Our Favourite Russell Walks

There are over 60 walks to choose from in the beautiful Bay of Islands. There are a range of different options and levels, depending on your ability. Here are just a few of the great walks that are easily accessible from Russell – Orongo Bay Holiday Park.


Cape Brett Walk

This is a walk not for the feint hearted…but worth every single step that you take. This is a good 2 day hike (approx. 7 hours one way).

After a couple of hours walking the Cape Brett Track you will reach a viewing platform with a roofed seating area – perfect for a picnic lunch whilst taking in panoramic views of the bay. If it is views you are after then you shall not be disappointed, the views from Cape Brett are simply breath-taking.

There is the option to stay overnight in the cabin just past the lighthouse. Here walkers before you often leave behind gifts such as food or games for the next bunch of dedicated walkers.

From both the cabin and the lighthouse, you will enjoy views of the famous Hole in The Rock. You will feel like you are on the edge of the world as you look out across the ocean. Truly stunning!

Russell Walks



Tore Tore Island Track

A quiet and scenic walk (mostly only really known by the locals). A tucked away, hidden little gem.

Only a short walk from Russell-Orongo Bay Holiday Park, walk along the walkway until you reach the Te Wapu Road. Te Wapu Road is very quiet as it is non-commercial and only services a couple of dozen residents.

Once you reach Tora Tora, you can stroll along a pebbly beach littered with pretty shells. Maybe even jump off the jetty for a swim along the way!

At the end of the beach is a small island which you can access at low tide.

There is a path that will take you up and over the island. This is a truly tranquil setting, surrounded by native bush, wildlife and with only the sound of the birds and the trees swaying in the gentle breeze to keep you company.

This island walk provides fantastic views over the bay. When you reach the end, you get a fantastic view of Paihia to the one side, Russell to the other, as well as the expanse of the ocean all around you.

Russell Walks

Bay of Islands Full Circle Day Walk

This walk will take you right the way around from Russell – Okiato – Opua – Paihia.

There are many options for start and end points. The walk is developed with different zones which enables you to either take in sections or take it all in depending on your mood and ability.

The boardwalk is located directly opposite Russell-Orongo Bay Holiday Park, so you can start your journey here. From the park turn immediately left, walk for approximately 3-4 minutes until you reach a small clearing through trees on the opposite side of the road, this will take you down on to the boardwalk.

There are many points of interest along the way; Mangrove boardwalks, the historic site for manganese mining, the first capital of New Zealand, vineyards, oyster farms, an abundance of birdlife, bush, wetland and coast. Keep an eye out for the endangered North Island Weka between Okiato and Russell!


Whaling Station Walk/Whangamumu Track

Take a walk back in time to see where one of New Zealand’s last remaining shore-based whaling stations was situated. Walk the very same path the whalers used to take in the early 20th century, before it was eventually left abandoned in 1932. The remains of the station and vats are still there today.

This is a comfortable forest and beach walk taking approximately 1 hr 15 mins one way.  The track entrance to Whangamumu is located a short drive away from Russell – Orongo Bay Holiday Park, approx. 25km. It is signposted from the Rawhiti-Ngaiotonga Road.

You will enjoy abundant birdlife as you embark on the climb through the tranquil forest for the first part of the walk. Along the way you will get some fantastic views over the bay. Once through the forest you will start the descent down to the beach. This is a peaceful little beach which more likely than not, you would have all to yourselves! Be prepared to get your feet wet from here (depending on your timing) as there may be a small amount of water to paddle through before re-joining the path at the other end of the beach.


Russell Walks


Ngaiotonga Kauri Forest

Just a 10-minute drive from Russell-Orongo Bay Holiday Park, go and take the chance to experience the majestic natural beauty of a native Kauri Forest.

This is a good short and easy walk (approx. 1km or 20 minutes), ideal for families or the elderly. Many of the plants and trees there are labelled for identification, so you know what you are looking at.

russell walks

Flag Staff Hill Loop Track

Take a walk to one of New Zealand’s most iconic historic sites – Te Maiki/Flagstaff Hill, located just 5 minutes’ drive from the park.

