14 Russell Street Walk

This is a historic walk through some of Nelson's steepest city hills.


Time: 1- 1 1/2 hours

Area: Port Hills

Start Location: Pioneers Park on the Washington Road side.

Download the Russell Street Walk map (172KB PDF)

Route directions

Follow Washington Road up the valley, past the weeping elm at the corner of Hastings Street and Pioneer Cottage at 35 Washington Road, the oldest house in the street. Turn right into Rentone Street and walk up the hill (becomes Russell Street). At the top catch your breath and view the port activity. Nelson is New Zealand's premier fishing port and export centre for wood and fruit.

Go down Russell Street and where it levels out turn to the left and go up Will Watch Way (named after the fourth immigrant ship to Nelson). Russell Street on the port side of the hill is a classified historic precinct. Many of the houses date back to the 1870s with the street itself dating as far back as 1842. Up until the late 1950s the railway line ran around the water's edge and the sea still lapped at the base of Russell Street, before the port reclamation project began.

If you have children with you the Russell Street playground is about 100 metres along from the beginning of Will Watch Way. Will Watch Way zigzags up the hillside to Queens Road. Turn right at the top and follow the road round past the landmark eucalyptus trees and the Queens Road Reserve. Take the veer right and down the Stepney Lane steps to Harbour Terrace. Turn left at the bottom, right into Poynters Crescent and then left into Wakefield Quay.

Walk along Wakefield Quay past The Boathouse, which has been restored as an entertainment venue, and two of Nelson's top restaurants, The Boatshed and The Waterfront Café, rebuilt after it was gutted by fire in 1996.

Turn left from the waterfront up Victoria Road and then right into Fifeshire Crescent and along to Richardson Street. Turn left and go down Washington Road and back to Pioneers Park.