Russell is an historic village in the Bay of Islands. We haven’t been up there for 3 years, although it is one of our favourite places for a few days away. It’s a quiet town with a great view and the best restaurants north of Auckland.
It’s one of the few places left with weka and kiwi (although the former is much more common than the latter).
Oysters are raised nearby, and are second only to Bluff oysters.
There are two beaches – a pebble beach in front of Russell itself, and 1km over the hill is Oneroa Bay Beach a sandy beach with some waves (although it was very calm for our stay).
There are two great restaurants at Russel – the Gables – the oldest restaurant in the country, and the Duke of Marlborough – the oldest pub. To be honest I think the Duke is the better of the two. Both are popular, though you’re more likely to run into the rich and famous at the Duke – a previous Speaker of the House was dining at the table next to us.
Across the bay is Paihia, another small town but much more touristy. There’s a small ferry that runs between them every 20 minutes or so.
Each night there we had a great sunset.
Not too far from Russell is Kerikeri. There the oldest shop and oldest building in New Zealand at the Kerikeri Mission Station.
On the way home we stopped to stretch our legs at Uretiti Beach. It was like most New Zealand beaches – not particularly crowded.
We had a bite to eat at the Puhoi Pub before hitting the Auckland motorway.