Two of New Zealand’s most iconic brands have come together to create Auckland’s newest visitor attraction. The Chelsea Bay Visitor and Food Education Centre will be open to the public for the first time this Saturday. Located at the beautiful harbourside Chelsea Sugar Factory in Birkenhead on Auckland’s North Shore the centre encourages New Zealander’s and overseas visitors to rediscover the joy of baking, learn more about where their food comes from, and take a step back in time to experience the 134-year history of Chelsea Sugar’s heritage site.

The new visitor centre will include:

Chelsea Sugar Factory Tours –travel by train to see first-hand how different Chelsea products are made on the weekday tours while the factory is fully operational.

Sugar at Chelsea Bay Bakery and Eatery – enjoy a coffee, brunch or glass of wine while taking in views of the Waitemata Harbour. Operated by successful restaurateurs Fran Mazza and Aaron Carson.

Interactive Education Zone – explore the history of Chelsea and Edmonds in a state-of-the-art interactive education zone and take a digital baking journey with iconic cook Annabelle White.

Edmonds Baking School – learn how to bake in a custom-made kitchen. A schools programme is currently offered, with adult evening and weekend classes to begin soon.

Visitors will also be able to visit the centre and walk the grounds with their furry friends as the kids play on the new playground.

Iconic Kiwi cook Annabelle White is thrilled to be involved in a project that reminds Kiwis young and old of the joy of baking. “Baking was once at the heart of New Zealand’s early tradition of hospitality – visitors expected to be fed and we had lots of flour, dairy and some sugar to do that, and plenty of innovative home bakers too. These days, busier timetables and convenience foods have meant baking is somewhat of a lost art. Chelsea Bay hopes to reverse that by encouraging Kiwis to take time out to bake with loved ones and share it with friends and colleagues, and I hope it will inspire the next generation of young Kiwi bakers.”

Bernard Duignan, General Manager NZ Sugar estimates that more than 60,000 people will visit Chelsea Bay over the next 12 months.

“Chelsea Bay is the culmination of more than ten years of planning and development, and we’re very excited to finally be able to open our doors to the public. We recognise that as the only sugar manufacturer in New Zealand, we are in a unique position to be able to show people what’s involved in the production of our ingredients, and also celebrate the tradition of baking that has helped define us as New Zealanders.”

"Whether it’s entertainment, education, or simply a spot to relax and take in the beautiful surrounds of the Waitemata, Chelsea Bay has something for everyone – from families looking to entertain the kids on the weekend to cruise ship tourists wanting to learn something unique about our city. We can’t wait to welcome the world to Chelsea Bay.”