Category Archives: Dunedin

More Thoughts About New Zealand

The view out to sea from Larnach Castle, Dunedin

I’ve made a scrapbook from the paperwork, brochures, pamphlets, and other bits-and-pieces I collected while in New Zealand. It was a rather pleasant experience, being both a creative endeavour and another way to relive our travels. It’s not something I’ve ever done before, but if we ever get to travel overseas again, I plan on doing it again. I kept a travel diary as well. You think you will never, ever forget such wonders, but human beings are forgetful beasts. Memories fade, particularly when piled up on top of each other.

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Albatross and Taking Tea, Dunedin

A Juvenile Royal Albatross, Dunedin. Note the downy feathers still visible.

For our second day in Dunedin, we had a full itinerary. The morning was going to be spent at the Royal Albatross Centre at Harington Point (I keep wanting to spell that as ‘Harrington’). My hubby trusted our car’s Navman, and took our Navman’s route suggestion. This turned out to a scenic drive over some the narrowest, twisty roads we’d experienced in New Zealand, along the ridge of the point. As I was still suffering from my heavy cold, feeling lightheaded, I found the experience rather unpleasant. I was scared we would meet another car coming the other way and there was no where for us to pass. We didn’t meet any cars in the narrow spots … because it turned out the Navman had taken us ‘the long way’, and the actual route was the coastal road.

The Royal Albatross Centre was situated on the very tip of Harington Point, and is home to the albatross, a shag colony, and a colony of red-billed gulls. Red-billed gulls are also in decline throughout most of New Zealand.

Red-billed Gulls
The Shag Colony

I felt breathless on walk up to the lookout from the centre, but once I caught sight of the birds I forgot all about needing oxygen. The juvenile albatross were nearly fully fledged – if we had visited a few weeks later we might have missed seeing them. There parents visit them daily, until one day the young birds lift their wings and they are gone. They were sitting in the grass, sunning themselves, and I was enchanted.

Grooming those enormous wings.

The point had been a fort in its day. There were still ruins and tunnels.

A remnant of the fort – the jail rooms. You’d freeze in these most of the year.

I skipped the second part of the tour, as I was just not up to climbing any more. Instead, I sat on a sunny bench and watched the gulls. The gulls watched me back, hoping for a feed. By taking this quiet time, I was able to start understanding some of the gull’s language. They had the usual gull skrees and squawks, but they also had a three-note call, and a grumbling-under-the-breath noise.

High Tea

In the afternoon, we went to High Tea at the castle, in the ballroom that had been converted to a café. It was where we had our breakfast. It is a warm, caramel-toned room with fireplaces and Baronial décor. The edibles were dainty and delectable. There was a tea menu, and I had the Christmas Special Blend; very fruity.

Do you have the feeling you’re being watched?

That afternoon, a stampede of Ferraris turned up. As it turns out, Dunedin was having festival that weekend, and they had come to attend a car show. I spoke with the organiser, and he told me that New Zealand had the greatest density of Ferrari cars per capita in the world. I am not a car person, but even I can appreciated a nice Ferrari.

As the sun fell, neither Hubby nor I felt like dinner. So we spent a quiet evening in our room. Well, as quiet as I could manage. I was coughing during the night, so I didn’t get a proper night’s sleep.

The painting decorating our bedroom in the Lodge of Larnach Castle.

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Darling Dunedin

Larnach Castle, Dunedin

From Lumdsen, Dunedin was a pleasant three hour drive. The scenery – like all of New Zealand – was dramatically pretty. I was beginning to feel weary as we finally reached the outskirts of Dunedin, but it turned out that Larnach Castle was another half hour drive from the city centre. It was worth the extra drive: dry stone walls, witchy marcrocarpa trees, glorious views of the Otago Harbour, and Pukehiki itself was quite lovely. And then – THE CASTLE! Oh, it was lovely, just like a Scottish Manor mixed in with a Queenslander’s verandas. We were staying in the Lodge, as the castle is basically a museum.

The view from our window in The Lodge, looking over Otago harbour towards the sea. There is supposed to be the Dunedin Volcano in that view.

That night, we attended a banquet in the Music Room of the castle. It was an imposing room, and the food was perfection. As it was decorated in the style of the Victorian era, it felt quite Steampunk to me.

On of the chandeliers in the Music Room of Larnach Castle.
The Music Room during the day. The banquet’s tables and chairs have been cleared away.
The view from the fountain to Dunedin. The fountain sits in the circular driveway in front of the castle.
The Alice Garden of Larnach Castle.

After the banquet, I had another rough night, coughing frequently. I felt sorry for my husband, because I thought I was keeping him awake after he spent the day driving. But he was so tired, he was able to ignore most of my coughing. I managed to get enough sleep to make up excited for our plans for the day – The Royal Albatross Centre in the morning, and afternoon tea at the castle in the afternoon. Stay tuned for that update, where I get to meet a stampede of Ferraris.


Filed under Adventures, Dunedin, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic