As we tucked into bed in the campervan all thoughts were on tomorrow’s journey. We would be taking the Heritage Highway all the way up to Launceston in the North-West of Tasmania – cutting right through the heartland of the country and taking in all the amazing scenery.
However, as John dozed off, all he could think of was their first stop in the morning – the Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory in nearby Claremont…
It was a crisp and dry morning when we parked the van in the car park and walked over to the entrance. As we were walking amongst the crowds we were caught up in a carnival atmosphere as there was a full brass band, all dressed in purple and gold marching outfits and they were playing uplifting music for characters dressed as Fredo Frog and Caramello Koala who were giving out free chocolate! There was also the Caramel Bunny fluttering her smoky eyes at whomever was nearest and calling them all “Postie”!
Suddenly and without notice the music abruptly stopped and someone dressed as Mr. Cadbury’s Parrot beat a large gong. At this cue the main doors swung open and emerging through the smoke that escaped the factory was a single solitary man – dressed like a mixture of Philleas Fogg and Willy Wonka complete with walking cane and top hat. As he gingerly made his way towards us – using his cane for support – there was the inevitability of him falling. When this happened we all reactively reached forward but none were near him and he fell down.
Amazingly he totally recovered in mid descent and turned this into a forward roll which he followed up with a grandstand of a finish. At this magical moment everybody erupted in cheer. What followed can only be described as a cacophony of noise and a kaleidoscope of colour as Mr.Cadbury joined in with the revelry as he led the party indoors.
As John entered the great factory someone dressed in an outlandishly large Creme Egg costume blocked his way and was bold enough to push him back whilst, to our author’s surprise, say ‘John…John’ repeatedly in an ever increasing volume.
As quick as a switch John found himself being shaken by Karen, in the campervan!
It had all been a crazy dream!
No pressure then for the real thing this morning!
It was a crisp and dry morning when we parked the van in the car park and walked over to the entrance. There were a few people milling about the entrance and we joined them in silence as we walked past large cardboard cutouts of all the Cadbury’s Characters, mainly Fredo the Frog and Caramello Koala. The entrance to the factory was quite small – no larger than that of a post office – and not the grand doorways that John was expecting.
Instead of a warm greeting we were quickly told that it was $4 and NO we would not be allowed onto the factory floor – only the Visitor Centre. Caveat Emptor indeed! We paid our gold coins to enter and were each given a small purple paper bag with some chocolate – $4 worth of chocolate. See what they did there?
The Visitor Centre was small and filled with various items from Cadbury’s past including some of the mould panels used to make the iconic bars and easter eggs. On the hour there was a demonstration and video about chocolate making in general and the factory itself in particular. The only thing remotely entertaining about this charade was the ladies pronunciation of the word ‘Beans’.
But there is on more part of the Visitor Centre – and it is obvious that this is the main draw from the size it occupies – the chocolate shop. Packed full of cardboard boxes and haphazardly stocked shelves, this Aldi looking environment was full of discounted chocolate and one of the biggest Chomp Bars I have ever seen. Seriously check out the photo below.
All in all it was an interesting stop but luckily for us we didn’t clear a day in our diaries for it!