At Company Bay, Castlewood Road runs 4km inland to the 1871 Gothic Revival Larnach Castle, which sits high on a hill commanding great views across the harbour to Dunedin. More château than fort, this sumptuous residence was designed by Robert A. Lawson for Australian-born banker, politician and importer William Larnach. Materials were shipped from all over the world then punted across the harbour and dragged uphill by ox-drawn sleds. Its outer shell took three years to complete, with the ornate interior taking another nine.
After years of neglect the castle was rescued by the Barker family in the late 1960s and has since been progressively restored while remaining their home. Check out the concealed spiral staircase in the corner of the third floor, which leads up to a terraced turret.
The castle’s magnificent manicured grounds, divided into nine gardens, are of national significance and quite beautiful; keep an eye out for the handful of Alice in Wonderland statues, such as one of the Cheshire cat hiding in an ancient Atlas cedar tree.
You can refresh yourself at the café in the former ballroom, or stay overnight.