Exploring Russell

We spent enough time in the Opua Marina resting up from a busy cruising season and finally got ourselves unstuck and moved a couple of miles to the cute tourist destination of Russell. The boat club makes its dinghy dock available to the many yachts that visit. 


On the walk into town we passed this beautiful community garden. The sign invites passers by to spend some time weeding and to help yourself to the vegetables and herbs. I took some chard, a head of lettuce and a branch of rosemary. I would have loved some weeding time if my back weren’t still bothering me a little. Gardening is one of the few things I miss living on a boat. 


Russell is our kind of town, with plenty of cafés and souvenir shops to peruse. We didn’t quite understand the name of this bagel place until we watched the introductory video at the town museum. Russell was called the Hellhole of the Pacific back in the day when it was a lawless Wild West crossroads of drunkenness and prostitution. Now it’s a tidy little community bordering on twee, but a sight for sore eyes for us.  


The centerpiece of the town museum is a one-fifth scale model of Captain Cook’s Endeavour.   


The other museum is the Pompellier House and Gardens, former headquarters of the French Catholic Mission in the Western Pacific. The rammed earth building houses a printery and tannery where the Marist brothers produced religious texts in the Maori language. 

Our tour included a group of students who were encouraged to try out the various hand implements for printing and tanning the hides used in bookbinding. 






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