The Award winning Larnach Castle Gardens

Visit the Gardens

A New Zealand Garden, rated a Garden of International Significance

"In 1967 we purchased Larnach Castle and its 35 acres of grounds in order to ensure their survival.  Enveloping second growth in the abandoned garden came right up to the Castle walls.  Clearing and felling opened wonderful vistas, and today, our 'new' garden continues to be developed within the original framework of paths, hedges and trees.  Spring brings jewel-like flowers to the rock garden and splendid displays of rhododendrons and azaleas.  Herbaceous plantings peak in summer, followed by Scottish Heathers in autumn.  Special collections of Southern Hemisphere plants grow in size and diversity in our South Seas Garden."

From Margaret Barker's book, "My Home, My Castle"

The gardens at Larnach Castle have been rated by the New Zealand Gardens Trust as a Garden of International Significance.  Today, the Castle is surrounded by 7 acres of maintained Gardens. The gardens are Margaret Barker's personal creation - not only is she a restorer of historic buildings, but also a passionate gardener.

Margaret has been a Guest Speaker and Judge at the New Zealand Ellerslie Flower Show, is well-respected as a garden star throughout New Zealand and has recently written a book about her garden.

There is always something to see in the gardens at Larnach Castle. This is more than just a Garden of International Significance; it is a unique collection of specialised gardens.  For instance, there is a Patterned Garden, the Lost Rock Garden, the Serpentine Walk, the Rain Forest, the South Seas Garden, the Alice Lawn, and the Laburnum Arch and Green Room.

To assist in exploring the gardens, a colour map is provided, with features to be found including the Wishing Well, the Dungeon, a Methane Gas Generation Plant and a challenge to find the Oamaru Stone Cheshire Cat!

For those interested in our extensive collection of New Zealand native plants, we have a Native Plant Trail brochure that leads visitors around the gardens on a journey of discovery, identifying our native flora.

Children take their own enjoyment out of the map and brochure, treating them like a treasure hunt.

Illustrated Presentations by Margaret Barker or Norcombe Barker

Margaret and her late husband, Barry Barker, purchased Larnach Castle in 1967. At that time it was empty, derelict in overgrown grounds. Margaret, as her life's work, with her family and many staff over the years, have re created Larnach Castle to become the show place it is today.

Margaret's additional passion was to create a beautiful garden on this stunning and historical site. The garden is now recognized by NZGT as a Garden of International Significance. 
Margaret, an experienced speaker both in New Zealand and overseas, is delighted to give illustrated presentations on the following topics.

1) Larnach Castle. Its Life and Times

The life of William Larnach, builder of Larnach Castle, from his birth in Australia to his death in New Zealand's House of Representatives. A story of triumph and tragedy. Larnach Castle has been a part of many people's lives for more than 140 years. This presentation illustrates the history of the Castle from its very beginnings to the present day, a tapestry of the Castle's life, times and people.

2) The Garden at Larnach Castle

The creation of the garden at Larnach Castle on its splendid site over a period of forty five years. The concepts, landscaping, design and plantings are elucidated with stunning photography. This talk is interwoven with the life, travels and influences of Margaret, its creator, and her family and staff involved in its evolution.

3) Plants of the Southern Hemisphere

A joy for the plant lover, this talk illustrates southern hemisphere plants Margaret has photographed mainly growing in the wild. These have been seen in her travels to Australia, New Caledonia, around New Zealand, Lord Howe Island, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and the Sub Antarctic islands. This presentation includes photographs of new World design in South America.

Qualmark Endorsed Visitor Activity
New Zealand Gardens Trust
Landmarks New Zealand
Tiaki - Care for New Zealand
TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice 2017
TripAdvisor Hall of Fame Award

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