Larnach Castle Serpentine Walk

Larnach Castle Environmental Policy


Welcome to Larnach Castle. We hope that you enjoy your experience with us.


Larnach Castle has become a heritage and cultural site of national significance. Like many worthy World-heritage and Cultural projects the Castle has become a lifetime restoration and conservation project for the Barker Family who have passionately instilled life and love into the Castle and the surrounding landscape from a state of ruin since 1967.

Our ongoing restoration and conservation challenge is to present and preserve in an authentic way the cultural and historical aspects of the Castle while also protecting the beautiful environment that supports our activities and we want to ensure that your children and/or grandchildren can one day visit and enjoy it too. To this end, we’ve developed an environmental plan and welcome your support for this initiative.

Most of our guests and visitors want to help, so we invite you to join us by enjoying our hospitality and understanding our environmental policy.

Green logo


Energy.  To minimise our energy use:

We currently...

We will...

  • Use energy saving bulbs in all 70% of light fittings that are capable of using such lamps.
  • Use energy-efficient timers and motion sensors on lighting exterior paths and interior staff only areas.
  • Encourage guests to turn their lights off if they are not in their rooms.
  • Encourage guests to turn off their room refrigerator if they do not need to use it, or the noise disturbs them.
  • Have replaced older televisions with more energy efficient LCD televisions.
  • Encourage guests to re-use towels in order to use less water and reduce the use of detergents.
  • Buy local produce where possible to reduce transport emissions.
  • Use a minimal amount of electrical power, as our supply from town is minimal.  All accommodation rooms use natural gas for hot water.  Our kitchens also use natural gas for hot water and cooking, and we use our own supply of sustainable wood in the original large fireplaces to heat the Ballroom.  Use of electrical power is limited to lighting, refrigeration, and powering office equipment.
  • Continue to replace all current bulbs with energy saving lamps.
  • Aim to regularly upgrade room appliances to energy- efficient models.


Waste.  To minimise our waste and to reduce, reuse, and recycle the resources consumed by our staff, visitors and guests wherever practical:

We currently...

We will...

  • Separate our glass, plastic, paper and cardboard from the rest of our rubbish:
    • Glass and plastic is recycled (we pay for it to be collected separately from our other rubbish).
    • Newspaper is used to light our Ballroom fires on a daily basis.
    • Other paper and cardboard rubbish is composted here at the Castle and used in the gardens.
  • Collect our food scraps for use in our compost.
  • Store goods in reusable plastic containers.
  • Use reusable cloth hand towels and rags instead of disposable hand-towels.
  • Use rechargeable batteries in torches.
  • Use refillable spray bottles for cleaning guestrooms.
  • Reuse paper already printed on one side for internal printing.
  • Encourage our suppliers to deliver produce in returnable containers where possible.
  • Phase in mercury free batteries.


Water.  To minimise our water use:

We currently...

We will...

  • Remind guests that we collect our own water, thus eliminating any impact on the town water supply.  The primary source of water is from our own natural spring.  This water passes through a system of filters and is then further purified using ultra violet light.  The end result is beautiful, chemical free, 100% pure water.
  • Have installed dual-flush toilets.
  • Have started to replace our older machines with water-efficient washing machines and dishwashers.
  • In future increase rainwater collection.
  • Aim to update all of our washing machines and dishwashers with water-efficient rated machines.
  • Develop a means to capture and recycle washing water for use on our gardens.


Pollution. To reduce our pollution (waterway, noise, air, visual, light) to minimum:

We currently...

We will...

  • Remind guests that we are not part of the town waste-water system (which pipes it out to the sea!).  We collect and treat our own waste water in a certified three-tank system, which then disposes of the processed liquid over a wide output field nourishing one of our forests (growing firewood for our Ballroom fires).
  • Ensure all hazardous waste is disposed of safely.
  • Specify the use of water-based paints as much as possible in our renovation projects.
  • We use aerosol sprays which are ozone friendly.
  • Compromise between extremely bright outdoor lighting and the minimum required for guest safety, so as not to unduly disturb the wildlife living within our gardens and grounds.
  • Aim to change all of our refrigeration equipment to ozone friendly refrigerant.
  • Ensure continuous improvement is made as general knowledge and better technology becomes available.


Conservation. To encourage wildlife conservation and regeneration of native plants/forests:

We currently...

We will...

  • Remind guests that within this ongoing conservation project, since 1967 we have developed gardens, trees, and magnificent landscapes in what started as barren hilltop farmland with a derelict castle on it.
  • Continue to plant a mix of trees and shrubs which are native to the area in order to encourage bird life and reduce the need for irrigation.
  • Maintain a sustainable crop of non-native trees for our firewood needs.
  • Ensure all printed material and products are sustainably sourced.
  • Grow our own herbs in our organic vegetable garden (unfortunately we can’t grow enough vegetables in our garden to support our kitchens’ requirements).
  • Purchase locally where possible, which helps reduce carbon emissions from transport, and provides some assurance as to its quality and freshness.
  • Continue to develop the property with a view to native forest regeneration and native wildlife conservation.


Dunedin Wildlife Care Code

Dunedin is home to rare and special wildlife.

Help us protect our penguins, sea lions and birds for future generations.

View wildlife with a commercial tour operator as this ensures respectful behaviour and limits wildlife disturbance.

Wildlife Care: Help protect Dunedin’s rare wildlife. Do not disturb, touch, feed or go too close to penguins, sea lions and seals. Keep dogs away as they can harm wildlife and prevent them from breeding.

Sea lions and other seals: New Zealand sea lions are rare and endangered, please view from a safe distance of at least 20m and do not disturb them. If you must pass them on the beach, keep as much distance as possible and do not loiter. They can move quickly, so back off if they react and do not block their path to water. They can bite!

Penguins: Yellow-eyed penguins are endangered and rare. Stay at least 50m away from yellow-eyed penguins as they are shy and easily stressed. Ensure penguins can’t see you. Don’t block penguins’ entry and exit from the water and never approach a nest. No flash photography or dogs.

Red-billed gulls. Do not feed or chase the seagulls as they are endangered and human food can kill them.

Drones: Use of drones is prohibited in many sensitive areas and can require a permit elsewhere. The important wildlife site of Taiaroa Head/Pukekura has a permanent restricted airspace. Any DOC reserve requires a permit, and it is an offence to fly drones within 150m of marine mammals (or 300m vertically above). For more information check the Dunedin City Council or DOC website.

Freedom Camping: There are designated freedom camping sites and holiday parks in Dunedin, please use them as $200 fines will apply for illegal camping.

Public amenities: Please keep Dunedin beautiful and clean by using public toilets and rubbish bins where provided or taking your refuse with you.  Smoking and fires are not advisable and often banned under seasonal restrictions.

Walking Tracks: Stay on the marked track as many cross private land. Keep yourself safe, within barriers and avoid damage to plants and breeding wildlife. Leave sheep alone.

Please report any sick or injured wildlife by calling: 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468)

Poaching is illegal, please report marine poaching by calling:  0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224)

Thank you for helping us to look after our precious wildlife.

Leave nothing but footprints…..take nothing but memories.

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Qualmark Endorsed Visitor Activity
New Zealand Gardens Trust
Landmarks New Zealand
TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Winner 2015
TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice 2017
TripAdvisor Hall of Fame Award

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