Read about Auckland for Kids visit to Chelsea Sugar Factory in Birkenhead on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand. We loved the food at their cafe Sugar, and the playground is fun on a sunny day with stunning views of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The Edmonds Baking School has classes that you can book to attend, including ones for the kids in the school holidays. We didn’t plan ahead on our 2 visits so still haven’t gone on the sugar factory tour yet, but it is on our list to do!
Sugar bakery and eatery at Chelsea Bay has delicious food like burgers, french toast, egg dishes and of course you can’t go past their baking which had slices, tarts, cakes, doughnuts and more that was all made freshly on site. For the kids there is also a small menu which has things like french toast, scrambled eggs on toast and sausage with chips. My favourite thing was their giant lamington, but I had to recruit some help to finish it as it was so large!
Right outside the cafe is a partially fenced playground for kids to play on. The playground has a basket swing, little hut, slide, small rock climbing walk and sea saw. You can watch the kids from most seats in the cafe while they play outside, however as it only partially fenced for little ones you will still need to keep a close eye on them. There are some picnic tables that are close to the playground if you want to sit outside.
You can book in for a tour to teach you about Chelsea’s history and see how raw sugar makes it way through the factory and in to your own pantry. You will get to do some taste tests of their custom made syrups which I think would taste amazing. The tours are one hour long and require a lot of walking so good mobility is required. You will need to wear something that covers your arms, legs and you must have closed toed shoes, unless you choose to go on their mini tour which is only 15 minutes long. The minimum age for the tour is 5 years old and children must be accompanied by adults as this is a working factory. Bookings are recommended, especially in the school holidays as these are often sold out.
Chelsea and Edmonds have come together to creat the Edmonds Baking School which is next to the Sugar cafe at the front of the factory. There are classes for children aged 8 years plus, teens and adults. As the classes are not always on each day, we recommend you check their baking classes availability on their website and book ahead. They also do birthday parties with a 2 hour cupcake and buttercream class for kids aged 8 years plus.
I liked the free Chelsea Bay Interactive Zone as I got to play a virtual baking game and make virtual cookies and a virtual cake, learning step by step. You get to find the ingredients, measure them to the right amount, mix them, bake them and ice them. Around the walls of the room are exhibits explaining the milling process of Chelsea sugar and history about the Chelsea company and baking in New Zealand.
Chelsea Sugar Factory is located at 100 Colonial Road in the large 39 hectare Chelsea Estate Heritage Park in Birkenhead on the North Shore of Auckland. There are lots of walking tracks around the park that wind through the bush valley and water. You can see tanekaha, kauri, manuka, kowhai, pohutukawa, relic hard beech and kanuka trees. There are lots of birds including mallard ducks, shags, swans, tui, kereru, kingfishers and more. Dogs need to be kept on a lead.
Opening hours may change due to the impact of Omicron so please check on Chelsea Bay’s website for any changes that may impact your visit before you go with your family.
Currently Sugar Cafe is only serving cabinet food and drinks on Mondays and Tuesdays but has a full kitchen plus cabinet food and drinks from Wednesdays to Sundays.
The Edmonds Baking School, Factory Tours and Interactive Zone are currently closed.