You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
A smartphone application launched at the castle this week allows it to be experienced as the bustling stately residence it was a century ago.
Seven period scenes, showing how the rooms were used a century ago, were filmed around the castle in April for the virtual reality tour. The app was introduced at the castle last week, after more than a year of development by Dunedin companies Animation Research and the Video Factory.
''We had been looking for years for something to improve interpretation. But it is such a hard thing to do well,'' Larnach Castle director Norcombe Barker said this week.
''We wanted something that would really add value and depth to the experience and not just repeat what's already here. We've only had it in operation for a week, but it's already been very popular.''
''We chose Chinese because we get a lot of visitors from that region.
''But the app is very flexible. You can add videos, change the tour or add different languages very easily.''
The 40 iPod and headphone units available for castle visitors represented a significant investment, he said.
''It cost six figures. It certainly wasn't cheap and, as far as we know, we're the first historic home in New Zealand to do it. But, in five or 10 years, this will be the norm.''
The audio visual tour units can be hired at the castle for $5, or downloaded on to smartphones before arrival, for $4.50.