit the road to Paihia. My visit to Russell was short but sweet. I definitely recommend making the drive to this town!