92. Stay in the haunted Larnach Castle
From whale-watching and go-karting to spending the day as a sea postie and the night in a haunted castle, there’s no shortage of family fun to be found here: here is No. 92 of our 101 Reasons To Stop Dreaming About New Zealand And Go.
Larnach Castle, a foreboding-looking Victorian castle on the Otago Peninsula, is the ideal place to spook the kids. Built in the 1870s in the Gothic Revival architectural style, the castle started out as the home of Aussie expat and prominent Otago businessman and politician William Larnach.
Today it’s a tourist attraction and the country’s only haunted castle. Visit during the New Zealand school holidays in October, when kids enter free (provided they’re accompanied by one paying adult), to wander the castle and internationally lauded gardens as a family. Poke your nose into the enormous ballroom, which hosts a ball every year and high tea every day from 2pm to 3pm. Walk the creaky halls and visit the haunted bedroom. If you have the fortitude, you can even stay the night (accommodation options include staying in the castle’s lodge rooms or stables or at Camp Estate, the property’s new stone manor).
Guided tours recount the life and times of William Larnach, a former NSW banker whose personal story features politics, failed businesses, betrayals and personal tragedy. Larnach Castle is an easy 20 minutes’ drive from Dunedin/Ōtepoti. city centre or you can jump on the Line 18 bus.