Category Archives: Larnach Castle

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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Filed under Adventures, Dunedin, Larnach Castle, New Zealand, Personal experience