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What Makes a Russell Wedding So Perfect?

Posted by Website Admin on February 05, 2016

Congratulations – you’re engaged and starting to plan your dream New Zealand wedding. There are so many magical places in the country to choose from, but here’s why we believe a Russell wedding is the most perfect of them all…

The Bay of Islands

Russell and the Bay of Islands is a gorgeous haven of turquoise water dotted with lush green islands. Dolphins, whales, exotic birds and abundant fish species fill the waters with life in this wonderful setting.

Historic Ambiance

Russell isn’t simply a seaside town. This charming place is home to historic buildings nested amid cafes, restaurants and art galleries. Russell holds an important place in New Zealand's history, being the country's first sea port, its first European settlement and New Zealand's first capital in nearby Okiato. The town's streets retain their original layout and names from 1843, and many of its historic buildings can still be visited today.

Exquisite Flavours

With award winning chefs and restaurant managers, the Duke offers exquisite cuisine and exceptional service. We meet with the bride and groom and tailor the menu to ensure a memorable celebration for you and your guests.

Perfect Weather

The Bay of Islands is called “The Winterless North” and is famous for sunshine and balmy weather year-round. Even on the off-chance of showers, the colours of the water and greenery are spectacularly vibrant, and it seems to only enhance the views.

Activities for All

While you’re staying in the Bay of Islands celebrating with friends and families, you will never run out of exciting and relaxing things to do by air, land or sea. Traipse through the conservation areas, sail through the bay with the wind in your hair, get a thrill from adrenalin-worthy adventures, or delve beneath the water for an undersea adventure.

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell offers a unique wedding venue where you can experience the historic charm of New Zealand’s first licensed hotel.

We also have an experienced on-site wedding co-ordinator with expertise in planning and delivering tailor made, personalised weddings to guarantee a truly memorable day.

Our Favourite Bay of Islands Beaches

Posted by Website Admin on December 20, 2015

The Bay of Islands is a very popular holiday destination during our summer months, with visitors from both New Zealand and overseas heading north to enjoy the warm weather and beautiful blue waters. There are many great activities and adventures to be experienced, but sometimes all you need is a beach towel, some sunscreen and a good book. Here’s a few of our favourite beaches on both sides of the Bay, all within an hour of The Duke.

On the east: Russell Beaches

Kororareka Bay, Russell

Kororareka Bay

The Duke of Marlborough hotel overlooks Kororareka Bay, a sheltered beach of roughly 750m with easy swimming and close proximity to Russell’s shops and cafes. A grassy strip separates the beach from The Strand and in December you may be lucky enough to see the Pohutakawa trees out in bloom. The sand itself is slightly stony and sloping down to the calm water. A steady stream of boats drift gently in and out of Russell’s wharf, which sits in the middle of the bay.

Long Beach (Oneroa Bay)

Whilst Kororareka is right on our doorstep, we love Long Beach – a 20 minute walk over the hill. A lovely long sandy bay great for families with safe swimming and kayaking. At the north end around the corner there’s also Donkey Bay which is a naturist beach.

Tapeka Point, Russell

Tapeka Beach

A little further away is Tapeka Point – about a half hour walk over Flagstaff Hill from Russell. The tide at Tapeka Beach doesn’t go far and the bay is protected from waves and swell, so there is great swimming at all times.

Elliot Bay

On the east coast and roughly 30 minutes’ drive from Russell, Elliot Bay has a great little surf beach popular with campers and those looking to hide away. It’s a little more rugged than our Russell beaches and has beautiful white sand. There’s not much in the way of local amenities so we’d recommend taking a picnic if you are planning on staying a while.

On the west: Paihia Beaches

We might be biased, but Russell’s beaches are superior in our eyes! Nevertheless, Paihia is worth a visit and only takes a 15 minute passenger ferry ride across the Bay. There are two beaches. Due to its location, the Paihia Town beach (lesser known as Taiputuputu Pahi) is busiest but the sand is not that wide and many people can be found sunbathing on the grass strip. A 15 minute walk north towards Waitangi takes you to the slightly larger Te Tii Bay. In summer there are kayaks and jet skis for hire off the shore.

Out in the Bay: Otehei Bay, Urupukapuka Island

Otehei Bay, Urapukapuka Island

For an alternative beach adventure, we recommend jumping on the Explore Ferry ($25 return) to Urupukapuka, the largest island in the Bay of Islands. Once there you will find several beaches, short walks with beautiful views, and a licenced café serving food and drink. Fullers GreatSights also pay a visit to this bay on their Day Cruises.

Photos courtesy of NorthlandNZ.com.

What our customers say

Thank you so much for all the organising and sorting out of things you did in preparation for our wedding reception last Friday. Also thank you to the staff at the Duke so so much for their input with setting up and having things run smoothly on the night. It was brilliant! The food was amazing and the atmosphere was perfect, it was more than we could have imagined! We have had nothing but wonderful feedback. Everyone loved the food and the character of the Duke. We really enjoyed working with Ida and would easily recommend the Duke as a potential venue for occasions. Classy with character, thank you so much for making our day memorable and more!

- Helen and Kelly Ludlow,

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