Sunday 3 December 2023

Russell - Kororāreka

Sunset at Waitangi Holiday Park - beaut place to stay!


While in Paihia and Waitangi we debated whether to go over to Russell as foot passengers on the ferry from Paihia but decided that Russell was worth a couple of days of exploring. So it was off to Opua to get on the vehicle ferry.

We knew from Bernice that we needed to travel quite close to high tide time because of the slope down on to the ferry and the possible impact on the back of the motorhome... High tide was at about 8.30am so we were up and away at not quite at the crack of dawn!

We drove on to the ferry and were very excited - I had to get up close to a large truck and trailer unit, having gone past a concrete truck first. In the interests of keeping the motorhome in one piece, once stopped we retracted the mirrors ... 

We asked if we could get out, and yes we could. Took photos, I waved at the skipper in his eyrie, and notice every other driver still had their engines running - no wonder, because it was about a 6 minute trip! So quickly back in the motorhome, start it up and ready to drive off at Okiata. 

Up close and personal ...


Isn't that beaut?

The ferry coming from Okiato

Not many vehicles on that one - but there was a very long queue at Okiato when we arrived. Commuters, I guess.

Getting close to the landing wharf - took us by surprise!
How old am I? Waving to the skipper ...😊

Very friendly...
My travelling companion of 50 years!


Mirror image, but I am here too.

We drove straight to the Top10 motorcamp and parked across the road where we could leave the motorhome until check in time. 


Some of the pohutukawa are already in flower


Waterfront views at Russell - beautiful.


A woman visiting from Colorado took this photo of us when we were on our way to breakfast. I am not sure why I was standing so far away from David - weird! The Colorado woman and her husband were on a 2 week tour of NZ. They'd arrived in Auckland the previous day and driven to Russell. The following day they were driving to Rotorua, then flying to Christchurch and driving to Queenstown and Milford Sound - all the highlights ticked off, eh...

Then we walked further along The Strand and had breakfast at The Seaside Cafe - yummy! It was a lovely day, so we ate outside, had three phone calls while we were there:

  • Irene and Ian who we called to inspire jealousy
  • Marta (calling from Scotland) who rang for an overdue catch-up and told us that Karol is now 154.5cm, so my height. He's been aiming to get taller than me since he was about 11, and it's almost happened! And considering Olek is now 180cm but was shorter than me till he was almost 14, Karol is matching him. I wonder if he will get to 180cm too? If yes, then he too will be taller than his dad
  • Adair calling from Pukawa for a lovely catch up.


Then it was off exploring on foot:

  • the library and museum grounds
    • a chat with a guy out on the verandah
    • Walker passage

      There is a certain irony in the clause above: 'Ngapuhi chief who was granted land here in 1866 by the Government...' I think the ellipsis in the notice indicates that the irony is not lost on the museum and Heritage Trails people!

      The entrance to Walker Passage

      Tamati Waka Nene lived his life by 6 'points of illumination in his life', each of which is represented by the pou, three in this photo, (his father, his mother and his birth into Te Ao Māori) and


three in this (his prowess in hapu and iwi wars, the death of his children who predeceased him, and the Declaration of Independence and Te Tirit and his promise to support the Crown). The Library is behind, with the museum in the part of the building to the left.

The detailed descriptions of the pou are in this interpretation


The chimney from Nene's house has been made into a seat

  • the museum - we are finding that little town museums are really good: filled with interesting local artefacts and information, and the staff are super helpful and knowledgeable. There was a map outside the museum with local walks and the staff person told us about them and that we must go to Pompallier House and to The Duke of Marlborough Hotel.
    Information about Hone Heke - we climbed up to the flagstaff the next day, so there's more later...

    Kawiti fought the last battle of the Northern War at Ruapekapeka Pa which we went to before we headed to Otamure Bay. The pa is an amazing place.

    Good information in here.

    I though Karol would love this calendar...

  • So off we went to Pompallier House, joined the NZ Historic Society, had a great chat with the two women working in the shop, bought some earrings, and explored the garden. Then we booked in for the tour the next morning.
I bought some wildflower seeds harvested from this garden...
The Printery with the beautiful gardens in front.


I have no idea what this is, but it looks pretty impressive!

 We called in at the lovely Four Square shop and the bookshop (maps to assist in having the geography of Te Tai Tokerau make sense to us, and rulers so I could repair, or at least prop up, the broken shelf in the fridge, and a magnetic road sign.

On the way back to the Top10 - lovely purple tree!

We got parked up on the top level of the camp and set out the chairs to while away the rest of the afternoon enjoying the view out across the bay, feeding the weka, getting a load of laundry washed and dried, and giving up on the idea of going out for dinner...

Husband at rest - not sure what he was listening to.

As the sun was starting to go down, after we'd had dinner.

Tui in the flax

The weka - scrounging for food

1 comment:

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Hi Jenny,
The foot passenger ferry goes from Paihia to Russell direct. The vehicle one goes from Opua to Okiato. It was beaut and I reckon you two should get up here asap! The Top10 in Russell is really lovely - a 7 - 10 minute walk down to the beach and very good exercise for Robin's knees!