Welcome to Russell

Although it was once known as ‘the hellhole of the Pacific’, those coming to Russell for debauchery will be sadly disappointed: they’ve missed the orgies on the beach by 180 years. Instead they’ll find a historic town with gift shops and B&Bs, and, in summer, you can rent kayaks and dinghies along the Strand.Before it was known as a hellhole, or even as Russell, it was Kororareka (Sweet Penguin), a fortified... Read More

Top experiences in Russell

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Travel guides

Starting at $24.99

Image for Image for

Russell activities

$163.45 Day Trips & Excursions

Bay of Islands Day Tour from Auckland

After pickup from your centrally-located Auckland hotel or the Sky City coach terminal, you’ll travel by comfortable air-conditioned coach approximately three hours to Paihia, the jumping off point for touring the Bay of Islands. Relax as you motor along the scenic route and avail yourself of free on board WIFI. When you arrive in Paihia, you’ll head to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds for a guided tour of this historical site, where in 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi–considered the founding document of the nation–was signed by 43 Maori chiefs and the British Crown. You’ll visit the Waitangi Treaty House, built in 1832 as a private home and now a museum with informational displays, including a copy of the treaty. Nearby you'll find an elaborately decorated Maori meeting house and a large waka (war canoe) with photographs depicting its construction from gigantic logs. After visiting Waitingi, you’ll take a short ferry ride to Russell for a 1-hour coach tour of this charming town with a wild past. Find out why Russell was once known as the 'Hellhole of the Pacific' and see historical highlights including the Pompallier Mission, Christ Church, and New Zealand’s oldest pub. From the top of Flagstaff Hill, you’ll get panoramic views over the bay and learn about the historical controversy surrounding the flagstaff in the 1840s. You’ll have free time to spend at your leisure when the guided tour concludes in Russell. Relax in town and explore Russell’s cafes, shops, waterfront, museum and art galleries featuring Maori artists. After a scenic and informative full-day tour, you’ll reboard your coach and be returned to Auckland.

$719.31 Multi-day & Extended Tours

3-Day Bay of Islands Trip from Auckland

Day 1 - Auckland to Bay of IslandsDepart Auckland on an air-conditioned coach via the Auckland Harbour Bridge, heading north along the Hibiscus Coast to the beautiful Bay of Islands. Arriving in the town of Paihia, also known as the jewel of the Bay of Islands, you'll visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It was here that the 1840 treaty was signed between Maori and the British Crown. Spend the rest of your day at your own leisure. Accommodation at the Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands or similar.Day 2 - Cape Reinga, Bay of IslandsYour tour departs this morning and takes you through Puketi Kauri Forest, an ancient subtropical rainforest. You'll travel along the aptly named Ninety Mile Beach to the northernmost point of New Zealand, Cape Reinga. A BBQ lunch is included, followed by an afternoon museum visit before returning to Paihia. Accommodation at the Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands or similar.Day 3 - Bay of Islands to AucklandThis morning you will board the Fullers Cruise for a memorable trip to Cape Brett and Piecy Island, traveling through the famous "Hole in the Rock" (weather permitting). On your return, disembark in Russell, the first capital of New Zealand, and enjoy a sightseeing tour of this historic township. Board the ferry back to Paihia, then rejoin your coach for the return to Auckland, where your tour concludes.Accommodation: The Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands has a sub-tropical resort ambience and is situated at the entrance to the seaside town of Paihia. It is a pleasant stroll into town to access the main wharf, visitor activities, fine dining and shopping. All rooms include Sky TV, minibar, fridge, telephone, high-speed internet access, hair dryer and ironing facilities. Hotel facilities include 24-hour reception, swimming pool, internet kiosk, lounge bar and restaurant.

$3649 Yolo

New Zealand Encompassed

It dosen’t look so big on the map, but New Zealand is positively massive once you’re there in person. This comprehensive 24-day trip – our longest in this part of the world – delivers the most immersive NZ experience possible. Get close to the land by exploring volcanoes, national parks, a sustainable farm, and meet the water up-close on expert-led kayak excursions and during surf lessons. Best of all, you’ll get to explore the magnificent Bay of Islands, home to some of the world’s top fishing. 24 days? You’ll wish it was longer.

$1499 Yolo

New Zealand–North Island Encompassed

New Zealand’s North Island thoroughly engages the body and the spirit, often at the same time. This ten-day trip promises loads of both. Up here, you’ll pick up some sustainable living tips on a conservation farm and learn Maori culture straight from the source while bunking in villages in the bush. Elsewhere, you’ll sea kayak in a secluded harbour, get a surfing lesson from an expert, and overnight on a houseboat. There’s much more, but we’ve gotta leave some surprises, right?

$529 Yolo

New Zealand–The Bay of Islands

Nature lovers who leave the North Island without stopping off at the Bay of Islands will kick themselves all the way back home (and that’s a looong flight). This four-day trip to this outdoorsman’s paradise features ample time hiking the nature trails and makes the most of all that water with plenty of opportunities for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, and sailing. Not enough? A night aboard a houseboat should do the trick. We take care of all the fuss. All you have to do is have the time of your life.