Events in Russell and the Bay of Islands
Russell Tall Ships
This is the Southern Hemisphere’s premiere tall ships race, they come from all over to participate in this outstanding event. A spectacle of sail and a light hearted race of classic vessels organised by the Russell Boat Club, Bay of Islands. Followed by a prize giving and traditional hangi at the Russell Boat Club with bands and dancing till late.
Waitangi Day Celebrations
Whilst this event is not in Russell, it is our national day and there is no way you should not go to this at least once in your life! Ferries leave Russell direct to Waitangi from early in the morning. See excellent displays of wakas, food stalls, rides for all ages, so grab your camera and get your nationalism on!
Russell Short Ships
Registration starts at 8am,Race Briefing at 9:15, and a 10am start for the first race. This a race for anyone in a HUMAN powered craft. Solos, doubles or groups, men, women, boys & girls are all invited. Last year we even had a paddle-boarding dog. The Boating Club Bar will open at noon and a light meal will be available for purchase, or bring your own picnic to enjoy after the race. We’ve got lots of prize draws for entrants as well as category winners. Registration forms available at the Russell Boating Club, and at Wood 2 Water at 22 York Street & Bay of Islands Kayak Hire just next door on Cass Street.
New Zealand Ocean Swim Series – Bay of Islands Classic
Nestled in the stunning Bay of Islands, Paihia and New Zealand’s first capital Russell set the scene once again for the Bay of Islands Classic – the sixth of seven events in the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series. Consisting of three different swim events, the Bay of Islands Classic provides an ocean swim event for all ages and abilities: ‘I’m Going Long’ – a 3.3km swim across from Russell to Paihia. ‘Give It A Go’ – a 500m swim taking place off Paihia Beach, a great introduction to open water swimming. ‘OceanKids’ – a swim for children aged between 7-12 years old, consisting of a 200m shallow water swim along the Paihia beach shore line, lined with Surf Life Saving NZ guards.
Duke of Marlborough Tavern – Downhill Derby
After an awesome first year, the Duke of Marlborough Tavern will provide more fun and hilarity as the best of the boxcar and trolley racers set the pace in a fantastic community event. Great fun and great prizes. Everyone is welcome to enter, more details here.
Russell Birdman Festival
Come and see the local loonies take a leap of faith off the end of the wharf. Russell Birdman is a three day event, with the emphasis on fun and enjoyment for the kids. Last year we had an estimated three thousand enjoying a spectacular day of sunshine and light hearted entertainment.
Bay of Islands Jazz and Blues Festival
Held every year in Paihia, Russell, Kerikeri and Haruru Falls. See international and local bands play on the street for free! In Russell it coincides with the Classic Car Show. You buy a badge and enjoy all the jazz and blues you can handle, all weekend long.
Bay of Islands Snorkel and Scuba Race
The 32nd annual Bay of Islands Underwater Club Snorkel Scuba Race is on again. This is something for the whole family, it’s not only great fun but will also raise money for all of our local volunteer services, Russell Radio, Russell Coastguard and the Paihia Fire Service. All these people do a great job of looking after everyone when they are in the Bay of Islands on sea and land, so join us in helping support them in their work.
Bay of Islands Walking Weekend
After great success in 2013, the Bay of Islands Walking Weekend is back for 2014. Based in Russell, the walking weekend has 20 walks to choose from, ranging from a Cultural History tour around the Russell village to an Island Ramble. There are options for heading out on the famous R. Tucker Thompson to Otehei Bay, so there is something for everyone who loves to walk!
Grab yourself a warm jacket & binoculars then head for Flagstaff Hill to watch as the fleet race into the Bay. Division One is going to welcome, for the first time, Kia Kaha to the fleet. Kia Kaha is the TP52 formerly known as Valkyrie, Lexus and Bigamist, and sailed by Russell Coutts and some of the then young breed of Team New Zealand sailors in 2005.
Russell Annual Flower Show
Held in the town hall each year, a great way to spend the day. Stalls on the village green, kids having fun etc. This year we have a scarecrow competition for the kids. Bake your own cake or braed to enter in a competition too. Just stay out of the neighbour’s garden when getting your entry together!
Russell Santa Parade
Every year, the Russell Santa parade delivers quintessential, home grown goodness. Santa’s parade will finish at the Duke of Marlborough Tavern where Santa’s Grotto will be open to all, for Christmas cheer. Last year was a blast, don’t miss it. Bring a kid and good vibes.
Fireworks on New Years Eve!
Watch the fireworks from Russell Wharf and ring in the new year with a bang! The above water display is outstanding and seems to get better every year. There are few places in the world as friendly as Russell on the evening of 31st dec! See you there.
31 December 2017
Event videos for Russell attractions
While you are patiently waiting………
- Stroll The Strand, which runs along the waterfront. People watch and cheekily peer through the gate at Pompallier Mission.
- Take the new walking track from Russell to Okiato, about a two hour walk through oyster farms and pristine native forest.
- Walk up to majestic Flagstaff Hill and take in the spectacular 360 degree views over the Bay of Islands.
- Tapeka Beach is an excellent spot to take a picnic, especially at sundown. Tables are available on the grass reserve.
- Visit the old church. Stick your finger in the bullet hole – a must have photograph.
- See the whaling boats in the shed outside the museum & get a photo sitting on the cannon, with the wharf in the background.
- Talk to a local – allow an hour.
- Walk to and swim at Long Beach; explore the excellent coast line.
- Go fishing off the wharf or rocks.
- Book a tour with Colette at the end of the wharf, it’s free to book all the tours at Russell Information Centre.