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Day 3

Kawakawa - Russel - Paihia: The 'Showcase of the Bay of Islands’, Kororareka - the old capital, Unesco World Heritage site

Church in Russel Church in Russel

Highlights of the day

  • Ruapekapeka Pa
  • Kawakawa King Theatre Art Gallery
  • Hundertwasser Public Toilets
  • Russell Heritage Walk
  • Afternoon Tea / Russell
  • Waitangi (optional)

Heritage on steroids today. A significant military site tells us stories about the nineteenth century Land Wars. The history of Ruapekapeka is entwined with that of the Treaty of Waitangi, a living document which continues to shape New Zealand society. Then we travel into the present and visit a stunning collection of Maori art and artisans at King Theatre Art Gallery. Kawakawa is home to Hundertwasser Public Toilets. It is one of the few toilet blocks on Planet Earth seen both as an international work of art and a tourist attraction in its own right. Then it’s onto historic Russell and the heartland of the New Zealand story.

A short break for lunch (not included in tour program) and revived we catch the ferry to explore traces of the hell hole of the Pacific. Today Russell is a carefully crafted visitor experience with beautifully restored heritage buildings back-dropped by the spectacular Bay of Islands coastline. It’s a pleasure to indulge in afternoon tea in the earliest documented hotel (liquor licence) with an opportunity for further self guided exploration of Russell before departing back to Paihia mid afternoon.

Optional: explore the two new contemporary museums, Te Rau Aroha, Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi, the carving studio, the Treaty House, Te Whare Rūnanga (Carved Meeting House) or stay in Paihia and enjoy the breeze.

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