A castle in New Zealand seems a bit out of place since I mentioned in my previous blog post that our oldest building was built in 1820. So imagine my surprise last Christmas when driving through the South Island and we found Larnach Castle in Dunedin!
It has nothing on the castles of Europe and other countries, but it is still a really impressive place. Built by William Larnach in the 1870s, the castle has a somewhat sad history since Larnach took his own life in 1898 and there were years of legal battles over the land and building afterward. Larnach had a fascinating life though — he was a banker and worked for the Bank of Otago in Dunedin which serviced the goldfields. He was married three times and had six children. His first wife (and mother of all of the children) died at a young age so he married her half-sister. When she died, also at a young age, he married a woman who was much younger than him. And then his last wife had an affair with his son. Craziness eh?
But anyway, the castle itself is beautiful and well worth a visit. He picked a fantastic site for it, high on a hill overlooking the Otago Peninsula. The castle has been restored by the current owners and the grounds and gardens are fascinating. Be sure to get a garden guide and take the time to walk the short trails.
You can also go into the castle itself. From the top floor there’s a very narrow spiral staircase in what looks like a closet — the stairs take you to a beautiful lookout on top of the castle.
The castle stables has also been turned into a bed and breakfast! We didn’t know that until we were there and had already booked our lodging for the night but you can stay on the grounds. The price isn’t cheap but it looks like you can stay for $160 NZD per night for two people and it is available on Booking.com.