After a fab art walk in central Dunedin, the six of us hopped back into our van and began the drive out to Otago Peninsula. From Wikipedia, “The Otago Peninsula is a long, hilly indented finger of land that forms the easternmost part of Dunedin… Volcanic in origin, it forms one wall of the eroded valley that now forms Otago Harbour.”
Our first destination was Larnach Castle, about midway along the peninsula. Built in 1871 by politician and entrepreneur William Larnach for his wife Eliza, it has changed hands over the years and is now mainly a tourist attraction and event destination.
We drove up and up from the coast, winding through the hills, before finding ourselves all of a sudden surrounded by thick clouds. I can’t think of a more fitting way to approach a supposedly haunted castle.
Most of us opted to just explore the grounds and gardens rather than take a tour of the interior. It was pretty quiet for a Saturday, and we had a lot of the place to ourselves.
I loved this incredible archway, especially in the mist.
I fully thought this was a tent, before I realized it was just covering a concrete structure, but I still think it’s charming…
It definitely didn’t feel like we were in NZ anymore. The U.K., maybe.
This was near the Otago Peninsula “lookout,” which wasn’t really much to look at with thick clouds in every direction. It still made for cool photos, though.
So much thought was put into the Larnach gardens and grounds. Can’t you just picture some mythical creature emerging from this tree?
Spring was the right time to visit, with everything in bloom.
The Larnach environs are considered a “Garden of International Significance.”
Exploring the back of the building, I definitely felt like I was in Europe somewhere. Larnach Castle seems as though it was plucked from the other side of the world and plopped down in the most random of places.
To think, you can visit a place like this and then just pop over to see penguins or an albatross colony afterwards. A uniquely Kiwi experience!
And what’s a castle without a throne?
As we meandered back around to the front of the castle, the clouds began to thin out a bit, exposing the castle’s stunning architecture.
We couldn’t leave any garden unseen, so we did a little more wandering through those we had missed, filled with vibrant flowers. Pink seemed to be a favorite.
I feel like this one of me and Kate could be a Wes Anderson still, if the castle were painted pale pink.
True to the vibe of Larnach, we went to the cafe and got some tea and sweets, watched over by old oil paintings and mounted hunting trophies. A lovely way to end our visit to this truly unique piece of NZ history.
We aren’t done with the Otago Peninsula just yet, so join me for epic views, turquoise water and even some seals – next!