Inaccessible Cargills Castle promoted overseas

Ceidrik Heward
Ceidrik Heward
An Auckland-based writer is promoting Cargills Castle, in Dunedin, in tourist magazines around the world, despite the fact that it is not on the city's tourist map or even accessible to the public.

Former Dunedin television cameraman turned freelance writer, Ceidrik Heward regards the derelict "castle", on the cliffs above St Clair, as one of the city's "most fascinating" features and he makes no apology for promoting it to inter-national tourists as "New Zealand's most romantic ruin".

"I think it's unique in New Zealand. It's just got a magic about the place. There are not that many ruins in New Zealand."

"The other thing about it is that everyone I mention Cargill's Castle to has had some sort of experience there . . . it seems to run deep into the whole fabric of Dunedin."

Mr Heward's article on the castle features in the latest issue of the Virgin Blue airline's in-flight Voyeur magazine and Dubai's Gulf News ran a full-page spread late last year which promoted the castle as a "melancholy" ruin.

"The decaying shell of this once-magnificent mansion is staking its place as a unique attraction in a country lacking any notable ruins, let alone dramatic, moody ones," Mr Heward wrote.

The chairman of the trust that bought the building about 10 years ago, Steven de Graff, says the trust does not have Dunedin City Council approval for tourists or the Dunedin public to enter the property and public use of the access road remains unresolved.

Mr de Graff says he is forced to turn down the many requests he gets to use the castle for such things as wedding photographs and fashion shoots.

The trust is still working on the access issues.

"Certainly, in the next couple of years, we'd like to think something would be happening there.

"I've been thinking it will be next year or next week for about the last 10 years."

He has no problem, however, with the castle being promoted internationally even if all tourists can do is view it from a distance.

"It's another wee story of Dunedin and if that gets people coming here, that's fine . . . as far as promoting Dunedin's heritage, I think it's fantastic."

Tourism Dunedin's website, which features 25 city attractions, appears to have no mention of Cargills Castle.



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