New Zealand (especially the South Island) isn’t exactly bursting with fun indoor activities. There are a few though, and Puzzling World in Wanaka is one of the best. It’s a very unique place, full of optical illusions, strange sculptures and the world’s first 3-D super maze.
The first thing you’ll notice about puzzling world, whether you stop there or not, is the interesting group of buildings outside. There’s the Leaning Tower of Wanaka and other off kilter structures – I’m sure a lot of people have seen it, having not heard of it before, and become intrigued enough to visit.
There’s a café inside with some small puzzles on the tables, and from there you’ll head into the illusion rooms. I won’t give any spoilers here but some of the highlights include the hologram artworks (one of them involves a joint smoking lion), a big room full of “following faces” and the “un-useless” inventions of Kenji Kawakami.
You’ll also walk through the trippy “Tilted Room” – Gia didn’t enjoy that one so much as she suffers from motion sickness! There are heaps of other little bits and pieces that’ll make you laugh or intrigue you – so many creative minds were at work here. Even the bathrooms are interesting. The one close to the café features a mural of a roman bathroom and the ones closer the illusion rooms feature trippy floors. Check them out whether you need to use them or not!
The Great Maze
I’m pretty sure I did this maze when I was a kid, but Gia and I decided to tackle it again on our recent trip to Wanaka. You have to locate and climb the four towers, which seems easy enough. Early on we saw a kid, probably around 6 years old, explaining to her family exactly how they were going to get to the next tower. She made it sound simple but I’m sure it wasn’t (or she may have just been a genius). It took us around 40 minutes to complete (it says it should take between 30 and 60 minutes) and it was a lot of fun. It’s interesting to do this kind of thing with the people you’re travelling with as you may see a different side to them. You can also do the harder challenge, which involves locating the towers in a particular order.
READ MORE: 18 Fun Things to Do in Wanaka
Puzzling World is a great value attraction that is suitable for the whole family (but it’s certainly not just for people with kids). It’ll cost you around $22 to do the illusion rooms and maze, or $18 to do one or the other. Even if you aren’t keen to visit, I’d still suggest grabbing a coffee at the café. Puzzling World is located on the main road out of Wanaka (towards Cromwell, Christchurch, Mount Cook etc) and is probably a bit far to walk from town for most people. Nearby you’ll find the Mount Iron Track, a popular hiking trail with nice views over Wanaka and the surrounding scenery.
Are you planning a trip to New Zealand? Check out our South Island itinerary!
We were hosted by Puzzling World. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
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