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Russell (Bay of Islands), New Zealand

Russell holds the distinction of being New Zealand's first permanent European settlement and served as the country's first capital. Steeped in history, the town invites visitors to stroll through its charming streets lined with well-preserved heritage buildings, offering a glimpse into its colonial past. The iconic Christ Church, built in 1835, and Pompallier Mission, a French-style Catholic mission, are just a couple of the historic landmarks that transport visitors back in time. Set against the backdrop of the stunning Bay of Islands, Russell is surrounded by crystal-clear waters, lush greenery, and a collection of heavenly islands. The bay is celebrated for its marine life, and visitors can indulge in various water activities, including sailing, dolphin watching, and fishing. The scenic beauty of the region, with its pristine beaches and secluded coves, makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a tranquil escape and a connection with nature. For a rare experience, visit to the Kawiti Glow-Worm Caves, where a guided walk unveils the mesmerizing spectacle of glow-worms illuminating the subterranean world with their ethereal luminescence. Beyond its history and natural beauty, Russell exudes a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The local community takes pride in sharing the rich Māori and European heritage, offering cultural experiences that include traditional ceremonies, arts, and crafts.

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