GPS doesn't always know best. Some don’t recognize the Russell car ferry at Opua so send you on the longer coastal route known as the old Russell Rd. If you have the time this can be a pleasant and very scenic detour but if not, program your GPS for Beechy St, Opua which is where the car ferry leaves from. Once on the other side re-set it for 21 Brind Rd, Russell which is the house next to us and is on our driveway.
From central Auckland:
The trip from Auckland city centre should take about 3 ½ hours although summer holiday traffic may slow things. Get onto State Highway 1 (SH1) north to Whangarei. About 45 minutes north of Whangarei at Kawakawa take SH11 to Paihia then follow signs for Opua and Russell via vehicle ferry. The ferry is a shuttle which runs continuously from 6.50am-10pm and costs about $24 return for a car and 2 people. Drive off the ferry and follow the main road for about 8kms until you enter the outskirts of Russell. You'll come down into Matauwhi Bay - the road is flat for 100 metres or so then curves round a bend where you'll see Arcadia on the hill on the right. However our main car park is at the back of the house so to get to it keep driving, as below.
Paying Road Tolls:
North of Auckland there's a short section of tolled motorway. There are no toll booths but don't worry, just drive through. Your car is photographed and you pay afterwards on-line. We'll help you do that when you get here. You get 7 days grace to pay for your tolls
To get to our front car-park & entrance
For GPS set it to: 21 Brind Rd, Russell
Our car park is accessed from Brind Rd which is a different street to our main address.
Drive on past our front entrance for another 500 or so metres until you reach the first intersection, Robertson Street, where you go hard right up the hill, then at the top go right again into Brind Rd. Follow Brind Rd until its very end where it becomes a bit of a goat track before opening up into our driveway.
For a map of Russell follow this link - we're marked on page 4 of the map:
Take SH10 south then follow signs for Paihia. At Paihia follow signs for Opua and the Russell vehicle ferry then on to Russell and our car park as above.
Taking the scenic route.Twin Coast Discovery
If you have the time there are a number of absolutely beautiful scenic detours in Northland such as the Old Russell Road which was the original road access from Whangarei to Russell via the eastern coast. Or there's State Highway 12 up the west coast via Dargaville through the Waipoua Forest (a glimpse of how much of the North Island used to look) and the Hokianga Harbour. These scenic roads are all part of the Twin Coast Discovery route which you can read more about here:
TIP: New Zealanders are incredibly friendly and welcoming until, that is, they get behind the wheel. Then they can be transformed into complete fiends, impatient (especially in the holiday season), not especially courteous, follow too closely (which can make lane changing and merging on the motorways difficult) and adopt a suicidal approach to overtaking on the passing bays. Otherwise they're lovely people.
Air New Zealand and Salt Air fly to Kerikeri/Bay of Islands from Auckland, it's just a 40 minute hop and there are several flights daily. For flight times check the timetables:
You can rent a car at Kerikeri and drive to Russell (see directions by car) or take a shuttle or taxi to Paihia and catch the ferry to Russell where we'll meet you.
Buses travel daily from Auckland to Paihia. At Paihia it's a short walk to the wharf from where it's a short ferry ride to Russell where we can meet you. For bus schedules check the following websites:
Intercity > www.intercitycoach.co.nz
Northliner Express > www.northliner.co.nz
Magic Bus > www.magicbus.co.nz/