This was the site that started the Northern Wars, with the first 4 erected flag staffs being chopped down by Hone Heke and his cohorts in the 1800’s as an objection to British sovereignty. Before this hill was used for the flagpole it was occupied by prehistoric Māori, which is seen by the terraced slopes of the hill.

This easy walk is a 2.5 km loop that takes you through regenerating kanuka/manuka scrub, down into the Waipara/Watering Bay stream and wetland before reaching the famous Flag Staff Hill. Once at the top, enjoy breath-taking panoramic views of Russell, Paihia, Waitangi and the islands. This is a great place to watch the sunset!


Tapeka Point ‘Point of Currents’

This track is located just 1 km north of Flagstaff Hill and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete (15 minutes each way).

Here you can enjoy stunning views over the entire Bay of Islands all away along the track, spanning from Cape Wiwiki in the north to Rakaumangamanga in the south-east. The track starts from Du Fresne Place and leads to the end of Tapeka Peninsula and the top-most part of Tapeka Pa itself. The height of the peninsula makes it a great look out point.

Along the way expect to see several defensive ditches, small sandy bays, steep slopes and the narrow ridge of the pa. (Make sure children are supervised on this walk due to natural hazards such as cliffs and drop offs).

The Pa itself is steeped in history. Maori legend has it that a pair of lovers leapt to their death here in their despair because they could not marry each other due to the tribal customs. The point was therefore known as ‘Lovers Leap’ until only a few years ago.


Fladgate Track

This short but pleasant walk (approx. 15 minutes) takes you through regenerating bush to picturesque Waihihi Bay (Brick Bay). Fladgate Track is part of the Russell Track network and can be accessed off Titore Way, next to Flagstaff Hill.


Urupukapuka Island

Walking on Urupukapuka Island truly is a magical experience. It is the largest of all the islands in the Bay of Islands, but you can walk the entire island in a day. The complete island walk takes approximately 5 hours and is designed in a clockwise direction. If you don’t feel like doing the complete island walk, you can just relax on any one of the beaches that take your fancy along the way and re-join the track at most of the larger bays.

The only way to get to your island escape is by boat. You can catch a ferry from Russell Wharf with Explore for $35 return per person.

The island itself is a slice of paradise with crystal clear waters, numerous sandy beaches and its pathways through manuka forest.

You will pass various archaeological features from pre-European life along the track on the edge of the island.

The island holds the ‘Project Island Song’ (wildlife sanctuary) in which numerous native bird species have been re-introduced to the island and thousands of trees planted– bringing back birdsong note for note.  This is the result of a unique partnership between Guardians of the Bay of Islands, Te Rawhiti  (Ngati Kuta and Patukeha) and the Department of Conservation. The island has been eliminated of all predators and pests in order for many endangered and rare species to flourish once again and restore ecological balance back to the island.

There is a wildlife hide on the island giving you a chance to catch a glimpse of rare and native birdlife and wildlife (although you will almost be sure to see something as you trek through the forest, just look up).

The sound of the birds on this island is truly beautiful. The island echoes with the sound of the birds. There are also many look out points on the island with breath taking views of the Bay of Islands.

This is a walk through paradise that you will treasure forever.


russell Walks


Tips for planning your bay of islands walks 

Russell is a peninsula with an island feel, offering the opportunity for you to discover hidden places and tucked away treasures in a stunning scenic environment. The year-round warm weather makes Russell a great place to visit anytime.

These walking tracks are easily accessible from the Russell-Orongo Bay Holiday Park where you can pitch a tent or stay in a cabin, cottage or bungalow.

Make sure you are prepared for your walk with suitable walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen & water.

If you are planning to stay at Cape Brett Walk make sure to book the hut in advance & pay track and hut fees at Bay of Islands i-SITE Visitor Centre .

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