The isolated location of RUSSELL – on a narrow peninsula with poor road but good sea access – gives this small hillside settlement an island ambience. In summer, however, day-trippers pile off passenger ferries from Paihia and vehicle ferries from nearby Opua to explore the village's historic buildings and stroll along its quaint waterfront. Evenings are more peaceful and romantic – a far cry from the 1830s when Kororareka, as Russell was then known, was a swashbuckling town full of whalers and sealers with a reputation as the "Hell Hole of the Pacific".
There are dozens of trips into the Bay that can be taken from Russell, but almost all of them originate in Paihia. Details can be found, and reservations made, at Russell Information, on the wharf (Tel:09/403 8020Web: www.visitrussell.co.nz ) or the Bay of Islands Visitor Centre, The Strand, also right by the wharf.