Built in the late-19th century by William Larnach, Larnach Castle is New Zealand’s only castle. It’s been beautifully refurbished and the grounds are carefully tended. The views across the hills and water of the Otago Peninsula are some of the best in the area. A trip to Larnach Castle is a great way to spend a day while visiting Dunedin.
Larnach Castle is actually a mock castle, as it was a home rather than a fortified battlement. No expense was spared during its construction and the Barker family who have owned it since the 1960s have restored it beautifully, adding antiques and period furniture. Enjoy touring the interior, have tea or lunch in the beautiful Ballroom Cafe, visit the plant nursery, and stroll the 35-acre grounds. You can even stay overnight on the grounds.
Tour independently with prebooked admission tickets or take part in a small-group guided tour of Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula that also visits the castle. Additionally, some tours combine a visit to Larnach Castle with a wildlife excursion or a visit to Speight’s brewery.
Things to Know Before You Go
- High tea is served daily in the Ballroom Cafe; bookings should be made in advance.
- The castle gardens have been rated by the New Zealand Gardens Trust as a Garden of International Significance, so don’t fail to check them out.
- The castle itself is a private residence, but visitors can stay at accommodations on the grounds, from 4-star Larnach Lodge to more budget options at the Stable Stay.
How to Get There
Larnach Castle is located about 20 minutes from Dunedin city by car, on the Otago Peninsula. It’s not very convenient to get there by bus, so it’s better to go on a private or group tour from Dunedin or Port Chalmers (for cruise ship passengers).
When to Get There
While you can join a Larnach Castle tour year-round (it's open daily 365 days a year), Dunedin and its surrounding areas are best visited in the summer (December–February). The temperatures are pleasant, the daylight hours are long, and the greenery and flowers add to the natural beauty of the Otago Peninsula and the castle grounds.
Events at Larnach Castle
Larnach Castle hosts a number of exciting events throughout the year, suited to a range of interests. These include winter evening dinners, ghost story nights, an annual winter ball, and a teddy bears’ picnic during school holidays. Check their calendar before planning a visit.