Halloween in New Zealand – Haunted Hotels in NZ

New Zealand may be the youngest country on earth but it has its share of haunts. A hilltop castle is just one of the places that spirits are said to frequent.

For a supernatural experience at Halloween, visitors to New Zealand may like to seek out some of the country’s haunted hotels. Buildings with eerie associations can be found in both the North and South Islands.

Larnarch Castle, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

When gold was discovered in New Zealand during the 1860s, James Larnarch, an Australian of Scottish descent assumed the position of manager of the Bank of Otago. Larnarch’s life was punctuated by tragedy. Upon the death of his first wife at age 38, Larnarch married her half-sister who was also 38 when she died. He then married the much younger Constance de Bathe Brandon.

Larnarch’s favourite daughter Kate, died in her 20s and, in 1898, Larnarch took his own life in New Zealand’s parliament buildings. His son, Donald, also committed suicide.

Despite the misfortune that dogged him, Larnarch was a visionary man who created a splendid home for himself and his family. High on the hilltops overlooking panoramic views of Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula he constructed Larnarch Castle. After his death and as a result of multitudinous legal battles due to his dying intestate, Larnarch Castle fell into disrepair. In the ensuing years the building had various uses including housing an institution for the mentally ill, a hospital for shell-shocked soldiers and a nun’s retreat.

In the castle’s ballroom, built to celebrate young Kate’s 21st birthday, there have been reported sightings of a young woman in late Victorian dress. Her presence is recorded to have been felt in the ballroom and in her bedroom, and there have been other reports of apparitions, pushes, touches, cool spots, feelings of eeriness and other odd occurrences.

Owned by the Barker family since 1967, Larnarch Castle is now a well-restored blend of Scottish-baronial and Gothic revival-style architecture. The Castle offers a range of accommodation and dining options and magnificent 14-acre gardens. Some of the annual events held at the Castle are balls, garden parties and celebrations of food and wine. Larnarch Caste, 145 Camp Road, Otago Peninsula, NZ. Ph: +64 3 476 1616; larnarch@larnarchcastle.co.nz; www.larnarchcastle.co.nz.

Granity Tavern, Granity, West Coast, New Zealand

Built during the late 1800s, Granity Tavern once provided accommodation for the men who toiled in the West Coast coalmines. In 1929 the building was ravaged by a devastating fire where six people perished in their rooms. People have said that at the doorway of Room 16, where a young man died, a glowing figure appears. Cold, unearthly sensations have also been reported by visitors. Granity Tavern, 91 Torea Street, Waimangaroa, West Coast, NZ. Ph: +64 3 782 8029.

Masonic Hotel, Napier New Zealand

Napier has been described as the ‘Art Deco Capital of the World’ and the Masonic Hotel is a fine example of Art Deco architecture. Built in the 1860s, the Masonic suffered from the effects of two earthquakes, the most devastating being the 1931 Napier Earthquake when the building was ravaged by fire. In the now disused staff quarters, a chef was reported to have died in his bath. There have been other deaths both natural and unnatural in the century-and-a-half since Napier’s largest original Art Deco hotel was first built. Visitors and staff have reported mysterious music, strange lights, apparitions and cold spots. Experience the magic of Art Deco at the Masonic Hotel: 2 Tennyson St, Napier, NZ. Ph: +64 6 835 8689?; www.masonic.co.nz.

These are only some of the places ghostly encounters have been reported in New Zealand. People have recounted supernatural experiences at hospitals, railway platforms, cemeteries and other properties throughout New Zealand.