Two weeks into our visit to New Zealand, we finally felt well enough to make it out to visit Russell. Formerly known as Kororāreka, it was the first permanent European settlement and sea port in New Zealand. It is situated in the Bay of Islands, in the far north of the North Island. 

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(Red dot…tip top!)

To get to Russell, you can take a long round-about drive up a peninsula to get there, or you can take a ferry. There are car ferries from Opua, or several passenger ferries from Paihia. We opted for the passenger ferry (adult $12 NZ, $6 NZ return), and found that it was quite a short ferry ride to arrive in Russell. 

Lucky girls–they were the only ones unscathed by our illness!

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There’s not much to Russell, and so we found ourselves leisurely walking the main tourist strip, which only consisted of a few blocks with very light auto traffic.

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There were a few cute cafes with live music, but we just sat on the beach side for quite some time while the kids enjoyed hunting for little spiral shells on the pebble beach (Ella’s favorite kind, because it’s much cleaner than sand!).

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The kids were also enthused by the massive entanglement of branches and roots of this Morton Bay Fig Tree, which was planted in 1870!

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A local family was having a blast jumping from the docks.

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A Maori woman wood cutout stood watch over the pier:

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After the walk, we decided to treat our kids to some goodies from the small grocery store. We bought these popular New Zealand cookies (“Hundreds and Thousands” is the brand name for what we simply call “sprinkles” in the US), and found that they were surprisingly quite good! I’d say they are a thinner/less-frosted version of American “Mother’s Frosted Animal Cookies”. Yum!

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Freckles to match the Sprinkles 😉

It was a sweet day in Russell, and literally a breath of fresh air to no longer be confined to bed with illness (sickness while traveling bites)!



My name is Alisa, and I love traveling the world with my adventurous husband and rambunctious 5 small children. I am passionate about gorgeous scenery, meeting new people, and I’m a certified salad nut. Most of all, I love making memories with my family, and I enjoy sharing our travels with others!

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