We rose early, actually about the same time because Robert loves to see the sun rise over the bay! But we had a quick breakfast and packed our daypacks for an early ferry ride to Russell, once known as the “Hellhole of the Pacific”! The water was calm and blue, the breeze light, under partly cloudy skies.
We arrived with the few other early risers and got coffees at the Hellhole Coffee Shop. Then walked through the small waterfront village and started the climb to Flagstaff Hill.
Robert was the first to spot 2 chicken sized birds crossing the road and disappearing into the brush, kiwis we think? We spotted another as we climbed the steep walkway, and Robert spotted a fourth when he stopped to see our view back down the trail! The views from Flagstaff Hill are fantastic!
The Russell Museum answered many questions relating to the “Hellhole” description of the town in the 1830’s. Lots of American and French whalers, out to sea for 2-3 years would reprovision and ‘recreate’ here!
Also, the stuffed birds proved we were right, we did see real kiwis!
More human history, and a great portrait showing the tattoo designs reminiscent of the character QueegQueeg in the novel Moby Dick!
We enjoyed a wonderful fish & chips lunch, local beers and continued our walk around Russell. We visited the Pompallier Mission and Printery, the Catholic mission and the first ‘factory’, tanning hides for bookbinding, and printing books in te reo or Maori language. Our return ferry trip was breezier and we were tired from our hike up the hill!