Larnach Castle and views over the Otago Peninsula. © DunedinNZ

Discover the scandalous stories of Larnach Castle


New Zealand’s only castle sits high on the spine of the Otago Peninsula. With a combination of lavish Victorian architecture and the tragic stories of its founders, Larnach Castle is rich in history. 

In 1871, William Larnach, merchant baron and local politician had 200 labourers build the castle over three years for Eliza, his first wife and mother to his six children. With the death of Eliza, two more marriages, deaths, betrayals, infidelity and eventually Larnach’s own suicide in Parliament Buildings, it’s no wonder Larnach Castle is said to be home to restless spirits.

Over the years Larnach Castle has had many uses including a nun’s retreat, a billet for soldiers and a lunatic asylum. And at one point the ballroom was used to hold sheep. 

Today, the castle has been restored to its former glory as a showcase for Victorian living. With luxurious period furnishings inside and acres of manicured gardens to roam through outdoors, Larnach Castle is one of New Zealand’s most popular built attractions.  

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