Culture & History

Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Kawakawa

The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit charity, and the most northerly railway in New Zealand. It is of significant historical and cultural importance. The railway at Kawakawa was the North Island’s first railway to be opened and the first steam loco in North Island also ran the first rail passenger train in New Zealand. It is now celebrating over 150 years of Rail in North Island. 

Today the railway operates on a section of the former Opua track and offers vintage train rides to visitors using diesel locomotives as far as the Long Bridge – the longest curved wooden bridge in the Southern Hemisphere.

Enjoy a ride through scenic countryside for a unique experience and a great family day out whatever the weather! 

Vintage Railway Timetable 

Butler Point Whaling Museum

Butler Point is notable for its association with the early history of the Far North. On the property are a Whaling Museum, acknowledged as one of the most comprehensive private museums of its kind in New Zealand; Butler House, the residence of Captain William Butler built in 1847; and Gardens of exotic and native flora, including extensive stands of ancient Pohutukawa trees. 

A beautiful day out for all! Butler Point is a 40 minute drive from Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, and just 15 minutes from the picturesque township of Mangonui, centre of the Doubtless Bay region.

For more information ask us at the office


Hundertwasser Art Centre & Wairau Maori Art Gallery

Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Maori Art Gallery is an original Hundertwasser architecture project. Absolute rationalism, geometric straight lines and the uniformity of modern architecture is abandoned in favour of new values like uniqueness, romanticism, individuality, creativity, especially creativity in harmony with nature.

Experience a more human architecture in harmony with nature and discover Hundertwasser the painter, visionary and environmental activist.

Hundertwasser Art Centre 

Aqua Restaurant & Bar at the Hundertwasser Art Centre is open seven days a week from 9am.

Aqua Restaurant & Bar


Visit Historic Russell

Ferries operate year round to this quaint little village.  A great variety of Restaurants and some lovely walks. Option to connect with a passenger ferry from the wharf in town or drive to Opua and use the car ferry. (This is a better option in winter) See the oldest Church in NZ with bullet holes in the wall, Visit Pompalier House with  it's ancient "operational  printing press.  Amazing chocolates are available from the shop in the mainstreet and Russell Fish Co. for fish n chips. 

Click here to book onto the popular Russell Mini Tour where you're driven to each point of interest with commentary from a lovely local.  This tour is one hour and receives great feedback

Visit Waitangi - Birthplace of the Nation

The new Day Pass is the ultimate Waitangi Treaty Grounds experience.

Spend half a day exploring the grounds while soaking up the scenery and story of New Zealand’s most important historic site.

Your Day Pass is valid for two days and includes:

  • ·Admission to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds
  •  Entry to the brand new Museum of Waitangi
  •  An informative guided tour with one of our local guides (50 minutes) 
  •  A high-energy, entertaining cultural performance (30 minutes)
  •  "Waitangi – Birthplace of a Nation" introductory film (22 minutes)
  • Carving Workshop - See the Carvers working on piece's that will go in the shop or for the grounds.
  • Gift Shop - Extra special, unique gifts sold here; jewellery, clothing, soaps, carvings, toys & skincare.
  • Exhibition Area - Above the Museum is an exhibition area showcasing various exhibitions throughout the year

Day passes for Sale at Busby Reception 


Kauri Museum - Matakohe

Kauri Museum at Matakohe is world class and you can easily spend 4 or more hours here. Chance to see huge ancient tools used to mill Kauri. A replica village has displays that are based on actual pioneers and are in great condition. A couple of rooms with amazing kauri gum jewelry and artefacts. Easy to visit on your way to or from Busby or in winter a great day trip. You can leave the museum to visit and local cafe for a break and then return again. Our staff at Busby will give you maps and show you how to get there.

Events and Exhibitions

Pompallier House - 19th Century Building

Headquarters to the French Catholic Mission located on Russell Waterfront.  The first place to print the Bible in Maori. 

Tour the museum and grounds to see the procedure of how printing was done on one of the oldest printing machines, down to the fine detail of how the Bibles were covered.

Well worth including in your trip to Russell.  The Coffee Shop next door serves French Pastries 


Flagstaff Hill Historic Reserve

While stood at the flagpole site reading the plaque explaining the site's history you are also surrounded by beautiful panoramic views so have your camera on you.

Before Flagstaff Hill was used for the flagpole it was occupied by prehistoric Maori. The hill had a turbulent past with the first four erected flagstaffs cut down in protest.

The flagstaff is situated on Maiki Hill near Russell. A walking track to the historic reserve begins near the boat ramp on the Strand in Russell. 

Rangihoua Pa and Marsden Cross

This stone monument marks the first mission settlement and first Christian service conducted in New Zealand.

Access via a 1.1km easy walking track.  Ask the Office for directions.

From the stile at the roadside, the track leads you through farmland to Oihi Bay and the Marsden Cross. 


Ruapekapeka Pa

Ruapekapeka is New Zealand’s best preserved land war battlefield. The ditch and bank defences, a carronade used by Chief Kawiti and the earthen defences of the British forward position are still visible.

For some insight into the Ruapekapeka battle:

Ask us in the office for directions, attractions in the vicinity and other historical places.

Stone Store & Kemp House

The Stone store is situated in the Historic Kerikeri basin. As the road no longer travels through the area it has become a tranquil place to relax. In summer you can sit in the gardens overlooking the stream. A small coffee lounge is based on site and an adjacent Restaurant the Pear Tree has a great outlook. 

You can explore these on your own and Staff at the Resort will provide maps and advise on other nearby attractions. It will take you  approximately 30 minutes to drive from Busby Manor. 


What's on offer at Busby Manor