Bay of Islands - Russell - New Zealand's first European Settlement
Quaint colonial buildings and pohutukawa trees line the beachfront from which you can gaze at the yachts gently rocking on their moorings.
The town promotes itself as peaceful and ‘romantic’ in contrast to the commercial bustle of Paihia across the bay. That this quiet village atmosphere remains is quite remarkable given Russell’s turbulent history and its unique heritage as the country‘s oldest European settlement.
Originally a fortified Maori village known as Kororareka, meaning ‘how sweet is the penguin’, The name reflected a legend that a wounded chief asked for penguin and on tasting the broth said " Ka reka to korora." (How sweet is the penguin.). It became a haven for ship deserters and ruffians in the early whaling days, earning the title of ‘Hellhole of the Pacific.’