Dunedin Scenic Highlights
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Dunedin's dramatic hills surround a long, natural harbour, which attracted Māori settlers to the site over four centuries ago.
Dunedin Scenic Highlights Overview
Otago's scenery has a soulful quality that urges you to stay a while. Wild, coastal landscapes contrast with heritage buildings and rural tranquility. There's such a lot to absorb.
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A Genuine Castle Overlooking the Beautiful Otago Harbour
Larnach Castle, located on the Otago Peninsula, is New Zealand's only castle. William Larnach—Minister of the Crown, banker, financier and merchant Baron, built the castle for his beloved first wife, Eliza Jane Guise.
Construction began in 1871 and 200 workmen laboured for five years before the family moved in. Gifted European craftsmen worked for eleven more years to embellish the interiors with the finest materials from around the world. The ornate interior carving, detailed stonework, woodcarving, plasterwork and glass are outstanding.
The castle consists of forty-three rooms and a large ballroom. It is open for viewing every day.
A Trip to the Tip of the Otago Peninsula
Taiaroa Head on the Otago Peninsula was once the site of the important Pukekura fortified pa in the 18th century. Later it was a busy population centre involved in harbour work, shore defence and prison labour projects.
Presently it is the home of the Royal Albatross Colony, the only mainland breeding colony of Royal albatross in the world. It's also the place to see the Armstrong Disappearing Gun, built to fend off a feared Russian invasion in 1880 and later used as a defence post in the two World Wars.
Marvelously Huge Marbles all Over the Beach
The famous Moeraki Boulders lie scattered along a beach 40 kilometres south of Oamaru. According to Māori legend, the boulders are gourds washed from the great voyaging canoe Araiteuru when it was wrecked upon landfall in New Zealand some 1,000 years ago.
Scientists explain the boulders as septarian concretions formed about 65 million years ago.
Crystallization of calcium and carbonates around charged particles in muddy undersea sediments gradually formed the boulders in a process taking as long as four million years.
The soft mudstone containing the boulders was raised from the seabed around 15 million years ago and sea erosion is exposing the erosion-resistant boulders.
The viewing platform, just a few minutes walk through regenerating native shrubland, offers good views of the boulders and, if you are lucky, New Zealand (hectors) dolphins playing in the waves.
» Moeraki Boulders Information
A Tunnel hewn by hand through Sandstone Cliffs
To provide his daughters with a private bathing beach, the son of Captain William Cargill (a wealthy landowner and noted community leader) had a tunnel hewn in the sandstone cliffs south of St Clair. Tragically, one of his daughters is said to have drowned in the waves here.
Watch southern ocean rollers smash against steep cliffs; look for fossil shells over 20 million years old embedded in the sandstone blocks strewn on the beach; see the large sandstone arch formed by the ocean's power. The beach, which is now known as Tunnel Beach, is a one hour return walk.
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