Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Festival

Chocolate!! Every woman’s (and men’s) best friend. One of the best parts of living in Dunedin is sharing a city with the Cadbury chocolate factory, which means every city sponsored event has chocolate!

Of course, what would the city of chocolate be without a full on chocolate festival? From opening ceremonies and the chocolate games, to cooking demonstrations, to a scavenger hunt, and the epic annual Jaffa race.

Opening day fireworks
Opening day fireworks

There were a number of activities that Andrew and I didn’t have a chance to take part in during the last festival, so hopefully we can hit up some different events in the following year. What we did get a chance to participate in was excellently executed.

Free samples at the cooking class.
Free samples at the cooking class.

We started with the opening ceremonies, which included a variety of sports and games. It was aimed mostly at families and children, but they had no problems with a couple of big kids taking part as well. There were small chocolate rewards for successful completion of each skill and then a chocolate medal and chocolate bar for completion of a majority of the activities prior to the fireworks. Overall a very fun evening!

Chocolate medal and chocolate bar from the opening games
Chocolate medal and chocolate bar from the opening games

We then took part in a chocolate scavenger hunt which sent us all over the downtown core of Dunedin trying to find answers to all the different clues. Things like “When was the Settler’s Museum opened” and such. Upon completion of the scavenger hunt we were rewarded with another bar of chocolate as well as entered into a draw to win a $300 chocolate basket. Lots of chocolate this week!

Jaffa Wall at the Museum
Jaffa Wall at the Museum

We also went to a cooking class and watched the demonstrations of how to make two absolutely delicious desserts. The classes were exceptionally entertaining and informative, although I haven’t had the equipment (i.e. a mixer) to actually attempt the recipes. Send me an email at elizabeth@adventureisthere.com if you want the recipes!

Cooking Class with Mr. Gilbert
Cooking Class with Mr. Gilbert

The final part of the Cadbury Festival was the Jaffa race. A Jaffa is a ball of chocolate coated in an orange flavoured hard candy coating. usually they are fairly small, but the ones for the Jaffa race were larger.

Finish line of the Jaffa Race
Finish line of the Jaffa Race

The Jaffa race also takes place at Baldwin Street, marketed as the steepest residential street in the world. Oh, and did I mention that they release around 25,000 of these balls at a time?

Wall of Giant Jaffa Balls down Baldwin Street
Wall of Giant Jaffa Balls down Baldwin Street

It is done for charity, with each ball bearing a number that matches a raffle ticket. It was quite fun to watch! It was also like a giant street party with a DJ, dancers, and the race itself.

Giant Jaffa Balls
Giant Jaffa Balls

I’m excited to see what this year’s festival will hold!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Dunedin!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Dunedin, New Zealand!

20170215_180209

I am just getting over a ridiculous cold, but Andrew and I had a fantastic Valentine’s day together. Really in a good relationship every day should be Valentine’s day, but we enjoy taking a special day to thoroughly spoil each other nonetheless.

Unfortunately we both worked for Valentine’s day itself; I worked 9:30am-7pm and Andrew worked 12pm-11pm. Not much time together! We opted to celebrate ourselves the day after.

20170215_183427

I surprised Andrew with a hunt for chocolate kisses and a chocolate flower bouquet before breakfast. He surprised me with cough syrup, cough drops, and new slippers beside the bed.  He then kindly drove me to work and went to run errands so that we could enjoy the rest of our day together.

When I got off work at 2pm, he picked me up and we went to visit our new kittens! They are still too little to bring home, but we try to visit them as often as we can so that they are well socialized.

20170215_142813

After some kitten cuddles, Andrew took me to St. Clair beach, where he pulled out a fantastic picnic. We had a lovely picnic by the beach with fresh cooked chicken, spinach and strawberry salad, and watermelon. I wasn’t feeling up to going surfing, but he put the surfboards and our swimsuits in the van just in case.

We stopped by the pet store to pick up kitten name-tags (you were right, Jenn…they kept their names). Then we went home where Andrew had left me a surprise! He had scattered cadbury roses everywhere so that I had a chocolate hunt. He had also left a heart of chocolate roses on the bed for me along with some fuzzy socks.

20170215_183250

I had drawn him a turtle picture and gotten him an actual chef’s shirt, which should make his job more pleasant. He had also asked for a Mars bar and a Dr. Pepper. Unfortunately I couldn’t find him a Dr. Pepper, but he got 9 Mars bars!

We then spent the evening cuddling and watching Mrs. Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children. An odd, may I say peculiar, movie, but quite enjoyable!

20170215_212035

It was a fantastic day. Hopefully we will get back to doing more touristy things once I rid myself of this dratted cold!

Gear Review: Scrubba Washing Bag

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a gear review, but Andrew and I have continued to travel and test out different gear to make our lives easier. We recently tried out the Scrubba wash bag, which is a great addition to any traveller’s bag.

