Today we took a drive to the Otago Peninsula to the east of Dunedin where we had two locations pegged as places we wanted to visit, and all day to do it. So, we set off on what looked like a beautiful-weather-day, to head to the area and see what we could see.
Our first destination was Larnach Castle - It's not really a castle though to be honest, it's just called a castle.
It was built in 1871 by Australian-born William Larnach, a prominent businessman and politician in New Zealand, and overlooks Dunedin and the sea. It's a perfect location - It's easy to see why he bought the land.
It was built as a residence but he didn't get to enjoy it for long as his business-dealings went sour around 1894 and in 1898 he locked himself in a small committee room in the New Zealand Parliament building and shot himself with a revolver. End of story.
The castle was coined as such by the local media in 1874, I suppose as a joke, due to the size and opulence of it however Larnach himself called it the camp. Unfortunately after Larnach's death and family-wrangling over financial matters it was sold on in 1906.
The current owners came to own it in 1967 and it was in terrible condition with crumbling walls and non-existent roofs in places. Rain poured in and damaged the building even further. They loved it though and purchased it, immediately beginning the restoration work.
It is still owned by the Barker family with the son now in control of the renovations and operation of what is now a tourist attraction.
Visitors can view the rooms, now all furnished once again, and the lovely gardens surrounding the castle. They do weddings, balls, conferences and just about any event people ask for. They have a brand new, and very large, manor house also on the estate which is also used for the above. There's a lodge where people can stay and also a converted stable for the same purpose. The breakfast room, the whole ground-floor stable area still has the original red brick stable floor giving a rustic feel to it.
We spent about three hours in the house, gardens and cafe enjoying a Devonshire tea before heading off to our next location.
We drove to the very tip of the Otago Peninsula and the Royal Albatross Centre to see if we cold spy one of these very large sea birds. We were not disappointed.
The views were magnificent and we got to see a couple of Albatross. If you don't know, these birds are huge! They have a wingspan averaging over 3m (almost 10ft). It's almost breeding season so currently they come and go from the cliff-area socialising and finding mates before they start the serious business in a couple of weeks. The first post-image above was taken from the cliff area slightly south of their colony.
The area, Pilots Beach, is also home to seals and the worlds smallest penguin, the Korora, or little blue penguin.
After a bit of lunch we took the scenic drive along the shore, snaking our way around the base of the mountains to Otakou, Portobello, Macandrew Bay and finally back to Dunedin. We stopped in at Signal Point, a lookout above Dunedin, for a look and then headed back to our accommodation declaring the day a great success.
Our vacation is winding down now with tomorrow being our last full day here before we head back to Queenstown to fly home. We are taking it easy now, just enjoying ourselves with no fixed schedule, sleep-ins, long lunches and simple drives in the countryside.
This #whereonwednesday has been very enjoyable, relaxing and interesting too. If only every Wednesday could be like this. Unfortunately next Wednesday I'll be back at work...Probably wishing I was back here!
Want to join in on the #whereonwednesday tag? Just tag it in your post, on a Wednesday, to join in if you would like. It's not a challenge or anything dumb like that, neither do you get anything for it. It's just a chance to post your thoughts and maybe a picture or two.