Exploring Kawakawa (& New Zealand’s Famous Toilets!) – Day 343
Bay of Islands Vintage Railway, the Kawakawa Toilets & Makana Chocolate Factory!
Today we have an action-packed day planned in The Bay of Islands! If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand then jump on over to our epic YouTube Channel!
Today we are going to be visiting not only the North Island’s very first railway but also New Zealand’s most famous public toilets. Yes, I’m being serious.
Right after breakfast we head to the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway. And the railway line used to come down there. And it went down to Taumarunui where we go to at the moment. We’re rebuilding the longest curved railway bridge in the Southern Hemisphere.
The little Bay of Islands town of Kawakawa is famous for quite a few things but one of those things is the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway and the railway at Kawakawa was actually the first to be opened in the North Island and the first to run a rain passenger service in the North Island.
Although on a weekend you can usually do scenic rail journeys on actual steam trains we are here on a Wednesday so we’re going to be doing the next best thing which is checking out all the steam trains and carriages in the work yard.
One of the features that we’re checking out is the beautifully restored rail carriage with its wooden interior, it’s old vintage air conditioning system and colourful leather seats.
After checking out all the restored trains we head into the workshop itself to see where all the restoration happens. The goal of the people here at the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway is to restore as many of those old trains as possible.
All those old trains have been travelling around New Zealand in the 1900s and are a huge part of New Zealand’s heritage. It’s basically keeping history alive that’s their main goal.
And it’s really amazing to have Dennis showing us around. Not only is he telling us about each and every single one of the carriages but he actually has been working in the railway when it was operating, so we get first-hand accounts of what used to happen back in the days.
One of the main piece that we’re checking out on top of those amazing looking carriages and some of the ones that are currently being restored and look pristine and almost new, is the really old steam engine dating from 1927. Her name is Gabriel, because yes most of the steam engines used to have women’s names back in the day which is quite cool. I mean, not that I am a proponent of giving woman’s names to objects but I mean… I’m just getting… ohhhh…
We’re just gonna stop at the bathroom for a second. But why we are taking you guys to the bathroom you will see in a minute.
Yes, believe it or not, the next highlight of Kawakawa is the public toilets, otherwise known at the Hunderwasser Toilets named after the local architect who designed them. And if you want to learn more about these toilets cos I mean, who doesn’t? you can actually pick up little leaflets and there’s information signs telling the whole story of the artist who made them and all the amazing colours and ceramic and mosaic – it’s pretty awesome.
But after our pee break, we are back on the road on our way to Kerikeri where we’re stopping by Makana Confections which is a chocolate factory! If you guys remember back in Blenheim doing a wine tour in the Marlborough region, one of the stops we did was at the Makana chocolate factory there and when we saw there was another one in the Bay of Islands, we just could not resist! So we stop by to watch them make all these treats.
There are some chocolate sticks they are making. I can see some excess chocolate there and their not giving me any.
It is saw awesome to watch people make chocolate it just makes me so hungry there is something really soothing and relaxing in watching them make all those lines of amazing coffee sticks.
But it’s time for us to stuff ourselves.
Looks good! It’s seriously so much choice at Makana chocolate – I really don’t know what I wanna buy but I want something!
Do I need to get you this teddy? It would be very inaccurate.
Like every good chocolate factory there is some tastings we are trying the macadamia butter toffee crunch and the orange cream triple which is absolutely awesome.
But they also have their own cafe where they make in-house deserts and all sorts of amazing treats and obviously we can’t resist.
Laura wanted for the ice cream? What you want?
The macadamia butter crunch, please.
I just can’t stress enough how amazing Makana chocolate deserts look. It wets our appetite as soon as we just entered the cafe. It’s absolutely amazing so as soon as we get a table and we get served, we dive right in. Laura is getting an amazing ice cream and I’m getting a little treat and on top of that a massive hot chocolate.
Everything tastes absolutely fantastic the macadamia ice cream literally tastes like macadamia and my chocolate little treat which I don’t know what the hell that is, tastes absolutely amazing! I love everything about it and on top of that the really dark hot chocolate that I had with heaps of cream on top of it was so satisfying – it was pure heaven.
Tomorrow we are moving onto Paihia, where we’re gonna be starting some of the famous water activities of The Bay of Islands including dolphin swimming so join us tomorrow for that.