Dunedin - chocolate and beer!

Trip Start Nov 21, 2007
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Sunday, February 3, 2008

Well, we joined the Magicbus today. This is a great concept and makes navigating New Zealand much easier for us since we only have about 11 days on the south island. You basically get on a bus where they drop you off at the sights most people want to see, help with booking accomodation, and book side trips and tours. We got really lucky with our driver, Stu. He has been driving for Magic since 1998..yep, about ten years. So he knows his stuff. We have been big dorks and are sitting at the front of the bus to hear his thoughts.

Our day of travel was not that difficult because we had ice cream for breakfast and lunch! It was horribly sinful and wonderful. We got into Dunedin (Dun-ee-din) about 1:30 pm and had a busy day of VERY important tours...

CADBURY has a factory in Dunedin and we took a short tour that allowed us to better understand how chocolate is made and why Cadbury thinks it has the best chocolates in the world. We tasted the actual cocoa bean which was pretty bitter, but it was an interesting reminder that chocolate has played an important part of history and was even used as coins! We were entertained with a chocolate waterfall at the end of the tour and yes, we got great samples too! Couple of random facts that might make you sound smart at your next coctail party.
- With all the different varieties Cadbury offers, their original Dairy Milk Chocolate bar is still the favorite and best seller.
Cadbury gives a license to Hershey's to produce their crème eggs in the US for Easter.
New Zealand consumes about 10 million cadbury easter eggs every year! (there are only 4 million residents in the whole of NZ)
They bring in milk from 4200 cows daily to make the chocolate
Cadbury in Dunedin employs between 300 and 650 employees each year, the number jumps to 650 for the 6 months prior to Easter. After Easter they drop back down in the 300's.

SPEIGHT'S BREWERY - Dunedin is a university town. The University of Otago is New Zealand's oldest university. So, you can imagine that beer is an important industry, it was funny... when school is in session they brew 5 days a week and when it's not only 4 days a week. This brewery has been around since 1876, and we think the best beer we've tried in NZ. Our guide kept us moving and he spoke extremely fast too. You will see some of the pics have him blurred. It seems you could not get him to stand still! There tour gave a great history of beer making, and they gave a great history of how Speights has made beer over the last 100+ years. We saw the world "skal" on a pamplet and did not know what it meant...come to find out, back in the day, some of the vikings would bring back people's actual skulls and drink their first drink out of their skulls for good luck, YUCK! We probably could have gone without knowing that, but I guess you learn the good and the bad! The tour ended with a 30 minute free for all. You could pull your own beer as much and as often as you liked. They had 6 different types for us to try and our favs were the Pale Ale and the Golden Ale (their most popular beer). They also had another one that was apricot flavored too which was nice. While we were there, we met a guy from London, Ontario. Aaron was on a 5 day holiday in Dunedin. He is working in Queenstown until May. We ended up hanging out with him all evening at the Speights Ale House, drank some tanker beer (the brewery tour educated us on canned vs. bottled vs. keg vs. tanker beer, tanker beer is the freshest and best) and had a really fun time. Oh! We can't forget the free water. Speight's sits on an "endless" water supply. So, they allow people to fill up their water containers just outside the brewery 24 hours a day for FREE. The guide even told a story about people in RVs or campers that will pull up at night and fill up their entire container!
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