Things To Do In The Bay of Islands

What to do while in Russell?

Taking some time to plan what you're going to do while in Russell? Here are some ideas the team at The Duke pulled together. If you need to book or arrange anything please contact us and we will be happy to help you. 


See the Bay of Island by air. Salt Air offers some fabulous trips over the Bay of Islands and Northland - from 20 minutes to half a day. If you are limited for the time then this is the one for you.

Any time left over a walk around our historic village is a must including New Zealand's oldest church Christ Church.


Get out on the water and take a trip to the hole in the rock. A half-day trip picking you up from the Russell Wharf that doesn't leave too early and will have you back for a late lunch. This is an opportunity to cruise around some of the 144 islands that the bay of islands has to offer, perhaps sport a dolphin or two and seas permitting the skipper will navigate through the majestic hole in the rock. You will be dropped back in Russell just in time to grab a bite to eat and a cold beer before you start out on the afternoon adventures.

For the afternoon activities, take a walk around our lovely historical village and see if you can fit in a visit to Pompallier House and take a guided tour of this Roman Catholic Mission. Perhaps visit New Zealand's oldest church Christ Church with musket ball holes. Built in 1836 or visit Russell Museum and see a 1/5 scale of the replica of the Endeavour.


If you still have some time and energy left and want to stretch your legs walk up to Flagstaff Hill and take in the spectacular 360 degree views over the Bay of Island. Read about the history of Hone Heke cutting down the flagstaff flying the British flag.

That's probably it for the day so there is nothing left to be done now but to sit back and relax watching the sunset, make a booking at The Duke of Marlborough Hotel's Restaurant New Zealand's first licensed hotel.


Lucky enough to have another day in paradise? Here's what we suggest - get out on that water again and go fishing. The Bay of Islands is well known for its fishing and there are a number of different fishing charters to choose from - all with local knowledge and expertise. 

For the afternoon, head to the beautiful Long Beach for an afternoon of sun and surf. Relax and look out towards stunning Roberton Island. Don't forget your suntan lotion!

Now if the beach isn't your style here's another suggestion. Hop onto the passenger ferry that takes you over to Paihia then head up to Waitangi where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. While you're in Paihia pop into Charlotte's Kitchen and enjoy a meal and a drink with a spectacular view. 


Aren't you the lucky ones! Russell is the perfect base to explore much that the Bay of Islands & Northland has to offer.

What about heading to the very northern tip of New Zealand - Cape Reinga and watch the Pacific Ocean collide with the Tasman sea. You can of course self drive this but forget the stress, the maps and go on one of the fabulous organized tours. It's an early start but well worth it. Highlights include sandboarding down giant sand dunes, Cape Reinga lighthouse, Puketi kauri forest, Historic commentary and Maori legends, Ninety mile beach.

Or take a day sail on the R Tucker Thomson tall ship or another one of the amazing sailing experiences the Bay of Islands has to offer. 


Sounds like you have decided on a long break, don't worry you won't run out of things to do - there are loads more activities to keep you moving, on and off water. Golf, walking tracks, parasailing, horsetrecking, kayaking, tennis, swimming, spa treatments (if you just want to relax) to mention a few.

Contact Us for an overview of what the Bay of Islands has to offer. We will be happy to help or book any of the activities you wish to do.

What our customers say

Firstly, I wanted to say a big thank you to Ida! From the initial contact many months ago right through to the day before, you have been nothing but attentive and fantastic. You catered to any queries Shae or I had and were always so quick to respond. Working with you in the lead up to our special day was nothing but a pleasure. I also wanted to thank Tim and his wonderful team on the day. They were on beck and call the whole evening, the glasses were always topped up, the meal service was great and the set up and clearing of tables was spot on. I've heard nothing but praises from all our guests about the service and food from your team so thank you, you did such a great job. Can you please also pass on my thanks to anyone else that helped out behind the scenes, whether it was in the kitchen, housekeeping or in the office. Everyone that played a part in our special day deserves a cheers from us! The main thing Shae and I wanted was a laid back, stress free and enjoyable evening with our beautiful family and friends and this is exactly what we had. Everyone had such a great time and that mainly falls back on you guys and the service you offer at the Duke of Marlborough so from Shamus, myself and our parents, I extend our thanks.

- Shamus and Alysha MacInnes,

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