Puzzling World – Wanaka

In which I get perplexed at Puzzling World in Wanaka

During our jaunt to Lake Wanaka, Craig really wanted to take me to Puzzling World. I’d vaguely heard about this attraction, but after my surprise at how small Wanaka itself was, I was also surprised at the popularity as everyone I’d spoken to had heard of it. We were lucky, as obviously visiting at not the height of summer, the place was very quiet, perfect for trying out all of the puzzles on offer! The first puzzles were displayed outside:

stairs at Puzzling World

Floating stairs

Craig and I also had a go at holding up the Leaning Tower of Wanaka:

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On entering Puzzling World, we opted to get a combo ticket at NZ$17.50 for an adult ticket (NZ$12 for child combo ticket), which meant we could do the five different puzzle rooms, as well as the maze afterwards.

The Puzzle Rooms

Room #1: Hologram Hall

A hall full of holograms, of course. Although each hologram made you move your head slightly differently in order to be able to see it properly and see the desired result.

Room #2: Tilted House

Imagine your world being turned upside down, or at the very least, at a different angle than you are used to. This is exactly what Tilted House does as soon as you enter. There are no windows in the room so you can’t orientate yourself.

Puzzling World, Wanaka

Which way is straight?

There was also a chair which seemed to be going uphill but actually was going downhill. Here’s the video we made to show that physics seemed to be broken:


Room #3: Hall of Following Faces

Room 3 was pretty weird. There were 5 famous faces: Einstein, Mandela, Washington, Mother Theresa and Churchill. Their faces followed you around the room. In the picture, the faces lo0k 3D, however they are actually hollowed out and you can stick your hand right in their faces – crazy, right?!

Puzzling World, Wanaka

Creepy as they watch you around the room

Room #4: Ames Room

On the surface this looked like a normal room with two doors and a checked floor. However watch the video and discover all is not what it seems:


Room #5: Sculptillusion Gallery

This gallery was full of mind-bending puzzles and “how-did-they-do-thats.” It makes you think how clever our brain is, or not as the case may be as we process what’s it front of us.

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The Maze

Now, a disclosure before we go onto the maze, Craig had been to Puzzling World before. He also has a good memory. Therefore the following times for the course did not apply to us as he was a great big cheat and decided to “help” along the way to complete the maze quickly!

There are two routes, one easy and one not so easy.

Puzzling World, Wanaka

The Maze courses

So we attempted the difficult challenge.

And managed it, although as I said before, Craig cheated massively and wouldn’t let me get lost!

One final thing for us to do before we left Puzzling World was to try all the puzzles in the entrance hall. There are plenty to get your hands on, including tangrams, wooden puzzles and boxes with metal balls you have to get into cut outs. Craig showed me one with a pair of horseshoes, a chain and a ring. You had to twist the horseshoes and chain in a certain way to get the ring off. Here is a video of my attempt, check out my concentration face!


I am not very good at puzzles!

We had a really great couple of hours at Puzzling World in Wanaka and it’s a great place to go on an afternoon and be puzzled!

Would you like to visit Puzzling World?

Check out Puzzling World’s website for more information.
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Author: Bennett

2 years as an expat in China and now doing the same in New Zealand, Bennett sure likes to experience "slow travel!"

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  1. Fun fact: Ames room was used extensively in the Lord of the Rins to make the actors playing Hobbits appear much smaller than they actually are.

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  2. I particularly liked Puzzling World. It was a great stop for the kids when I visited in 2008. For some reason I most remember the forced perspective of the “ancient Roman” toilet.

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    • Haha, yes, the Roman toilet! Was one of the first things I saw there anyway. It’s a great place for kids 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Michael!

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