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Published: December 26th 2007
The Otago Museum in Dunedin has recently opened their new "Tropical World" butterfly house, so Robyn and I took a quick overnight trip down there to check it out. We did a few things that we also did last December when in Dunedin (the albatross colony, the aquarium, yellow-eyed penguins, things like that) so I won't repeat them here but there are photos to follow. What I will cover is the Tropical World, the Cadbury chocolate factory and Landon Creek Bird Sanctuary, but mostly this blog entry is just an excuse to put on a bunch of photos...
The Tropical World is a three-story conservatory inside the museum. The museum itself is free entry but the Tropical World costs $9.50 because its not subsidised by the Council. Eighty percent of the museum's visitors are locals so they're trying to keep the entry to the butterfly house low to encourage return visits. There are 1000 butterflies and moths of 60 species, almost all imported as chrysalises from the Philippines and Costa Rica. There are also some tarantulas and such but the butterflies are obviously the main drawcard. Well worth a visit. The museum of course is also fantastic (the best museum
in the country!).
The Cadbury chocolate factory tour, on the other hand, is decidedly lame. Its not too expensive ($16) so one shouldn't really complain, but you don't actually get to see anything much apart for silos and vats and corridors. There are a few interesting bits and pieces, like learning that scorched almonds take a week to make because they have so many layers of chocolate on them, but mostly its pretty boring. There is also a chocolate waterfall which is quite neat, even if nothing like Willy Wonka's one. Best bit was probably the warehouse where all the crates of chocolate are stored, and that was only because it allowed me to make a terribly witty comparison with the warehouse in the end-scene of "Raiders of the Lost Ark". The shop at the end, in which we expected to find chocolate at wholesale prices, instead had them at standard retail prices. What a jip.
Landon Creek Bird Sanctuary was also a disappointment. Its just north of Oamaru and we've never had time to stop in there before, but this time we made an effort. Once again, not expensive ($10) but not really worth it either. Landon
Creek is someone's collection of aviaries that they've decided to open to the public to offset costs. It started well with a friendly tongue-clicking African grey parrot in a cage at the entrance, and continued in an alright fashion through a reptile/aquarium section, but then the aviaries let it all down. They advertise themselves as having 144 aviaries, which is probably true -- its just that half of them are empty! The first lot were all very dirty and unkempt. The second lot looked much newer but were all of the barren-breeding-cage-type with nothing to keep the birds inside them interested. Many of them didn't even have perches and the parrots were just clinging to the wire walls. Terrified pairs of greenfinches were cohabiting with macaws and cockatoos. Not a good place.
Anyway, here are photos...
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