Discover tales of romance and tragedy, see rare Victorian furniture and take in stunning ocean vistas at New Zealand’s only castle.
Explore the striking Larnach Castle and admire its elaborate woodcarvings and crystal chandeliers. Learn the tragic story of its original inhabitants and admire breathtaking views of the Otago Peninsula from the well-tended grounds.
The first and only castle to be constructed in New Zealand, Larnach Castle was built high on a hill above the Otago Peninsula in the 19th century. It was commissioned by William Larnach, an Australian born merchant who became a member of New Zealand’s parliament. Larnarch had the castle built, sparing no expense, for his first wife Eliza. Tragically, he committed suicide in 1898. The castle is no longer in the Larnach family but is still privately owned.
Enter the castle through the foyer and you’ll soon see that the building is made almost entirely from wood. Admire the exquisite carvings that decorate the walls and the high-arched doorways and windows. Each room has been restored with period paintings and furnishings that allow you a glimpse into the lifestyle of high-class Victorians. One of the finest is the music room, which is decorated with beautiful oil paintings and a chandelier. You will also see an antique piano and other early 19th-century instruments throughout the room.
Continue exploring the castle to enjoy its other highlights. These include a splendid master bedroom with views over the gardens and further out to the peninsula.
Make your way outside to the expansive grounds, which have been listed by the New Zealand Gardens Trust as a Garden of International Significance. Admire an array of local and exotic plants as you stroll around the estate. Younger visitors can enjoy searching for the dungeon and a stone Cheshire cat.
After a walk around the garden, head back to the castle and treat yourself to afternoon tea in the grand ballroom. You can purchase postcards and other souvenirs from the on-site gift shop.
Larnach Castle is a 20-minute drive outside of Dunedin. A coach service runs between the city and the castle twice a day. There is an admission fee for all ages and the castle is open daily.