Russell has the most colourful of maritime reputations in New Zealand. Soon after Europeans arrived, it was developed as a shore station for shipping back in 1843. Known as the "Hellhole of the Pacific", its reputation for unruly behaviour was notorious in the South Pacific. Today, visitors and locals alike enjoy its lush surroundings and unique history on and off the sea and a more peaceful, almost serene atmosphere.
When American western novelist and sport fishing legend, Zane Grey, visited New Zealand's Bay of Islands in the 1920's, he introduced sport fishing for marlin and sharks to the people of New Zealand's sub-tropical northern region. He dubbed the waters 'the angler's Eldorado'. Many record breaking fish can be viewed mounted on the walls on the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club.