A sand-dune sized sugar mountain so enormous the air tastes sweet, really has to be seen to be believed. And now it can be.
Chelsea Bay at the Chelsea Sugar Factory in Birkenhead opens its doors to the public today for the first time in decades.
In a joint venture with fellow baking brand Edmonds, Chelsea has a state of the art tourist centre.
There are Instagram-worthy dishes at Sugar Cafe, a sea-side children's playground, state of the art interactive zone, factory tours and of course 30,000 tonnes of sweet raw sugar.
In the 1980s thousands of Kiwi school kids made the trip out to the iconic pink building for social studies and economic projects.
But health and safety clampdowns of the early 1990s stopped the tours and since then the ebb and flow of the giant sugar mountain has only been enjoyed by a select few working in the factory.
The cafe and visitor centre open today and from Monday the tours will begin.
Members of the public can watch the giant digger pick up five tonnes of raw sugar from the 30,000 tonne mountain in each scoop.
NZ Sugar general manager Bernard Duignan said the $7 million venture was prompted by a proud Kiwi company wanting to show its customers the process involved in turning mountains of raw sugar into 140 Chelsea products.
"Baking is a huge part of Kiwi culture, it's a way of bringing people together and socialising," Duignan said.
"People also want to see where their food comes from and that's what the factory tours aim to do."
Duignan said the company was proud of its zero waste process which saw every element of the sugar used.
"We don't have any waste," Duignan said.
"Even left over molasses, which can't have anything else extracted from it, is used for stock feed."
When planning Chelsea Bay, Duignan said there was some debate on whether to include a cafe.
"We are really glad we did because the food at Sugar is just perfect. It is going to make it a real destination."
Sugar is operated by well-known restaurateurs Fran Mazza and Aaron Carson who have Auckland eateries Winona Forever, Friday I'm in Love and Hello Friends and Allies.
High tea and Devonshire tea are given a modern twist and French inspired Savory dishes are artfully designed using fresh New Zealand produce and edible flowers.
Fran Mazza said designing a menu with traditional Kiwi baking and French-inspired pastries was a treat.
A never-ending supply of Chelsea and Edmonds products also made cooking and baking easy.
"We loved putting everything together locally from the menu to getting local glass blower Luke Jacomb to make the light shades," Mazza said.
The tour, baking school and interactive zone have been open to some schools since June and have received rave reviews.
"The kids absolutely love everything from making their own chocolate chip cookies in the purpose built kitchen to going through the factory and tasting some of the products at the end."
A theme-park style train keeps visitors safe during the visit - as do bright pink vests and hardhats.
In the interactive zone a virtual lesson with well-known baker Annabelle White via touch screen captures the attention but so does the old Shacklock stove, enamel pots and collection of Edmonds cookery books throughout the decade.
"We have been able to have a lot of fun putting everything together because there is such a rich history to draw from," Brocklehurst said.
"We are pretty excited about what we have here."
The 180 degree view of the harbour, through mature pohutukawa, is just the icing on the cake.