Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Sunday, October 26, 2014

L is for Larnach Castle

The town of Dunedin was the third destination our New Zealand motorcycle tour itinerary. I remember the morning at breakfast when our tour guides asked us to choose our dinner entrĂ©e for that evening’s meal. “Prawns or chicken?” We’d be dining and staying over at Larnach Castle. I’m usually a happy hosteler when it comes to lodgings on the road, but once I knew we’d be in a castle, I envisioned the palaces of movies I’d seen and imagined myself there. I ordered prawns and Judy ordered chicken. 

That day’s ride took us to New Zealand’s only castle, built in the late 1800's atop a huge hill on the Otago Peninsula, overlooking Dunedin. 
Internet photo

Our route wound through the heart of the city, where we stopped for a bit of sight-seeing, including the southernmost Harley Davidson shop in the world.

Then, to reach Larnach Castle, we crossed a bridge to the peninsula and circled around the edge of the harbor for 9km.  Finally, we traversed 3km of narrow, twisty roads back up into the hills. It seemed to take forever; there were no sign of the castle. “Where the heck IS the castle?” I said out loud into my helmet, but I kept going in hopes I was on the right road.  What a relief when Larnach came into view, every bit as spectacular as I’d imagined.

After years of neglect and disrepair, a couple, the Barkers, bought Larnach Castle in 1967 and restored it. They added a lodge and converted the stables into guest accommodations. Assigned to the Sea Room, which was situated on a corner of the Lodge, we had a terrific view of the sunset beyond the hills of the city. The next morning we were delighted by the pink rays and clouds as the sun rose over the water. 

Along with our friend Donna, we took a quick tour of the gardens and the castle, going to the highest roof for a 360° panorama of the whole area.

Internet photo
Dinner was served in the castle dining room.  Everything, except for all of us in our motorcycle gear, was very formal. There were finger bowls on the table for those of us who had ordered prawns.  We sure needed them. The shrimp were still in their shells (with heads on!), and the dish was served with some fancy sauce splashed over the shells. We didn’t get to taste much of the sauce, but those finger bowls were put to good use. Judy’s choice, the pesto and sun-dried tomato stuffed chicken breast, was far neater.
Internet photo of Stables

Though there were stories of the castle being haunted, we found no evidence and spent a peaceful night tucked into the Sea Room.

Breakfast was served on the ground floor of the stables the next morning. Among wrought-iron-and-wood conveyances,tables and chairs were set up on the cobblestone flooring, and the whole affair was a lot less messy than dinner.

Did I feel like a princess? Not really, but staying overnight at Larnach Castle was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

~ xoA ~


  1. I've always wanted to visit a castle, and it's amazing how you were able to stay in one. The trip sounded beautiful. This is definitely a place I want to add my travel list.

    1. New Zealand is a "must see," Jasmine. It's easy to get around, and you speak the language (more or less). The only issue is driving on the "wrong" side of the road. Scary on a motorcycle when there's no other traffic. You're not sure which way to go. Thanks for writing. xoA