Saturday, 25 January 2014

Otago Peninsula and the garden at Lanarch Castle

This is the final instalment of my visit to New Zealand in October. I flew into Dunedin in the South Island, and after catching up with my niece, I booked a wildlife cruise and tour around the nearby Otago Peninsula.

As with my Catlin's experience, I experienced two very different moods of the peninsula. The day of the cruise was very wet and cloudy but very atmospheric. However, the tour I was on didn't include Lanarch Castle, which I was keen to see, so I was determined to squeeze in a return visit before my departure.

Hidden in this clump on trees on a spit that extended into the harbour was the pilot's house. What a fabulous location.

Hooker's sea lion - you can see from the background how little visibility there was.

Taiaroa Head

A yellow-eyed penguin, one of the rarest in the world 

In my last post, I identified a photo of a shag on Stewart Island as a Stewart Island shag, but now that I know that New Zealand is home to a third of the world's shag species (and a lot look alike to me), I'm not so confident and shall give up any pretence of being more specific. These were very lovely though. If you are interested, I found this great website


New Zealand fur seal

Albatross - Taiaroa Head is the world's only mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross

A closer look at the pilot's house (under the tallest conifer) from our boat

Same snoozing sea lion on our return trip.

A curious, juvenile Black Backed Gull seemed to be giving me the once over

On our return trip we called into Quarantine Island to collect the good folk on the jetty below. They were volunteers who had spent the day collecting rubbish that had washed up on the island, and we gave them and some huge full garbage bags a lift home.

This three-dimensional map gives you an idea of the peninsula's terrain. 

I had fairly limited time on my second visit to the Peninsula, but this time I was blessed with good weather. My return flight was early afternoon, so I set out in the morning, essentially driving across the top of the peninsula from left to right. On my way out I took the high road (Highcliff Road) to enjoy the views denied to me by the weather on my earlier visit, and on my return trip, I followed the road along the water's edge.

Looking back on Dunedin

Cabbage tree, ti kouka (Cordyline australia)


My final destination was Lanarch Castle. Its original owner, William Lanarch, was an Australian-born banker. He selected the site for his mansion on a ridge of the peninsula in 1870 and took up residence in 1874. The following year he decided to enter politics. His was ultimately a sad fate. Many of his enterprises were unsuccessful. He lived at the castle with three successive wives until 1898 when, overcome by financial problems and rumours that his young wife was having an affair with his favourite son, he committed suicide in Parliament.

The castle changed hands a number of times and was abandoned twice before being purchased in 1967 by the Barker family who have restored the house and garden.

The Pergola and Green Room

South Seas Garden

Fritillaria meleagris


Flowering quince

Kowai (Sophora tetraptera)

I was very glad I was able to visit Lanarch Castle, but time was getting tight, so I set off for the airport and my return flight to Brisbane.


I scarcely had time to unpack my suitcase before a friend arrived from the UK, and I was off again to share some of my favourite spots in Australia with her.


  1. What an enjoyable post!!
    I'm glad that you made it back out again on a good weather day...the photos are fantastic and were well worth the second visit.
    It's always nice to see other beautiful parts of the world....places that I will never get the chance to visit.
    Love the castle it open to the public only or is it inhabited by a family?

    1. Thanks, Virginia. That's how I feel when I read all your wonderful posts about life in Barbados or your travels. Your question about the castle is a good one. It is open to the public, and looking back I feel that I must have seen most of the interior, so perhaps the family don't actually live in the castle itself. However, there are a number of outlying buildings, some of which have guest accommodation, so it is possible that the family lives there.

  2. Can I trade places with one of those cows?



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