9 months ago

Southern Destinations: March 22, 2018

14 | southern holiday

14 | southern holiday destinations dunedin | MarCh 2018 royal albatross centre Ever seen a giant albatross sharing your space? Explored a hidden fort? Visit Otago Peninsula for your only chance to see two unique award winning attractions; the world's only mainland albatross breeding colony and the world’s only fully restored 1886 Armstrong Disappearing Gun. Both are iconic Dunedin experiences at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head. The Royal Albatross with its three metre wing span is sure to amaze. Led by knowledgeable guides, a tour from the Centre is the only way to get close-up views of these magnificent birds in their world famous breeding colony, so make certain you book ahead. Pukekura is also home to a wide range of other bird and marine life. Albatross, seals, cormorants and penguins have all colonised the headland, which boasts a rich cultural history. The headland has been a fortified site since the earliest Maori settlement of the region. On the Fort Taiaroa tour visitors explore the historic Victorian Fort and 1886 Armstrong disappearing gun hidden beneath the albatross colony. Make time for the superb Café and Souvenir Shop on-site. This great day out supports the Otago Peninsula Trust, a private charitable trust dedicated to conservation, education and sustainable tourism. Visit all the Trust’s attractions including the Royal Albatross Centre, Fletcher House and Glenfalloch Woodland Garden and Restaurant. For more information visit - Don’t miss... your only chance to see... The world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross DunEDin railWays taiEri gorgE Welcome aboard Dunedin Railways Taieri Gorge – one of the world’s great train trips and an experience you should not miss. Departing from Dunedin’s beautiful railway station the train begins its scenic journey into some of New Zealand’s most ever-changing, spectacular and iconic scenery. The train travels through the Southern parts of Dunedin city until it arrives at Wingatui junction where it turns off onto the Taieri branch. From here the train sneaks across the Taieri Plains and climbs into the Taieri Gorge, a narrow and deep gorge carved out over aeons by the ancient Taieri River. The train negotiates the gorge with ease as it travels through ten tunnels and over countless bridges and viaducts. The natural wonders combined A ‘must visit’ for lovers of arts and culture; Olveston offers a unique glimpse into the extraordinary lives of one of Dunedin prominent Edwardian families. Olveston was the home of businessman, collector and philanthropist David Theomin. Designed by the English architect, Sir Ernest George, Olveston was built with every modern convenience including central heating, a gas generator for electricity, a shower in each bathroom and heated towel rails, an internal telephone system and service lift. The house was also lavishly furnished with exotic artefacts, prized artworks, antiques, carpets, ceramics, statues and weaponry purchased from around the world. with the challenge of man made engineering will leave you amazed, but somehow the railway blends into the natural environment perfectly. It is a wonderful example of the sheer determination of early railway pioneers. The train will stop or slow down at various scenic points along the way for photos where you can disembark and stretch your legs and enjoy the best of beauty, peace and quiet that nature has to offer. Stand on the open air platforms while the train moves or enjoy a quiet drink and food while our train manager tells the story of the nature and history of the area in an entertaining and informative live commentary. This is an all weather trip that will suit individuals, families or groups alike! Daily departures year round. olveston Historic Home Olveston was inherited by the Theomin’s daughter Dorothy in 1933. Continuing the family tradition of philanthropy, Dorothy supported many of the artistic and community causes championed by her parents including Dunedin Public Art Gallery and the Plunket Society. Following Dorothy’s death in 1966, it was discovered that Olveston, complete with the original contents, was gifted to the people of Dunedin. Guided tours reveal the extraordinary lives of the Theomin family and allow a glimpse of Dunedin’s rich business, artistic and social history from the mid-1800s until the 1960s. Set within a 1-acre ‘Garden of National Significance’, at 42 Royal Terrace, Olveston is within walking distance from the Octagon. Olveston is a time capsule, as little has changed inside the house since it was occupied as a family home. A feast for the eyes, a tour of Olveston is for those who appreciate (or aspire to) the finer things in life. Visiting Olveston is by guided tour only. Tours commence daily at 9.30am, 10.45am, 12noon, 1.30pm, 2.45pm and 4pm. For details of other activities and events held at the house throughout the year, visit

