Dunedin (the home of Cadbury) during the Cadbury chocolate festival is the ultimate family destination for a winter holiday. Be it part of a full South Island tour or just to discover what Dunedin has to offer I can vouch for Dunedin being a great place to go on holiday with your little one(s). This year I was priviliged to go with my 5 year old daughter Ella to get a real taste for the Carnival, witness the launch of Cadbury's new song (see my blog for details), watch the famous Jaffa race and the local tourist attractions Dunedin has to offer.
I must be honest and say that I've never thought of making the trip to Dunedin for a family holiday, but now I have been with one of my three children, I'm keen to come again and show the whole family what a lovely destination it is and I know we will not be short of things to do and I'll make sure it's during the festival time!
The Cadbury Chocolate festival runs each year over the month of July and from what I saw really brings the community and tourists together in enjoy a fabulous choc filled month. It seemed where ever we went we were not far from a store or attraction that had bite sized packs of Cadbury chocolate to fuel our touring around the region.
The festival really had everything from a chocolate house to chocolate sculpting, chocolate facials, a chocolate dessert competition, chocolate decorating, chocolate painting through to the brand new Chocolate Fun Day, where the public had the opportunity to participate in a broad range of chocolate themed activities.
Cadbury Jaffa Race and World's Steepest Street Party
This year was the 10th year for the "running of the Jaffas". The famous Cadbury Jaffa Race held down the world's steepest street, Baldwin Street, Dunedin. There were two sets of up to 25,000 Cadbury Jaffas that were raced separately down Baldwin Street - the winning Jaffa 'owner' in each race won a prize - and each jaffa 'owner' paid $1 for their individually numbered Jaffa, all proceeds of which went to this year's key charity partners Parents Centre NZ Inc and Cure Kids. People waiting for the big jaffa race were able to enjoy loads of entertainment, street performers and food stalls at the steepest street party in the world.
It's funny how I have seen the street a number of times on television, but it's not until you see it in person that you really get the perspective of just how steep the street is.
Ella held up well for the first race of 25,000 jaffa's racing down the hill, but won't you don't think of is the fact that between the two races there is a big clean up - thus allowing the second lot of jaffa's a fair and obstacle free race. So we waited again for the street to be cleared before the second lot of purple Jaffa's were sent on their merry way. Children watching were encouraged not to eat the leftover jaffa's on the road and Cadbury happily handed out small plastic bags filled with Jaffa's to help them resist the temptation.
Share the JOY
While waiting for the jaffa race to begin at 12.30 we were priviliged to be at the world wide launch of the song "Joy" Cadbury had produced as a result of recording the sounds of Joy across New Zealand over summer last year - and compile them with Grammy Winner Bobby McFerrin into a lovely song - you can download free here: www.sharethejoy.co.nz
Cadbury Chocolate Fun Day!
Golden Centre, Meridian Mall and Wall Street was bursting with chocolate activities and surprises, family fun and entertainment to celebrate the opening of the Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival.
Ella was awe struck by the Chocolate House in the Golden Centre mall and we were fortunate to have watched UK based food artist Prudence Staite will be moulding and creating chocolate sculptures at Meridian Mall.
Otago Museum - butterfly enclosure
Here is a shot of Ella at the Otago Museum butterfly enclosure indulging in yet some more Chocolate - this time with a healthy 'slant' FRUIT! a fondue and 'fun-do' with the butterflies before having a great time in the kids fun zone with alll sorts of science fun and experiments - the highlight for me being the electromagnetic 'mind' machine - that allowed you to move a ball across a table by using your mind! You'll have to visit to know what I mean :) he he!
Larnach Castle was a real highlight of my trip. It was such an eary place but with such magnificent beauty, the gardens were stunning and the views just amazing (see image below) and the thought and care in the gardens, the buildings restoration and it's history really captured my imagination and attention.
The ballroom made as a birthday gift for the daughter of the late owner William Larnach. The Castle has had many uses, as a lunatic asylum, a hospital for shell-shocked soldiers, a nuns retreat and the Ballroom was once even used as a sheep holding pen! In 1967 Margaret and Barry Barker purchased Larnach Castle in a dreadful state the Castle was empty of furniture, leaking like a sieve, in a terrible state of disrepair and the grounds were overgrown.
A significant amount of time, effort, and research has been undertaken to restore the Castle to the original exacting standards of Larnach's time, the garden and grounds have been Margaret Barker's creation. What a stunning creation it is - complete with it's own "Alice in Wonderland" inspired story and sculptures around the grounds for the Castles very own Alice in Larnach Castle story. We took this story home and I read it to Ella at bedtime and we could picture every part of the garden that is described in the story - a great idea that really engaged her imagination and our memories of the Castle.
We had such a fabulous time in Dunedin and were never short of an activity to do, a place to visit or it's own natural beauty to enjoy! See you soon again Dunedin - with the rest of our family!