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Flagstaff Hill

On this important hill, learn about New Zealand’s early Māori and colonial history, look for iconic birds and take in the stunning views of the Bay of Islands.

Flagstaff Hill, or Te Maiki in Māori, has been an important vantage point for centuries. It remains popular today for those same views and its historical significance. Enjoy the 360-degree vistas of the Bay of Islands and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on the horizon.

Feel that you have earned the views from the top of Flagstaff Hill by making the walk up to the top from the historical village of Russell. Follow the directions from the northern end of The Strand, which runs along the picturesque waterfront of the town. The walk is a 1.5-mile (2.5-kilometer) loop along a beach and up through regenerating manuka coastal scrub.

As you approach the top, you will realize why this hill has always been a strategic spot. The Māori of this area saw the benefits of this vantage point early on and made terraced sections near the top to assist in their defense. These terraces are still there today.

Once at the top, take in the breathtaking views. Emerald-hued islands and rock formations dot the bright blue waters of the aptly named Bay of Islands. The colonial town of Russell clings to the hill and rolling hills stretch out to the southwest.

Stand beneath the tall flag pole that gave the hill its name. It’s not the original, however. The first few flagstaffs were cut down by local Māori to send a signal to the European settlers, who had made nearby Old Russell their capital. This protest followed the signing of the Waitangi Treaty in 1840, just across the bay.

While at the top of the hill, head to the sundial. This point offers even more stunning views. While walking around the hill at dawn, dusk or at night, be very quiet and listen out for curious weka and shy kiwi, the iconic flightless birds that call this hill home.

Flagstaff Hill is always accessible and free to visit. As well as a walking trail to the summit, there is a steep road up, with a parking lot at the top. 


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Best Lodging Options Near Flagstaff Hill

See all 267 Properties near Flagstaff Hill
The Duke of Marlborough Hotel ¥7,319
The Duke of Marlborough Hotel

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel

35 The Strand, Bay of Islands, Russell
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated on the waterfront, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Russell Beach, Russell Museum, and Tapeka Point. Russell Christ Church and Flagstaff Hill are also within 15 minutes.

    Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands ¥5,798
    Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands

    Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands

    1 Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Waitangi, this beachfront hotel is next to a golf course and within 1 mi (2 km) of Waitangi Golf Club and Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Paihia Beach and Paihia Wharf are also within 2 mi (3 km).

      Hananui Lodge and Apartments ¥7,802
      Hananui Lodge and Apartments

      Hananui Lodge and Apartments

      4 York Street, Russell
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated near the beach, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Russell Beach, Flagstaff Hill, and Long Beach. Paihia Wharf and Paihia Beach are also within 3 mi (5 km).

        Eagles Nest ¥70,212
        Eagles Nest

        Eagles Nest

        60 Tapeka Road, Bay of Islands, Russell
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Russell, this beachfront lodge is next to a golf course and within a 10-minute walk of Tapeka Point and Flagstaff Hill. Russell Beach and Tapeka Point Historic Reserve are also within 1 mi (2 km).

          Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge Paihia ¥5,302
          Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge Paihia

          Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge Paihia

          104 Marsden Road, Paihia
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            This family-friendly Paihia hotel is located on the waterfront, within a 5-minute walk of Paihia Wharf and Paihia Beach. Waitangi Treaty Grounds is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) away.

            Russell Cottages ¥12,904
            Russell Cottages

            Russell Cottages

            16 Chapel Street, Russell
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              This family-friendly Russell apartment building is located near the beach, within a 5-minute walk of Russell Christ Church, Russell Beach, and Tapeka Point. Long Beach and Russell Museum are also within 15 minutes.

              Russell Top 10 Holiday Park ¥5,004
              Russell Top 10 Holiday Park

              Russell Top 10 Holiday Park

              1 James Street, Russell, Northland
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Russell, this beach holiday park is within a 10-minute walk of Tapeka Point, Russell Beach, and Russell Christ Church. Russell Museum and Long Beach are also within 15 minutes.

                The Sails
                The Sails

                The Sails

                71 Wellington St, Russell, Northland
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Russell, this apartment building is within a 5-minute walk of Tapeka Point and Russell Beach. Russell Museum and Russell Christ Church are also within 15 minutes.