Day Fifty Three: Larnach Castle and some Happy Hens!!

Well I knew my weather luck couldn’t last forever, not when I was in Dunedin. I woke to overcast skies and a bit of drizzle. Not a full-on rain, mind you, just a bit of wet…enough to make my hair go all curly and frizzy. Of course it just HAD to be on the day that I had saved to drive out to Otago Peninsula! Not to worry, it wasn’t all THAT bad and it cleared off quite nicely once I got out to the peninsula itself. My first stop wasn’t a real stop, it was to take a photo of the murals at a local kindergarten on the way out to Larnach Castle.

Had to stop and photograph these for my leg one travel buddy!

Had to stop and photograph these for my leg one travel buddy!

Rotary Park Kindergarten 2

Gotta give the tuis some love too!

Gotta give the tuis some love too!

Check out their home-made mailbox! How cool is that? I want one.

Check out their home-made mailbox! How cool is that? I want one.

A pretty drive, and it was clearing up as I drove. Great for me, not so great for the rest of my photos...

A pretty drive, and it was clearing up as I drove. Great for me, not so great for the rest of my photos…

Looks a lot like Marin County. Except for the driving on the left-hand side of the road part!

Looks a lot like Marin County. Except for the driving on the left-hand side of the road part!

Peninsula view

And finally I got to Larnach Castle itself. The first thing I did? Run over not one, but TWO, empty glass bottles in the tall grass of the carpark. Oh crud. No immediate flat, so I walked away knowing that if I was going to get a flat it would still be there when I got back to the car after the castle and garden tours! (And I’m VERY happy to report that when I did get back I was good to go, no flats!!)

Larnach 1 walkway

Larnach 2 red chair

Larnach 3

Larnach 5 verandah

Larnach 6

The gardens have an Alice in Wonderland theme.

The gardens have an Alice in Wonderland theme.

Larnach 8

Larnach 9

Larnach 10

Larnach 11

A nice idea for home, now that we're officially in a drought!

A nice idea for home, now that we’re officially in a drought!

Larnach 13

Larnach 14

Larnach 15

Larnach 16

A nice touch...stonework bench with succulent surround. Not sure what the low plant is, but it isn't chamomile.

A nice touch…stonework bench with succulent surround. Not sure what the low plant is, but it isn’t chamomile.

Larnach 18

Larnach 19

This is the ballroom, which was added after the original castle was built. They have a cafe in part of it now.

This is the ballroom, which was added after the original castle was built. They have a cafe in part of it now.

Larnach 22

Larnach 23

Front door

Front door

Above the front door

Above the front door

You’re not allowed to take photos inside the house at all, so sorry I can’t share any with you. There are some on their website, and I bought the book they sell there, so if anyone wants to come look at it once I’m back in San Francisco you can contact me. From atop the hill I drove down to sea level and to the tiny town of Portobello.

Portobello sign

Taller than I am, and loaded with blossoms!

Taller than I am, and loaded with blossoms!

One of the main reasons that everyone wants to stop into Portobello is to go to Happy Hens! I was lucky enough to find Yvonne Sutherland, the owner, sitting in the shop painting a hen. As I am known to do, I got into a long conversation with her about her business, life, the universe, and everything. I’d been in the shop on my 2005 New Zealand trip, and we talked about changes to business since then. I made a few purchases and was on my merry way.

Happy Hens building Happy Hens road sign

The Otago Peninsula is very well know for it’s wildlife: The Royal Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head, and the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Colony being amongst two of the best-known. I did both of those things when I was here in 2005, and I didn’t return there on this trip. I will say that for those of you who have NOT been yet– both of these are things that you MUST do if you’re out on the peninsula!!

The only penguins I saw were bronze, and back in Dunedin later on in the afternoon as I continued my general rambling exploration of town. These fellows were just a bit over knee high, and darn cute!

Penguin 2

Penguin with tie

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2 Responses to Day Fifty Three: Larnach Castle and some Happy Hens!!

  1. EO says:

    Ah, you gotta love the Peninsula – from Larnach Castle gardens (who doesn’t love a Wonderland theme?) to Happy Hens! LOVE the bronze penguins. WANT.
    and thanks for the pukekos – I never get enough of those little clowns :-)

  2. Dian says:

    I could live on the Otago Peninsula.Wonderful. Loved the drive out and back. But then Oamaru – If I had to choose… hmmmm

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