Although much of the land has been cleared for cropping and pasture, the once-dominant Norfolk Island pines remain a notable feature of the landscape. The island has a wide variety of flora and fauna including geckos, bats, turtles, plentiful fish and many seabird species.
Before European colonization, most of Norfolk Island was covered with subtropical rain forest, the canopy of which was made of Norfolk Island Pine. Historic attractions include museums, the penal settlement and the culture arising from the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives, who settled on Norfolk after the mutiny of the HMS Bounty.
Today Orion guests can explore the picturesque Bay of Islands town of Russell at your leisure, or join a guided historic tour of the township. This tour offers an insight into New Zealand’s earliest European history all in one memorable hour. Russell was originally named Kororareka by a Maori chief, it was renamed in 1844 and the town is very conscious of its unique heritage.
Today Russell is a peaceful retreat with an old world charm - though it bristles in summer with vacationers, and crewmen from yachts and launches anchored off shore. This area is also famously known as being the home of the Treaty of Waitangi, the first official agreement between Maori and the British. A Zodiac transfer will be available to Waitangi (on the opposite side of the bay to Russell) for those who would like to visit this historic site.