Russell – ‘The Hell-hole of the Pacific’?

An afternoon in Russell, which is a short ferry ride from Paihia is worth the time.  The town’s original street plan & names from 1843 are still intact and feature some of New Zealand’s oldest and most significant historic buildings. A street re-enactment played out by locals told the story of the 30 or so pubs that lined the beach & enticed the sailors ashore – “Save our Men from Grog & Wenches”. It was said that Russell was the most sinful site of the southern seas! Crikey….one of the ‘wenches’ took a shine to hubby as you can see below!

You can only imagine how busy the missionaries were! the Christ Church was built in 1835-36 and is the oldest working Church  in New Zealand today 🙂 The French arrived in 1839 and built a mission and printery in 1841. The Catholic brothers translated religious texts into Maori, printed them & bound them into beautiful books. You can see the printing in action with a guided tour –

There was so many beautiful places to have lunch in Russell – you really are spoilt for choice however a friend of mine, Kate, had recommended the ‘Duke of Marlborough’. Right on the waterfront with The Duke which proudly says it has been ‘Refreshing Rascals & Reprobates since 1827′ with the proud honour? of holding New Zealand’s first liquor licence 🙂 And with this as the view, it was a perfect stop for us!


After a fab lunch of fresh snapper we took a stroll down the front street of Russell admiring the buildings and enjoying the sea view and breeze.  We hopped aboard a quick ferry back to Paihia after a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.


Check out our next day trip –  to Karikari Peninsula!






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