We packed a lot into day 6 of our Bay of Island trip.
In my previous post I wrote about our visit to the Historic Old Stone Store and Kemp House in Kerikeri on the morning of day 6.
From there we drove to the Kerikeri Farmers Market, a large market showcasing local artisan wares and entertainment. It is definitely well worth the visit. We enjoyed some snacks before setting off to Russell.
From Kerikeri we drove through Paihia toward Russell around the bays to the car ferry at Opua. The car ferry is a far cheaper option (for a large group) than the passenger ferry between Paihia and Russell and involves a short drive around the bays with the short ferry trip in between.Walking along the Russell waterfront is simply stunning. There are restaurants, hotels and galleries all along the waterfront with a road which is more like a boardwalk directly in front of the buildings with the waterfront on the other side. Many of the buildings are historic and it is such a gorgeous place to visit. The town of Russell, known as Kororareka in Te Reo, was the first European settlement and seaport in New Zealand. In the early 1800’s it was a busy harbour due to the whaling trade and it gained a reputation as ‘The Hell Hole of the Pacific”, known for it’s drinking, fighting and prostitution. These days Russell is a quaint tourist destination.We wandered through the small township and had a yummy lunch at Hone’s Garden, an open-air pizza restaurant by the main road. It’s amazing just how tropical it feels in the Bay of Islands so was lovely to sit outside surrounded by lush gardens at this restaurant.
After lunch we walked through to the waterfront and down the road to the Pompallier Mission House.
The tour of the Pompallier Mission House was very interesting with very detailed information and demonstrations on printing (40,000 Bibles were published in Te Reo Maori by French Bishop Pompallier and Marist Brothers and distributed throughout NZ) and the tannery (leather used for book binding).
The guide was very knowledgeable on history of the area and specific details on the day to day working of a printer and tanner. She gave all the children an opportunity to use the old printing press, giving them each their copy of the print they’d made to take home.There’s a lovely garden surrounding the mission with heritage fruit trees and a walk up the hill behind to see the view out over the bay, as well as a cafe and gift shop, complete with lovely outside seating area and petanque court as you leave the Mission.