Russell – A very beautiful seaside village

The Bay of Islands was where the Māori first arrived in New Zealand and Russell was the first capital and the first European settlement established in New Zealand, originally known as Kororareka“How sweet is the penguin” (kororā meaning blue penguin and reka meaning sweet). A port for whalers and sealers it gained a reputation as the ‘Hell Hole of the Pacific’. It was renamed Russell in 1844 in honour of the British Colonial Secretary of the day, so our village is rich in history. Even the headstones of Christ Church, New Zealand’s first church have a story to tell.  

Allow plenty of time to explore and enjoy the heritage and ambience of picturesque Russell where you can visit some of the oldest buildings in New Zealand and the local galleries 

 Here are just some of the places you should visit: 

  • Pompallier Printery 
  • Christ Church 
  • Flagstaff Hill 
  • Russell Museum 
  • Old Customhouse 
  • Site of New Zealand’s first capital at Russell


Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Experience Māori culture and cuisine at its best.  The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is one of Aotearoa’s most important historic sites.  A visit can include a guided tour of the treaty grounds, visits to the two museumscultural performances and a hāngi dinner  

The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway
Enjoy a ride through scenic countryside, The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway is unique as it is the only working railway in New Zealand where the trains travel down a State Highway and right through the middle of a busy town.  It’s a great family day out whatever the weather, operating between Kawakawa and Taumarere it is approximately a 30 minute drive en route to the holiday park.

Russell Cinema
At Cinema Kororareka enjoy acclaimed and arthouse movies.

Fuller’s GreatSights: Discover Russell Mini Tour
Take in the sights of Russell on an intimate one-hour coach tour combining historical knowledge and local insight. Learn about significant sites like Pompallier House and Christ Church and stand atop Flagstaff Hill for stunning Bay of Islands views.

Free tour booking and information service at our park reception
We can save time and hassle by organising and booking your Bay of Islands tours and activities for you! Our knowledgeable team can also provide recommendations should you need them.  Complimentary for all Holiday Park guests.