So my brother’s name is Russell and there is a town in the Bay of Islands called Russell. And, in the Lonely Planet guide book, in reference to Russell it is written: “Once known as ‘the hellhole of the Pacific,’ those coming to Russell for debauchery will be sadly disappointed: they’ve missed the orgies on the beach by 170 years.” So of course, I had to go.
On Sunday morning after camping in Piahia (pronounced Pie-He-Ah in American, Pie-Here in Kiwi) we got up and packed up all our gear. The boys slept in a bit, but Fiona and I had a nice leisurely kayak around the bay while it was still cool out. Once we were set to head out, we wandered downtown in search of breakfast to discuss the days events.
First things first, we hit up Ake Ake, another winery in Keri Keri then found the Car Ferry to Russell leaving out of Opua. We got on the ferry, paid our $14 fare and then sat back and relaxed. But our relaxation was interrupted by the end of the ferry ride. While the trip by car around the bay takes hours, the ferry took about 4 minutes. But it was fun anyways!
When we got to Russell we didn’t really know what to do. The area is known for it’s beaches and it was lunch time so we parked in the small town center and wandered around (after lathering on the sunblock, of course.) The beach in town was a rocky beach and was quite painful with or without flip flops. But we checked it out and were, well, disappointed. I’d heard great things about the beaches in Russell! We knew we were not in the right place so we grabbed some pies and burgers and hopped back in the car.
Well, I forgot to mention this, but since my brother’s name is Russell, Fiona, Wyatt and Andrew had to put up with me taking pictures of all sorts of things with the town name on it before we left. Thanks guys!!
We headed up north a bit to Tapeka Point and after a short wrong turn onto a rocky beach, found the spot. It was quite pretty and Andrew sat in the shade and watched our stuff while the rest of us took a dip in the Pacific Ocean. Ah! It felt so good!
When we had cooled off, we got back in the car and took Russell Road home. The road is a scenic route, taking a bit more time than it would have to have gotten on the ferry and taken the highway, but hey, what are adventures for if you don’t take the scenic route?
Almost nearing the end of the road we drove past Gallery and Cafe, an art gallery and well, cafe, just as they were closing. They graciously permitted us to pick up an afternoon tea (coffee for the driver) and browse their collection. They had some phenomenal stuff and if anyone in NZ is looking for some art, I strongly recommend their collection. They did have some prints I might be interested in if I had a real job and could afford it, but for now, I’ll just rave about them. The grounds also had these gorgeous white flowers that were bigger than my head! No joke!! And a view.
We got back to the drive home and after two brief stops at the Waro Limestone Scenic Reserve and Pimarn Thai (MMmmm) in Whangarei, we were home. Adventure on pause, for now.