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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

An Unusual Overnight Stay

Our accommodation while we were in New Zealand varied from staying with relatives and friends, motels in all sorts of locations, B&B with some very hospitable hosts and an airport hotel. I had researched it all before we went and it was all of a great standard. The most unusual however was our stay in the grounds of New Zealand's only castle.
Larnach Castle is on the Otago peninsula just outside Dunedin. It was built in the 1870's by William Larnach who had made himself considerable money as a banker in the goldfields of Victoria, Australia. He was also a member of the New Zealand parliament.

It was built by craftsman from as far away as England in a style of the Victorian Gothic revival combined with an Australian homestead. The result was quite interesting! Sadly after family tragedy it went through a turbulent period before being virtually abandoned. It was not until the 1960's that the present family bought the property and started a period of restoration.

When we arrived in Dunedin it was raining hard as it had been doing all day. Our journey out onto the peninsula was through thick sea mist. We could see nothing as we drove along the cliff hugging road. Larnach Lodge was a welcome sight to us with our well appointed room overlooking the harbour. Sadly we could see nothing!

Part of our deal for the night was free admission to the castle and garden so we hoped for better weather in the morning. Meanwhile we had booked in for a three course dinner in the castle house party style. We were not disappointed after drinks on the covered veranda we ate at a large table in the music room. This photo shows the veranda.

Fortunately we woke the next morning to a clearing sky and the view was gradually revealed to us.

We had a good wander after breakfast around this intriguing house which has a real family feel about it. The views from the roof were quite stunning both of the view

and of the garden.

We were indeed lucky that the weather improved for us to be able to really enjoy the beautiful gardens.

The owner Margaret Barker still works in the gardens herself at times and the personal influence is evident.

It is a mixture of formal and a more relaxed style.

Making the most of the natural landscape.

And the architecture of the house.

It was certainly a worthwhile visit and a night we will remember for some style. It is a package that could so easily be replicated in many of our stately homes.

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