Larnach Castle is an imposing mansion on the ridge of the Otago Peninsula, close to the small Pukehiki settlement, within the borders of the city of Dunedin. It is one of the few homes of this scale in New Zealand. The house and its land are regularly open to the public.The house was built between 1871 and 1887 as the residence of a leading entrepreneur and politician William Larnach in colonial New Zealand. The first architect was RA Lawson, who was also responsible for many other buildings in Dunedin. (***For more information about Haunted Castles, visit here : 10 Spectacular Haunted Castles )
The resulting complex eventually included 43 rooms and a ballroom and needed a staff of 46 servants. The ballroom was built in 1887 as the 21st birthday gift for Larnach’s favorite daughter Kate. Kate died from typhoid at the age of 26, and her ghost was still famous for visiting the ballroom. The ghost of Larnach’s first wife, Eliza, is said to have haunted the castle by some. The building, which Larnach himself simply called “Camp”, did not ensure his happiness. After a series of personal and financial mishaps, he committed suicide in the New Zealand Parliament Buildings in October 1898.
After the bitter legal wars over Larnach’s will, Larnach Castle was sold in 1906. The place has undergone constant changes in ownership and use, and after many years of repair, it was bought and restored by Barry and Margaret Barker in 1967. Offering spectacular views of the Otago Peninsula and Harbor, the hotel is 10 kilometers from the city center by road.
In 1985, TVNZ was used as a place for the shooting of Dunedin production “Hanlon”. That same year, the U.S.-New Zealand movie co-production was used in the promotional scenes of Shaker Run.
Larnach Castle remains an important tourist destination in Dunedin. Its owners bought another modern house, the design of which is a revitalized form of the city’s Victorian tradition. The expanded complex successfully trades with the reputation of the old building – a sign of its lasting attention. The building was visited by paranormal researchers and was featured in local New Zealand television shows such as “Ghost Hunt” and “Spookers” as well as international television shows such as American “Ghost Hunters International”.
As of November 2008, nearly 30 “moody spirits”, “touch”, “push” and other “strange events” are seen in the castle, according to an article in the New Zealand Herald.
When the TV2 series Ghost Hunt crew was filmed at Larnach Castle in 2005, ghost hunters caught what looked like a ghost on the camera. And when their kiwi friend Spookers entered the “haunted barns” one night in June, they were very afraid that they would move their sleeping quarters at small hours. You can put these spooky experiences in loads of overly excited TV personalities and a trick of light, but there are a few more encounters to explain.
Not to mention touching, pushing and other strange events in the castle, about 30 moods reported were observed. Delicious bait for the US shows Ghost Hunters International, which filmed paranormal researchers in March as part of an attempt to reject claims of supernatural activity in the world’s worst haunted spots. The camera looked like a ghost in the ballroom.
William Larnach, I think. Given the tragic history of Larnach and his family (the original inhabitants of the castle), this would happen if the child would be haunted anywhere in our country.In 1871, the bank bigwig William Larnach moved from Australia to Dunedin with his wife Eliza, four children and Eliza’s sister Mary. The choice of a remote hill for their new home did not please the brutal-faced Eliza (the castle is only 20 minutes by car from Dunedin, it was completely isolated during the pre-road colonial period).
After producing two more children, Eliza suddenly suffered a stroke at the age of 38 – so William immediately married her little, beautiful sister Mary, who died at the age of 38 in blood poisoning. William, a merchant baron and deputy so far, married for the third time at the age of 57: this time he was 35 years old when his children were married to the beautiful Constance.
In five years 1898, William was not a happy man. She has already entered the brink of bankruptcy and, after the death of her favorite daughter Kate, invariably opened a letter containing the news of her relationship with her beloved husband’s son Douglas. William was immediately shot in a 62-year-old parliament room. After stripping over his unsigned testament, the family broke up, selling the castle used as a house and a mental hospital for bullet shocked soldiers. In 1967, the Barker family bought it and restored the building, floor and old furniture, and since then has given importance to the castle.Barkers does not reject rumors of a ghostly being. Apparently, William is keeping an eye downstairs – especially fond of the ballroom and the billiard room – Eliza is keeping the old clock up.
Regardless of the supernatural, there are many more reasons to visit New Zealand’s only castle. A marvelous blend of Scottish-baronial and Gothic revival style architecture that combines Italian marble, Venetian glass, Welsh slate, British tiles, and native New Zealand rimu and kauri, protected by large stone lions and carved eagles.
Curved by the weight of the central hanging spiral staircase, the four-story castle is so wide and expanding we were delighted with our map and tour guide, which filled us with the family’s history. The elaborate dining room with antique furniture, heavy chandeliers and a waiter mirror (of course he couldn’t watch the audience directly) are still used for guest dinners. And carved so intricately with its ornate ceiling, angels and the like, they look wasted in a room where you are not looking up.
William and his wives slept in separate bedrooms, where children’s beds seemed to be evidence of what younger people are. They were also much smaller – each room had a pot and dips in a ton of marble bath was more or less between (when the maid drew enough water containers, the bathroom would be cold).
At the end of the tour, I could almost see that the Larnachs would disappear into their own rooms after dinner: women in the drawing room, sunbeds in the drawing room, men in the library. But we are told that we cannot leave without controlling the medieval-looking tower as it seems.
Incredibly narrow, winding staircase is worth squeezing: we are greeted by a wide panorama of the ocean, harbor and coastline that stretches from Dunedin’s surroundings to the lighthouse-covered end of the peninsula. In the foreground, the southern seas of the Larnach Castle, rock and shrub gardens, native plant trail, fern walk, good wishes and boutique-lodge accommodation and 14ha area.
Its magnificent view doesn’t stop there. It is tempting to sweep the beaches and hills shaking from the steering wheel to the aquamarine sea, green to purple, from the castle on the way to the harbor, from the castle. Along the road, sleepy villages gather in sheltered bays.
Just a kilometer away from Portobello’s wee settlement, the New Zealand Marine Research Center and Aquarium is an underdeveloped gem where we take a virtual submarine journey and admire sea creatures like the whimsical pinocchio-nosed bellows.
At the end of the peninsula, Taiaroa Head returned to an ancient Maori pa military fortress (founded in the 1880s to counter the perceived threat of Tsarist Russian occupation). Today, it is a museum where you can navigate through the old tunnels and control the Armstrong Disappearing Weapon, which can be fired from underground.
But this wildlife is not a weapon, it is the main attraction on this small nose. The peninsula hosts the colony of yellow-eyed penguins at Penguin Place, and seals and sea lions can be detected while sleeping in the sun on the eastern clifftop. Also, check out the Royal Albatross Center, the stronghold of New Zealand’s only mainland breeding colony. It offers numerous tours close-up gander on land and in the water.
When I drove south to Dunedin along the port mouth, I noticed that I had a completely different perspective on where to get into the city’s landscape: at the far end of a peninsula with some spectacular views and wonderful wildlife. The jury is still on the ghosts.
***For more information about Haunted Castles, visit here : 10 Spectacular Haunted Castles