Russell Info

For free knowledgable assistance with accommodation and tour bookings, please contact or phone 0800 633 255.


Russell has a diverse range of places to stay from budget through to luxury accommodation, plenty of places to eat and drink at – fine dining to takeaways on the beach. From Russell you can explore the Bay of Islands on sail boats, kayaks or fast boats. There are numerous walks about Russell and it also has 4 stunning safe swimming beaches.


Russell’s History: Two hundred years ago Russell was known only by its Maori name, Kororareka, and described as “the hell hole of the Pacific”: a rough shore leave destination for sailors, whalers and traders. Full of historic buildings and fascinating stories, today you can visit Pompallier, an early French Catholic Mission and the only example of Lyonnaise style architecture in New Zealand. There’s an excellent museum and Christ Church still sports musket ball holes from the Maori Wars.

Russell is a world-renowned for its game fishing. Zane Grey famously described New Zealand as ‘an angler’s El Dorado when he caught his first marlin here in 1926. Tuna, broad bill, kingfish and shark are other potential game fish catches. A large fleet of world-class charter boats with skilled and experienced skippers caters for just about any type of fishing and for all skill levels. From hooking into a delicious snapper to saltwater fly-fishing, fishing in Northland today continues to live up to Zane Grey’s description.

Getting to Russell: 


Fly into Kerikeri Airport and drive from there.

Passenger Ferry

Passenger ferries depart from Paihia – there is a special “Birdman weekend pass” available to enable you to visit Russell more than once! Fullers Birdman Ferry Pass – travel as many times on the Bay Belle passenger ferry from the 14th to the 17th for only $20 per person! Under 5’s are free. Normal fares Children 14 and under are $6 return, Adults $12 return. Decide what works best for you! But if coming over for 4 days this is a great deal! Thanks to Fullers.

Car Ferry 

Mainland departure location: Opua

Russell peninsular location: Okiato (7km from Russell)

First ferry: Okiato 0640, Opua 0650
Last ferry: Okiato 2200, Opua 2150
Tickets: Purchased on board, cash only, no EFTPOS or credit card facilities available
Price: Car & driver $10.00, passenger/foot $1.00

For those who have time and don’t want to take a boat: For a more scenic journey, take the Old Russell road, which turns right off SH1 at Whakapara, approximately 20 minutes north of Whangarei. Following signs for Oakura, take your time and enjoy the fully sealed road as it meanders around the coast. There are plenty of beautiful beaches and places to stop for a leisurely break.