Saturday, 17 Nov 2007
Russell, Bay Of Islands
After a better nights sleep and hearty breakfast of the old faithful beans on toast that I’ve lost track of how many portions of beans Myles can pack away now!!! He at least is managing to not get them all on the floor now so that’s more progress! - we catch the small ferry to Russell.
This another cultural visit to the first settlers town in New Zealand, which was once not so quaint as in the ‘old days’ it used to harbour all manner of drunks and criminals, before the Brits sent over a chap to keep the peace! The ferry leaves from the pier in Paihia and only takes around 15-20 mins to head across the bay - Myles was fascinated by the patterns in the wake behind the boat. The boat was only smallish - but large enough to relax and move between the upper and lower decks. Like everywhere else in NZ - there were recycling facilities on board also!
As you approach the harbour at Russell you get a great overview of the settlement - it ‘aint big! and it looked pretty sleepy. Anyway the average age of visitors in contrast to Paihia, which I’ve yet to mention I’ve just realised!, is decidedly higher. We weave our way through the throngs of retirees on the harbor front and decide with Rob’s adventurous spirit to check the place out. It’s a little like stepping back in time - with the lack of traffic and original wooden buildings sitting in rows.
We walk a couple of streets back from the sea front and find the centre of the town, with it’s central post shelter full of PO boxes, a selection of shops, cafes and restaurants. After the inevitable pie for a quick bite to eat we all take a look at the map and decide that we should try and circumnavigate the town from the one bay to the other - which doesn’t sound to bad except for some killer hills that gave Rob the need to hitch a lift back up one of them after a fruitful but stunning walk to Long Bay in search of dolphins that had been spotted their earlier that day.
Russell still has a real frontier town feel to it - only a short ferry crossing from Paihia (but a very very long and tough drive around!) it feels a different world away. The people who live here in their cute painted homes seem so laid back - almost horizontal in fact - oh for the simple life away from the stresses and pressures of ‘modern’ life! The walk over to Long Bay took us up and over the top of the hill that nearly finished Rob off - It was well worth it though.
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