I’d heard stories about it. I’d heard from people who had been there. Still, I wasn’t sure what it was all about. All I knew was that I wanted to go. Puzzling world in Wanaka is one of those attractions you just have to see for yourself. There is a big maze, which apparently is pretty tricky, but since it was raining I skipped this. Luckily it is also a great place indoors.
Puzzling world consists of five illusion rooms, with some works of art in between. I’ll try not to spoil too much, but even if you know what’s coming, you just have to check it out for yourself. I entered into the hologram hall. On display are several holograms, from clowns that change positions as you move around, to static birds and bananas. Cool to see, but not as spectacular as what is coming.
From the holograms you enter the tilted house. Nothing is what it seems. You seem to be walking up a hill while you go through it, and if you thought you had great balance, you might reconsider it here. In the house you see balls rolling uphill and you can sit on a chair that slides up, without any help. What is up seems down and what is down seems up.
In the hall of following faces myou get exactly what is advertised. The faces of Einstein, Vincent van Gogh and some other famous figures are multiplied and pasted to the wall. Wherever you go, their eyes will follow you. You can’t espace their gaze, not even by jumpin, ducking or running around.
After some artworks with illusions, you have your chance to enter Ames illusion room. Looking at the room through the windows, it looks like any other ordinary room. The floor is level, doors are equal height, yet when you enter, you’ll look tiny on one side, and huge on the other. Everything in the room is filmed, so 2 minutes after exiting the room, you can look at yourself on the screen.
Last but not least are some interesting illusions in the Sculptillusion gallery. Among them is a lifelike duplicate of the founder of Puzzling world: Stuart Landsborough. I was quite surprised to see the real one walking around only seconds after seeing his doppelgänger.
Puzzling world is definitely worth a visit and can be enjoyed by pretty much any age. I saw groups of backpackers, toddlers and retirees on my visit. After walking through the illusion rooms, you can have a coffee and break your head over some puzzles in the café. All in all, I had a very entertaining couple of hours on an otherwise rainy day.