Boating in Russell waters is a voyage into history. While the town today is a tourist destination, it retains its sense of the out-of-the-way, in part because of its somewhat remote location but also because of its rich and storied past. Long before James Cook visited the port in 1769 the Maori established a fishing village on the shores of the Bay of Islands. As New Zealand saw an increase in shipping in the 1800s, the port of Russell became a major whaling and trading center famous for its rough characters off the ships. In fact, Russell was known as the Hellhole of the Pacific. The bullet holes in the Anglican Church, the oldest in New Zealand, attest to the violence that was common in the settlement. Eventually Russell became the capital of New Zealand and businesses thrived. Today Russell’s shops and restaurants are popular among visitors, many of whom are anglers interested in the abundant fishery just offshore.
Moorings are available. Anchor off the wharf in deep water. Make certain the anchor is well set.
Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available.
Apart from the shops, restaurants, and pubs, a visit to Russell is intriguing because of the history that seems to be everywhere. A good place to learn more about the Bay of Islands and the town itself is at the Russell Museum. The various collections include artifacts from the Maori culture, Captain Cook memorabilia, and whaling implements, including harpoons. There are three heritage paths (interpretative maps are available at the museum) that can take as little as 35 minutes to walk or as much as two hours. Of particular interest is the trek up Flagstaff Hill. There you can see stunning 360-degree views of the islands. It’s well worth the time to take such a pleasant stroll. Guided tours of Russell and the surrounding area are also available.
Fuel, propane, and provisions are available.