Check out my previous gear reviews here!

Icebreaker

Exofficio

What is Scrubba?

Scrubba is essentially a glorified dry bag that has small plastic knobs inside that function as a small washboard. You can use it to store dirty laundry and, when you have enough laundry, you can use it to wash your laundry.

Scrubba Wash Bag
Scrubba Wash Bag

Andrew and I were fortunate enough to get these as a gift a while back to help us keep up with the laundry in our campervan. There is nothing worse than running out of clean clothing while travelling!

We have used it a few times to test it out and it will definitely be coming on our future travels! Particularly if we are backpacking.

How well does it work?

While their website obviously makes grandiose claims about washing jeans, t-shirts, etc. the Scrubba doesn’t seem like it would work exceptionally well for larger loads or heavy items. The lining seems quite delicate so I would be cautious about washing things with buckles, zippers, or items with any sharp-ish edges.

The Scrubba does seem like it would be excellent for keeping a small load of socks, undergarments, or light t-shirts clean while hiking or backpacking for a long period of time. It takes a very small amount of water (i.e. from a nearby creek) and an exceptionally small amount of soap to wash a load.

It was certainly a lot handier than waiting until we could find a clean hotel sink or hoping that we could get the camper’s kitchen sink clean enough to wash the laundry.

Here is a video that Scrubba has on their website describing the bags.

Getting Things Clean and Dry

The standard Scrubba will hold about a week’s worth of undergarments and socks, 3 t-shirts or 1 pair of pants. It takes about 500mL of water for most loads, and about a teaspoon of soap to get the items fairly clean.

Put everything in the bag and squeeze the air out. Scrub the stuff around for a few minutes, maybe as much as 5-10 minutes for particularly soiled items. Empty the water out somewhere safe for grey water (i.e. away from water sources), then refill with fresh water to rinse the clothes. Repeat the scrubbing, empty the water, and squeeze out the clothing items.

If you want the clothes to be dry quicker, try rolling them in a clean and dry towel to remove most of the water. This method will get many clothes to dry overnight.

Overall, the Scrubba seems to be a great product, although slightly over-hyped for the amount of washing it will do. It certainly won’t replace your washing machine, but it is quite sufficient for keeping things fresh while travelling! Especially with the ever-increasing restrictions on airline luggage, it could help make room for a few extra souvenirs!

The Otago Peninsula 3: Blue Penguins!

Following a fantastic dinner, the final part of our tour on the Otago Peninsula was to wait until dusk to see the little blue penguins.

Our dinner consisted of a somewhat traditional Maori Hangi – traditional meal, but cooked using a steam cooker instead of buried in the ground. The lamb and chicken were really tender and delicious and the assorted root vegetables were quite flavourful.

Sunset over the Harbour while waiting for penguins
Sunset over the Harbour while waiting for penguins

We had a little while to wait until the penguin’s arrived, so we wandered around the gift shop, chatted with our fellow tour guests, grabbed a hot chocolate, and relaxed.

Around 9pm the guides gathered us and the larger group of tourists who had arrived just for the penguin tour for a brief talk about history and safety. They had issued each guest a glow in the dark armband, which they checked before allowing us through the gate that led down to the beach.

The pathway was lit just well enough to see, but was dim enough not to disturb night vision or wandering penguins.

Watching the Fur Seals
Watching the Fur Seals

The Penguins

The blue penguins are the smallest penguins in the world.  They stand just over 25 centimeters tall and weigh around about 1 kilogram.

They leave shore at dawn and spend their days at sea fishing. Most of their diet consists of small fish, crustaceans, and squid. They will travel up to 25 kilometers offshore and 70 kilometers from the colony in their quest for food.

Penguins Incoming!!
Penguins Incoming!!

They then come back to shore at dusk in what is called a ‘penguin raft’. It is basically a large group of penguins who all approach the shore at once to help protect themselves from predators.

The Tour

Watching the penguins come ashore.
Watching the penguins come ashore.

It was kinda funny waiting for the penguins to arrive. 150 people or so just staring into the ocean, watching for a quickly approaching black smudge. We did eventually spot them just off the coast. There was suddenly a black smudge, then a wave broke on the shore, and then there were suddenly 50 little tiny penguins standing on the rocks, shaking themselves off! It was quite cute actually.

Unlike in Oamaru, you are permitted to take pictures of the penguin, provided that you don’t use flash and there are no lights on the front of the camera. The guides are quite adamant on this and will actually ask people to leave if they don’t comply.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The viewing platform is actually built directly on top of the penguin hide, so the penguins come right up to the platform before disappearing underneath it. It gets quite noisy when the penguins come home!

They were really cute to watch, although the platform was quite busy and getting a good spot to watch them was occasionally difficult. It was still a great end to an enjoyable evening though!