After leaving Piha we have to climb back over the mountain ranges and head back around the outer suburbs of Auckland before swinging north onto the motorway. Skirting villages and towns we decide to take the back road to Russell, most people take the ferry instead of the back way over the mountains and hills, the route takes us past secluded beaches and bays it is soon apparent this is not the best route for a motorhome. Never mind it takes us about two hours to drive as we stop at a number of places along the way. Eventually however we are back on the main road into Russell, which takes us towards the beautiful little village on the shores of the Bay of Plenty.
It was a good idea to book our place beforehand, as we have a really good campsite on the hillside overlooking Tapapuke Bay. The view faces back towards the rooftops of Russell, the campsite is alive with the blooming crimson Pohutukawa trees and we have our own family of Weka birds pecking around our table, it is a very relaxed place with an easy walk down the hill into the town centre.
Situated directly onto the beach and harbour, the centre of Russell waterfront has a pier stretching out into the bay where you can catch ferries to cross the bay or head out on a cruise out into the Bay of Islands. Tonight we settle in the Duke of Marlborough, a restaurant directly on the shoreline while listening to the live music being performed in front of the veranda, it all adds up to a very relaxed evening as the late sun dips down into the sea.
The following day we walk over the hill behind the campsite to Oneroa Bay to stretch out on the sand for some much needed sun rays. In total we stay three nights in Russell over the Christmas period. After the second day we decide it’s time we jumped on one of the many boat trips heading out onto the water to really experience the full beauty of the Bay of Islands.
Check out the duke : The Duke of Marlborough Hotel directly on the waterfront or Hone’s Garden a cool little bier garden tucked away back from the Strand.
Where : Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
Travelling : The Okiato Car ferry across the Bay or a two hour twisty narrow Scenic Drive Road or do both !
Camping : Top 10 Russell Holiday Park. A short walk down the hill into Russell shoreline. Very relaxed, beautiful village, less easy to reach as you have to take a ferry from the mainland.
Next Up : Hole in the Rock.