Ferry to Russell for Lunch


The Bay of Islands stretch between Pahia and Russell. Tis truly beautiful.

Russell is most easily reached by ferry. The ferry ride is not long and feels like an outing. Like a hay ride or a sleigh ride. Anticipation rises as you draw near to Russell.

The ferry crosses  frequently and costs an adult $12NZ round trip or $6NZ return.

Once we got to Russell we were not hungry or thirsty. My friend UK Sarah had explored the Anglican church on a previous visit so we set off to find it. You cannot get lost in such a small village. The church and yard are lovely. We spent about a half hour looking about and then returned to the village proper.


Back in the day Russell was the Las Vegas of New Zealand. Whalers and sailors and bad boys looking for sex, alcohol and other good times or mischief stopped in Russell (or Hell Hole). Now Russell is a quiet retirement community and fun place to visit for a day.

I was craving fish and chips and we found a great place in the Gables Restaurant. We sat outdoors and enjoyed a hearty lunch in the garden.


There is definitely a certain laid back vibe in Pahia and Russell. It is probably the light and the water. Make sure you have set aside some time to just hangout.





Waitangi Worth a Visit

The house where the Queen’s Governor General James Busby and family lived when he hosted the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which legitimized the movement of Europeans to New Zealand under international law.

UK Sarah and I continued our road trip to Pahia and checked into the Pearl of the Bay motel. We spent the first night noshing on a picnic dinner we assembled at the Farmers Market and catching up on our reading and email. The next day we drove straight to Waitangi, which is adjacent to Pahia.


The Waitangi Treaty Grounds charge an admission to non-Kiwis. When we were there in January the new museum was just days from opening. The gift shop was still small, although there is a lovely cafe with outdoor dining between the main entrance and the waka or war canoe.



Hobson Beach shelters the iwi Ngāpuhi’s ceremonial war canoe, the world’s largest. The war canoe inspires some silly pictures by tourists.

Te Whare Runanga is a carved meeting house for the local Maori iwi.

As the website says: Te Whare Rūnanga (the House of Assembly) is a carved meeting house in traditional form but is a unique expression of its purpose. It stands facing the Treaty House, the two buildings together symbolising the partnership agreed between Māori and the British Crown, on which today’s Aotearoa New Zealand is founded.

We spent a couple of happy hours walking the grounds on the mostly paved trails or elevated boardwalks, reading the exhibits and walking through the Treaty House and carved meeting house. There was a bus of tourists yucking it up at the waka, but we were able to easily walk ahead of them and enjoy the grounds in relative peace.

The Treaty Grounds was readying for the annual ceremony celebrating the historic occasion on Waitangi Day–a national holiday. This particular ceremony is always marked by loud and angry protests from various Maori people. Free speech is alive and well in New Zealand. This year was also going to include the museum dedication.