Romantic Russell and the Beauty of the Bay

Ever since we began planning our move, the Bay of Islands has been on the top of our list of destinations to visit while in New Zealand.  We made that dream a reality with a weekend roadtrip out to Russell, a charming, Victorian village located within the beautiful Bay of Islands.

The Bay of Islands held no less than romance, adventure, and epic times this past weekend for Alli, Courtney, Mark, Laurel, Brendon and I.  We rented a lovely bach (vacation home) with picturesque views of the Bay.  During our stay, our bach acquired several different names, including  “Coastal Castle,” “Mermaid’s Chamber,” and “Tub at the Top of Lemon Tree Lane.”  You may call it what you like.

With sailboats in the water, and lush greenery and tropical flowers surrounding the residence, it was truly a prime spot for a tres romantique weekend getaway.

While in Russell, we were able to take in a local car boot sale (a garage sale where people sell goods out of the back of their vehicle), as well as a stroll by NZ’s oldest church, Christ Church.  The main street was lined with quaint shops and cafes that bordered the water.

Just a short ferry ride away from Russell is the village of Paihia.  We found a sign on the beach that said “Call Tony for Kayaks,” so we did.  

Tony came down and hooked us up with some two-man kayaks and off we went, into the tourquoise  Pacific waters.

We paddled around the islands of lush greenery, until we reached the beach of Tore Tore Island, where we parked our canoes and headed up a cliff for a stunning view of the Bay.

What could be more romantic than the pastel skies of an evening sunset?

Flagstaff Hill was an ideal location to catch the sunset that evening.

Flagstaff Hill, also known as Maiki Hill, is the site of the famous flagstaff repeatedly cut down by Ngapuhi chief Hone Heke Pokai.  After the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 at Waitangi, across the Bay, relations between the Maori and British Colonials began to deteriorate.  As the first Maori signatory to the Treaty of Waitangi, Hone Heke became  resentful of the Union Jack flying high above the Bay and protested against it by cutting down the town’s flagstaff on four separate occasions. This was known as the “Flagstaff Wars.”  After peace was restored, the Māori eventually raised a new flagstaff at the location as an offering of friendship.

We also paid a visit to some waterfalls near the village of Kerikeri.

On its level of exotic beauty, adventure, and romance, the Bay of Islands did not disappoint.

It’s not hard to recognize how special it is to be in a place like this when we are constantly encountering stunning views and spectacular natural vistas. And it’s great to be able to share it with family and friends.

The two girls are currently galavanting around the NZ countryside in their hot, red Jucy rental car.  I think Rotarua, Taupo, Hawkes Bay, and the Coromandel region may be on the agenda.  We expect them back 5 days from now, for more New Zealand fun.


3 thoughts on “Romantic Russell and the Beauty of the Bay

  1. This looks beautiful!! What an adventure for you.
    Did you also celebrate your anniversary while you were there?

    Happy Anniversary!

    Love you both!

  2. Wow! Great pics… there were a lot of references to “romance” in this post. It made me giggle! I can’t wait to see these beautiful vistas myself. We love you and miss you Uncle Brenno and Auntie “Mau” as Naomi would say.

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