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Russell

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.


Top Hotel Deals

See all 129 Hotels in Russell
Russell Cottages $125
Russell Cottages

Russell Cottages

16 Chapel Street, Russell
     
    4.8
    of 5, from 189 reviews
    4.0 out of 5.0

    This family-friendly Russell apartment building is located near the beach, within a 5-minute walk of Russell Beach, Russell Museum, and Russell Christ Church. Flagstaff Hill and Paihia Wharf are also within 15 minutes.

    The Duke of Marlborough Hotel $83
    The Duke of Marlborough Hotel

    The Duke of Marlborough Hotel

    35 The Strand, Russell
       
      4.5
      of 5, from 223 reviews
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Situated on the waterfront, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Russell Beach and Russell Museum. Russell Christ Church and Paihia Wharf are also within 15 minutes.

      Ounuwhao Harding House $185
      Ounuwhao Harding House

      Ounuwhao Harding House

      16 Hope Ave, Russell
         
        4.8
        of 5, from 12 reviews
        4.5 out of 5.0

        Situated near the beach, this luxury bed & breakfast is within a 15-minute walk of Russell Christ Church, Russell Museum, and Russell Beach. Flagstaff Hill and Long Beach are also within 1 mi (2 km).

        Motel Russell $70
        Motel Russell

        Motel Russell

        16 Matauwhi Road, Russell
           
          4.4
          of 5, from 148 reviews
          3.0 out of 5.0

          Situated near the beach, this apartment building is within a 5-minute walk of Russell Christ Church and Russell Museum. Russell Beach and Flagstaff Hill are also within 1 mi (2 km).

          The Duke Motel $79
          The Duke Motel

          The Duke Motel

          7 Wellington Street, Russell
             
            4.7
            of 5, from 34 reviews
            4.0 out of 5.0

            Situated in the historical district, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Russell Christ Church, Russell Beach, and Russell Museum. Flagstaff Hill and Long Beach are also within 1 mi (2 km).

            Hananui Lodge and Apartments $80
            Hananui Lodge and Apartments

            Hananui Lodge and Apartments

            4 York Street, Russell
               
              4.7
              of 5, from 159 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

              Situated near the beach, this motel is steps from Russell Museum, Russell Christ Church, and Russell Beach. Paihia Wharf and Flagstaff Hill are also within 15 minutes.

              The Commodores Lodge $101
              The Commodores Lodge

              The Commodores Lodge

              The Strand, Russell
                 
                4.1
                of 5, from 9 reviews
                3.0 out of 5.0

                Situated on the waterfront, this motel is within a 5-minute walk of Russell Beach and Russell Museum. Russell Christ Church and Paihia Wharf are also within 15 minutes.

                Cloud 9 Luxury Villa
                Cloud 9 Luxury Villa

                Cloud 9 Luxury Villa

                45 Russell Heights, Russell
                   
                  5.0 out of 5.0

                  Situated by the sea, this luxury vacation home is within a 15-minute walk of Long Beach and Russell Christ Church. Russell Museum and Russell Beach are also within 1 mi (2 km).

                  Top Flight + Hotel Deals