Geoff Blair

New Zealand 2014 - Day 7

December 16, 2014

This is a series of posts chronicling our New Zealand trip. For more context, check out the first day or the previous day.

Tonight was our last night in Dunedin and pretty special as we dined and stayed the night at Larnach Castle on Otago Peninsula.

In the morning we had our last breakfast at the Scenic, checked out, and headed downtown for a little shopping before driving to the castle. We stopped at the Scottish Shop, and found a few fun trinkets.

After that it was back to the windy roads of Otago Peninsula and straight to Larnach Castle. We decided to head up there a bit early in order to have time to explore the gardens and castle itself. Even though we arrvied before check-in, our room was ready to go. Oddly enough, our room was the "Scottish Room" and themed as such. Beautiful views of the peninsula greeted us from the balcony.

Scottish Room at Larnach Castle lodge

The castle grounds are well-kept and bursting with colorful flowers and plants from New Zealand and beyond. We hit some croquet balls on the lawn, played a game of ring toss (I totally won), and Melissa chased some swans around a pool.

Larnach Castle grounds, Otago Peninsula, Dunedin

Before heading into the castle proper, we took a quick break and ate at the cafe which used to be the castle's ballroom.

Larnach Castle is quite impressive, and the only castle from that era that exists in New Zealand. It's original owner, William Larnach, was a wealthy banker from the gold rush era. We investigated each room in the castle and peeked out from the main tower. In the states, a castle like this would have all its rooms roped off, but we were free to enter every and enjoy the history up close.

Finishing up our tour of the castle, we went back to our room, relaxed, and caught up on blog posts. Just before dinner time we made our way back into the main castle.

Larnach Castle, Otago Peninsula, Dunedin

Dinner started with some drinks in the library. There was an interesting mix of visitors including people from France, Finland, Australia, UK, Canada, and an island between India and Africa of which I cannot remember the name.

Shortly, we moved into the dining room for dinner. We ate a delicious three course meal and were entertained with stories and history of Larnach castle between courses. As with any family with money from the 1800s, there was tradgedy due to sickness, greed, and betrayal. An interesting tale, but long story short, William and his son, Douglas, both shot themelves due to family drama. The castle changed hands many times and fell into disrepair before being purchased by a couple who now preserve its historical significance.

Inside Larnach Castle, Otago Peninsula, Dunedin

We sat and chatted with the other guests for a while before turning in for the night. Tomorrow we fly to Auckland and spend the rest of our trip on the North Island.

For more New Zealand adventures, check out the next day.

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