MARCH 2018 | dunedin soutHeRn HolidAy destinAtions | 15 cruising on thE otago harbour You may not be able to soar like an albatross over Taiaroa Head, but a trip with Dunedin’s Monarch Cruises will get you close to the real thing! Enjoy the best that the Otago Peninsula and coast have to offer with this multi award winning tourism company. Not only will you see the mighty Northern Royal Albatross and New Zealand fur seal colonies, but experienced guides will identify other species nesting and feeding there – wading birds, other albatrosses, petrels, maybe even penguins, sea-lions and dolphins. Join a short wildlife cruise if you are already out on the peninsula, or relax and take one of Monarch’s popular longer tour options from the city. These can include visits to the Albatross Centre, Larnach Castle and Penguin Place. a World class stately Home Larnach Castle is undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s finest historic homes. Not only is it a testament to the wealth of its builder, but to the current owners who have restored and revitalised it for the benefit of visitors from all over the world. William Larnach was a merchant, Baron and politician when he built the castle in 1871 for his wife Eliza. The finest materials were imported to befit the opulent grandeur he envisaged; Italian marble, Venetian glass and tiles from England. The 3000 square foot ballroom is still used for weddings and balls and the castle boasts the only Georgian hanging staircase in the Southern Hemisphere. Part of the romance and intrigue of the castle today is the tragic history of its owner. Larnach shot himself after a scandal involving his wife and the building was subsequently used as a mental hospital and later to billet troops. Years of neglect finally came to an end when the Barker family purchased it in 1967 and painstakingly restored and developed it to its present condition. As well as its magnificent Victorian interior, resplendent with architectural details, elaborate fittings and antique furniture, 35 acres of garden have been re-developed by Margaret Barker into “Garden of International Significance” status. In 2017 the castle celebrated 50 years of dedicated You can also take a new Sundowner Package from mid afternoon – including wildlife cruise, albatross tour, dinner at Albatross Café and viewing Little Blue Penguins coming ashore after dark before being taken back to the city. Complimentary transfers and refreshments are included for half day and full day options, while interactive commentaries, complimentary jackets and binoculars are also provided. For further information phone 0800 666 272, visit Monarch Cruises at 20 Fryatt St Dunedin and at Wellers Rock Wharf on the Otago Peninsula or contact the company’s email or website www. ownership by the Barker family. The native plant trail is a beautifully illustrated walk through the castle grounds among rare and iconic native plants in rock gardens, a south seas garden and a rain forest. Children also enjoy a special guide to Larnach Castle. The illustrated brochure contains interesting facts about castles, Victorian times, the family’s history and a children’s tour of the grounds. Larnach Castle offers guests three different styles of accommodation; Camp Estate - country house accommodation positioned 500 metres from the front gate of the Castle, offering luxurious decor and total privacy; Larnach Lodge, features colonial style in the grounds of the castle and has 12 bedrooms with private facilities for guests; while Castle Stable Stay is the perfect choice for budget conscience travellers. All house guests may dine in the elegantly restored castle dining room and enjoy the unparalled atmosphere of New Zealand’s only genuine castle. Superbly located on the Otago Peninsula, Larnach Castle captures the romance and history of the past. Also on the property is a café, petanque pit and a gift shop for castle themed mementoes to take home. For further information visit or email blue penguins pukekura Everyone loves penguins! Discover Korora, Little Blue Penguins, the world’s smallest penguins in their natural habitat on the picturesque Otago Peninsula and see them scurry home to their cliff side burrows at the end of the day. A purpose-built observation platform and boardwalk at the beach provide the most natural way to view the little penguins without disturbing them. Blue Penguins Pukekura is operated as a conservation kaitiakitanga partnership between the Royal Albatross Centre, the Otago Peninsula Trust and the Pukekura Trust. The increased financial support from visitors to the area has provided the penguin population with the chance to flourish thanks to the increased level of predator control and the construction of nest-boxes required to successfully raise their young free from harm. Penguin numbers have dramatically increased to over 200 breeding pairs thanks to the hard work of all of the stakeholders involved in the Blue Penguins Pukekura project. Tours begin every evening at dusk from the Royal Albatross Centre and last for approximately 75 minutes. There is a Café and Souvenir Shop on site. Reservations are recommended as the tour fills fast. For more information please visit www. Discover korora... the worlds smallest penguin... scurrying home each night in their natural environment Email: