An Epic Drive along Russell Road

Make the most of your journey to Russell and travel along part of what has been named by Lonely Planet, the world’s leading authority on travel, as one of 50 “Epic Drives of the World”! Take this stunning coastal road that offers spectacular views of unspoiled beaches and native forests and is part of a Northland loop which is one of only 2 routes in New Zealand to be featured in the new book! The Northland journey starts in Auckland, heading up the east coast, turning off State Highway 1 fifteen minutes north of Whangarei onto Russell Road and is described by the author as a “diverse journey combining spectacular coast detours, Maori art and culture, and echoes of New Zealand’s colonial past”!

We’ve always known that our special corner of the world is pretty epic but now we’ve had confirmation from some people in the know! Lonely Planet have been the world’s leading authority on travel since 1972 and their newly released book Epic Drives of the World praises the back road journey to the Bay of Islands as a “diverse journey combining spectacular coast detours, Maori art and culture, and echoes of New Zealand’s colonial past”.

The journey becomes part of the holiday itself on this route to Russell that “negotiates forested hills and remote beach settlements dotted with marae”. The author shares our great taste, echoing our long standing recommendation of a lunch stop at Helena Bay Art Gallery where you will find a ”goofily friendly welcome from 3 gentle Newfoundland dogs” as well as a wide-ranging collection of art by New Zealand artists and lush subtropical gardens with magnificent bush and sea views.

The oyster farms here at Orongo Bay earn a special mention in the book and we appreciate why – super fresh and unbelievable value, you can pick some up less than 5 minute walk from the Park.

The author notes Russell’s 19th century notoriety as a “raffish haven for boozing and brawling whalers and sailors” when the only access to the village and surrounding areas was by boat. Luckily, the area has come a long way since then and the Russell Road finally being put in during the 1930’s opened the town and peninsula up to tourism, now welcoming visitors to this idyllic holiday destination from all over the world.

They say that life is a journey not a destination so make the most of your holiday and travel this stunning coastal road, taking in spectacular views of unspoiled beaches and native forests, and discover for yourself how epic our beautiful region can be.

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