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Things to do in Russell

Our most recommended things to do in Russell

From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

1. From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

Embark on a catamaran tour of the Bay of Islands from Paihia or Russell. Enjoy insightful commentary as you visit famous sights, including the "Hole in the Rock" and make a stop at Urupukapuka Island. Board your vessel in Paihia or Russell and glide out through the islands. Cruise along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse watches over the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’.  The natural sculpture, one of New Zealand's most popular attractions, was created from centuries of sea and wind erosion. According to Maori legend, local warriors paddled through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof were a good omen. Take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before heading back into the bay. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales, and other marine life.  Cruise in comfort aboard the Dolphin Seeker with indoor and outdoor seating and the Bay of Island's largest outdoor viewing decks. Treat yourself to snacks and a licensed bar on board, or enjoy the Otehei Bar Café and Bar on Urupukapuka Island.

Bay of Islands: Bay Discovery Cruise with Island Stop-Over

2. Bay of Islands: Bay Discovery Cruise with Island Stop-Over

Set off on a scenic 4.5 to 5-hour cruise to discover the very best of the Bay of Islands. Experience the spectacular scenery and encounter diverse wildlife in an area soaked in rich culture and history. Board the black and yellow power cat at Paihia Wharf and be welcomed aboard by the friendly crew. Your crew will deliver a full safety briefing and overview of the trip. Cruise among the 144 islands and enjoy entertaining live commentary from your local knowledgeable skipper. Visit the iconic Hole in the Rock and when conditions permit, you can even travel through it. Spot local wildlife including dolphins, birds, seals and even the occasional whale with a success rate of over 90%. Your trip will also include a 1.5-hour island stop at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island. Enjoy free time to explore the island. If you wish, you can hire kayaks, or paddleboards (available during summer only) or just relax on the beach. You can also choose to extend your stay on the island and return on a later ferry (only available during summer).

Hole in the Rock 1.5-Hour Fast Boat Ocean Adventure

3. Hole in the Rock 1.5-Hour Fast Boat Ocean Adventure

Fast track your journey through the iconic scenery of the Bay of Islands on a 1.5-hour ocean adventure. Experience the thrill of an open-air fast boat ride as you cruise among the bay's 144 islands and explore the bay's iconic sites. Enjoy the perfect balance of exploration and exhilaration with informative commentary and stops to observe the abundant wildlife along the way. Speed through the open waters in a purpose built state of the art catamaran. Visit the iconic Hole in the Rock, the gorgeous Cape Brett Peninsula, and enter the spectacular Cathedral Cave (conditions permitting). Ride the waves past sandy beaches, rocky outcrops, and the many varied island landscapes. Keep an eye out for wildlife including whales, seals, dolphins, and penguins. Learn about the area's unique characteristics and fascinating history from your friendly, informative skipper. This exhilarating tour is also a very comfortable and safe one. Complete with padded seats and seat belts, the boat is designed to protect its passengers riding in the open ocean. Life jackets and weather-proof jackets are also provided.

From Paihia: Hole in the Rock Cruise & Island Stop

4. From Paihia: Hole in the Rock Cruise & Island Stop

Travel among the 144 remote islands of New Zealand's renowned Bay of Islands. Enjoy a guided boat tour departing from Paihia and discover some of the most unique sights of this natural destination. Admire the stunning Hole in the Rock and stop to explore one of the islands. Set sail and surround yourself with the imposing rocky scenery of the Bay of Islands. Keep an eye out for a variety of marine wildlife as you cruise along the coastline. Listen to interesting commentary from your tour guide as they relay the history of the area. Visit the original landing site of Captain James Cook on Roberton Island. Experience Cathedral Cave on Motukokako Island and the famous Hole in the Rock. If weather permits, you'll even sail through it. Up next, take in the awe-striking Cape Brett Peninsula and its lighthouse. Stop at one of the islands along the way. Take a short walk toward a lookout point and help feed the schools of fish in the Voluntary Marine Reserve.

Russell: 1-Hour Sightseeing Tour by Coach & Long Beach

5. Russell: 1-Hour Sightseeing Tour by Coach & Long Beach

Romantic Russell – Steeped in history with a very chequered past. Spend a comfortable hour aboard our air conditioned Mini Coaches as we take you back in time telling you stories going back to the earliest settlers whilst visiting places of significant historical interest not easily covered on foot, and discover why Russell has played such an important role in the history of New Zealand. Take a guided tour of New Zealands most historic town on board one of our comfortable coaches. The informative tour takes you past Flagstaff Hill out to Tapeka Point and over to Long Beach to name a few magical places. The tour gives you a full run down of historical events by our charming guides and takes around an hour to complete. You will travel in comfort and learn all there is to know about our historic town with Russell Mini Tours.

From Paihia: Bay of Islands and Russell Private Trike Tour

6. From Paihia: Bay of Islands and Russell Private Trike Tour

Take an exhilarating private tour departing from Paihia and explore the Bay of Islands and the historic town of Russell. Feel the wind in your hair as you travel by trike with a personal guide and witness some of the most stunning views and natural sites the area has to offer. Leave Paihia behind aboard your trike and head to Haruru Falls for a visual of the half-moon-shaped waterfalls. Continue on to Waitangi Lookout for a 360-degree panoramic view of the Bay, all the way to Russell. Wind your way through native bush onto Opua and catch the car ferry across to Okiato. Reach Russell, the first settlement in New Zealand, pass the oldest church in the country and notice its signature musket holes. Experience the breathtaking views from Russell Lookout and learn about local history. Wander around the charming town or dine at your own leisure. Finish your tour by staying in Russell and returning via passenger ferry by yourself or hop back aboard your trike and travel back to Paihia with your guide.

Other Sightseeing Options in Russell

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What people are saying about Russell

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 476 reviews

It was a beautiful trip out with lots of info shared with us. The stop on the island gave a chance to see 360 degrees around for breathtaking views. Just watch for the sheep dung!!

No rain and calmer ocean meant we were able to go out to see The Hole in the Rock! In the last 10 minutes, we saw a pod of 10-12 dolphins! Absolutely fantastic morning!

Great cruise that got through the hole as well as seeing dolphins. The stop at the island was a good break to the cruise.

It was an amazing experience with wonderful views! The crew is knowledgeable and fun. Would highly recommend!

Great day out even though the weather wasn’t great. Still really enjoyable