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 music room
The ladies drawing room
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.
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.