Summer at home in Daisy Hill

Thursday, March 31, 2016

LARNACH CASTLE, OTAGO, NEW ZEALAND

We drove from Timaru to Dunedin and booked into our B&B. The next day we explored the Otago Peninsula. First off we visited Larnach Castle, the only castle in New Zealand.
William Larnach's brilliant career encompassed his merchant empire Guthrie and Larnach, banking, shipping, farming, landholding, politics and speculation. He was a man of great vision and created a magnificent residence for himself and his family in 1871. It took 200 men three years to build the shell and many gifted European craftsmen spent twelve years embellishing the interior. Materials came from all over the world. Larnach committed suicide in 1898 and the family torn apart by legal battles sold the castle in 1906. From then on it started to deteriorate and had a sad history by 1967 it wasn't much more than a ruin but it was bought by the remarkable Barker family who have spent all the years since restoring the building to its former glory. They want to share the castle and its history with the NZ people. So it is open to the public and the entrance fee helps pay for the ongoing restoration. It is a popular tourist destination with onsite accommodation and employs 80 staff.
The castle sits high on a hill with views of the Otago Harbour on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. It is surrounded by beautifully kept gardens. A ballroom was added later (at the right) and now is used as a cafe and a venue for weddings and conventions.


 The music room

 The ladies drawing room

The library

The ceiling in the foyer took three people six and a half years to carve. The hand etched venetian glass depicts the English rose, the Irish shamrock, the Scottish thistle and the New Zealand fern. The ceramic floor is Minton from Stoke-on-Trent. The mosaic tiles from Belgium spell the words "The Camp", which is the name Larnach gave to the property. 

 I enjoyed exploring the castle but I was a bit hesitant climbing the tiny spiral staircase to the roof.

The view down the harbour to the heads was fabulous.

Looking over the neat gardens from the top floor bedrooms.

We had a coffee and then a walk through the gardens before setting off for another adventure.

17 comments:

  1. what a beautiful old home. i love all the inside photos. and in the first shot iove the part to the right, the ball room i assume.looks like a glassed in porch.

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  2. forgot to say NO NO NO on those concrete steps to the roof

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  3. Hello, Diane! The tour of the castle was wonderful. The view from the roof is one of my favorite scenes. The garden are lovely too. Great post. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

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  4. I enjoyed that visit so much Diane, the Barker family have done a wonderful job with the restoration. When I read the name Lanarch Castle it made me think of Game of Thrones :) So worth the climb on the spiral staircase, the views are stunning across the harbour.. but I'm glad you did it and not me :)

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  5. Not sure I would have liked that spiral staircase though heights do not worry me! Beautiful castle, but it is so English looking compared with what we have here in France. It is amazing the difference in styles. Have a good day, t'other Diane

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  6. what a fantastic castle worth visiting

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  7. Beautiful castle -- great to tour places like this, you learn so much history in such a fun way; and wonderful photo ops. (Did you finish climbing that rather-scary looking staircase?)

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    1. Yes I got to the roof to take the views.

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  8. What a wonderful building and one we missed seeing if was open so many years ago. We did see Olveston though but sadly missed the railway station, which is very impressive.

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  9. What a magnificent structure in a beautiful setting. Thanks for taking us along with you.

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  10. Looks a very impressive castle and it's so good that someone bought it, restored it and now sharing it with visitors.

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  11. What a beautiful castle ! Would have been very sad to let it become a ruin !

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  12. An amazing place with quite a history. I am always happy to hear of these places being lovingly restored to their former glory. The original workmanship must have been a sight to behold. Great photos Diane, and thank you for sharing another great post.

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  13. Beautiful views and details. I would never have thought of a castle being in New Zealand.

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  14. Looks as if the restoration is coming along beautifully, well maybe not the roof stairway. Looks like a great place tovisit

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  15. Imagine living in those elegant surrounds - but they didn't have the luxury of a lift to the top !!

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  16. Amazing. This looks like it could be in Scotland somewhere (on a sunny day). Very interesting!

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