We arrived in the Bay of Islands and set up camp in Russell’s Top Ten Holiday Park, located on the hillside, giving us awesome views over the township, waterways and islands.
With all its oldy-worldy buildings, cottages with freshly painted white picket fences and gardens, Russell is reminiscent of stepping back in time.
We strolled down to the township just after dark, and saw all the twinkling fairy lights, cottage windows glowing with orange lights, street lights, water lights and decided to have dinner in the historic old “Duke of Marlborough Hotel”. The ambience was amazing as was the service not to mention our shared “Lamb Shoulder Roast” dinner.
Just a few metres on from the Hotel at the Old Policeman’s House was a ginormous Morton Bay Fig Tree, planted in approximately 1870. The canon and stocks were a sign of times gone by, as the town had a pretty rough reputation back in the day of the first European settlers. Yes, lots of history in this town and referred to as the “Hell Hole of the Pacific”.* Ref: Bay of Islands History – Jasons Travel Media
Based on information from Wikipedia: Russell was going to be the capital of New Zealand, but apparently because of its slightly “very bad reputation” they decided to make Okiato the capital (5 minutes down the road). That didn’t work out either, so then they made Auckland the capital, then later down the track in 1865, Wellington.