HOW TO GET THERE

Russell is located 245km north of Auckland, in the beautiful Bay of Islands.

Location Map

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Drive from Auckland

The 245km drive from Auckland to Russell takes approximately 3-1/2 hours non-stop easy driving. Remember, drive on the left side in New Zealand !  If you are flying in to Auckland, it’s best to stay the night in Auckland, then drive the next day well rested.

There are two main routes:

Drive State Highway 1

This is the best and most direct route, however it does get very busy around morning and afternoon peak times, especially during holidays and long weekends. If there is an accident there can be delays, particularly between Auckland and Wellsford.

Head north from Auckland city on State Highway 1 over the Auckland Harbour Bridge. This route takes you on the Northern motorway approximately 35km to the beachside town of Orewa, then continues north through Warkworth, Wellsford, Te Hana, Kaiwaka, Brenderwyn, Whangarei, and Kawakawa. At Kawakawa continue north on Highway 11. Continue about 20km and look for the Opua/ferry turnoff on the right. The road then descends gradually down to Opua harbour (this is the nice bit where you get your first glimpse over the bay). Take the car ferry across to Okiato. (Ferry runs continuously about every 10 mins. Note the last ferry is around 10pm). From Okiato drive 8km to Russell. As you drive into Russell, take the second Florance Avenue on the right (Florance Avenue is a loop road), turn left into Pomare Road, then turn right into Grants Avenue. (4C Grants Avenue)

Drive State Highway 16

This is an excellent alternative route, more scenic, more windey roads in parts, but much less traffic, and avoids any possible delays on State Highway 1 between Auckland and Wellsford. Takes about 10 minutes longer.

Head north west from Auckland city on State Highway 16. This route takes you on the North Western motorway approximately 15km to Westgate. Turn left at the end of the motorway and continue north on State Highway 16 for about 7 or 8km. Turn right onto Old North Road (next to Allely House Restaurant, opposite Soljans Wines). Stay on the Old North Road, which skirts around the edge of the Rivehead Forest (through several intersections) until you finally come to a T junction. Turn right (back on State Highway 16). Continue north through Kaukapakapa, to Wellsford. Turn left (State Highway 1). Continue north through Te Hana, Kaiwaka, Brenderwyn, Whangarei, and Kawakawa. At Kawakawa continue north on Highway 11 in the direction of Paihia. Continue about 20km and look for the Opua turnoff on the right. The road then descends gradually down to Opua harbour (this is the nice bit where you get your first glimpse over the bay). Take the car ferry across to Okiato. (Ferry runs continuously about every 10 mins. Note the last ferry is around 10pm). From Okiato drive 8km to Russell. As you drive into Russell, take the 2nd Florance Avenue on the right (Florance Avenue is a loop road), turn left into Pomare Road, then turn right into Grants Avenue. (4C Grants Avenue)

The Car Ferry

The car ferry between Opua and Okiato runs continuously between approximately 6.00am and 10.00pm (last sailing approximately 9.45pm). The ferry service is excellent and you can usually drive straight on, or, in winter time, the wait is no longer than 10 minutes. The ferry costs NZ$11.00 one way, per car/driver, plus NZ$1.00 for each passenger. A 10 trip concession ticket for car/driver costs about NZ$63.00. Pay the ticket collector on the ferry. Make sure you have cash.  Credit Cards and EFTPOS are not available on the ferry. You can also buy a 10 trip concession ticket from Fullers’ offices on the Paihia or Russell waterfronts.

Fly to Whangarei or Kerikeri

Auckland to Whangarei is about 30 minutes flying time.  Then rent a car in Whangarei, drive north on State Highway 1 and 11 to Russell (continue as above).  Drive takes about 1 hour.

Auckland to Kerikeri is about 45 minutes flying time. You can rent a car in Kerikeri and drive south on State Highway 10 about 20km and turn left at Puketona Road.  Drive through Paihia, to Opua (continue as above).  Drive takes about 25 minutes.

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