My New Zealand Family Holiday: Day 7 PUZZLING WORLD

By Estella

After checking out of the Brookvale Motel in Wanaka, we set off for Puzzling World on the road towards Cromwell. We didn’t have to go far for Puzzling World was only around 4km from the Wanaka town centre. With a giant outdoor maze and an array of optical illusions and mind benders, Puzzling World in Wanaka had to be one of the most unique tourist attractions we have ever seen. Other visitors must surely agree with me for everyone there seemed to be having a puzzling good time.

A picture of Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Specialising in puzzling eccentricity, this business has been in operation since 1973, when its founder Stuart Landsborough  sold his house to purchase the 6.5 acre site. His bank turned down his application for a loan as the business was deemed “too risky”, which goes to show you that a) banks want easy money and b) with perseverance and self-belief you can take your dream and make it work. From 17 000 plus visitors in its first year of operation, Puzzling World has grown to welcome an estimated 160 000 visitors annually.

A picture of the Puzzling World Cafe/Reception area in Wanaka, Queenstown.

A room full of happy puzzlers. A picture of the Puzzling World Cafe/Reception area in Wanaka, Queenstown.

In 2005, Stuart Landsborough handed over the reins of Puzzling World to his youngest daughter Heidi, who is now the business’ general manager. I think I saw her while we were there, working the cafe till. Since there were many puzzles in the cafe/reception area, the three of us played for a good hour before accessing the paid areas.

A picture of HRH and Amanda working on a puzzle together at puzzling world.

A picture of HRH and Amanda working on a puzzle together at puzzling world.

A picture of HRH and Amanda after solving a puzzle together at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

We did it ! Yay ! A picture of HRH and Amanda after solving a puzzle together at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of me and the puzzle I was working on at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of me and the puzzle I was working on at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of HRH and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Trying to crack the code. A picture of HRH and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A puzzle at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Free brain teaser: can you assemble this pyramid using all six pieces given? The caveat: no taking the glued pieces apart.

A picture of HRH and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Another one solved! A picture of HRH and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

There were 5 illusion rooms. The first was filled with spooky mind-tricking holographs.

A picture of a holograph at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

The Ghost of Marilyn Monroe looks a lot spookier in the flesh. A picture of a holograph at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of Amanda and me at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

What do you see in the crystal ball? A picture of Amanda and me at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

The next room contained more optical illusions.

A picture of HRH and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Are these straight lines or sloping lines? They change depending on what distance you view them from.

A picture of  me and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Amanda and I with a mind-bending QUILT.

A picture of HRH and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

This picture reveals nothing from the front, but standing off to one side, you can see Albert Einstein.

Next we entered a room where dozens of eyes seemed to be watching our every move.

A picture of HRH and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

AHHHHHHHH! Those eyes are watching me!

A picture of me at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Is it me or is it you?

A picture of  Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Do you see the OPTICAL in the ILLUSION?

The fourth was a room that looked normal from the outside but was surprisingly small on the inside.

A picture of HRH and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Normal from outside, strange from inside.

A picture of HRH and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Who is big and who is small now? A picture of HRH and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

The fifth was a room that gave me vertigo.

A picture of me, HRH and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Holy Cow! How did the carpenters build this room without throwing up? You can see the floor is sloping and we are standing away from the back wall.

A picture of HRH and Amanda at Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

You sit on the chair and it automatically takes you uphill.

Fancy yourself a little bit of a psychic? Then head on down to Stuart Landsborough’s NZD100 000 Psychic Challenge. Two parts of a promissory note are hidden within 100m of the area where I was standing. Find them and win NZD100 000. To enter, you have to pay a NZD1000 participation fee. This gets you 30 minutes to quiz Stuart Landsborough for as many tips as you need. So far 7 have attempted this challenge since it was first offered but none have won. Who knows? You just might be the first.

A picture of me and Stuart Landsborough's Psychic challenge at Puzzling World, Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of me and Stuart Landsborough’s Psychic challenge at Puzzling World, Wanaka, New Zealand.

 

 

 

My New Zealand Family Holiday: Day 6 WANAKA

By Estella

By the time we left Queenstown for Wanaka, after our Ferg Burger brunch, it was mid-afternoon. There were still enough hours of daylight left for us to make the journey safely, but not that many that we could delay our road trip for a walk along Lake Wakatipu as I had wanted upon rising that morning. However, instead of going straight up route 89, we used the little leeway we had in our day’s schedule to take the alpine scenic route, which led us to one of probably many vantage points overlooking Queenstown.

A picture of Queenstown from the scenic alpine route.

A picture of Queenstown from the scenic alpine route.

From there, we drove past snow-covered fields through to a darkened valley flanked by forbidding mountains on either side. But for a few bends, the road was fairly straight in Lord of the Rings country. Towards Cardrona, a ski field with a village of its own, I noticed that most of the trees were completely caked in white like they had been dusted with icing sugar. The only bit of green was the grass closest to the road and that was a dull yellow.

A picture of the road from Queenstown to Cardrona.

A picture of the road from Queenstown to Cardrona.

A picture of the road from Queenstown to Cardrona.

On the road from Queenstown to Cardrona.

A picture of a snow-covered hillside on the road to Cardrona, New Zealand.

A picture of a snow-covered hillside on the road to Cardrona, New Zealand.

A picture of the road from Queenstown to Cardrona.

See what I mean about the mountains? A picture of the road from Queenstown to Cardrona.

Even though it wasn’t our final destination, the sheer amount of snow around Cardrona, being the stuff of all my childhood Hans Christian Anderson fairytales, was just cause for us to stop the car and grab a couple of happy snaps.

A picture of HRH just outside Cardrona in New Zealand.

A picture of HRH just outside Cardrona in New Zealand.

A picture of me just outside Cardrona in New Zealand.

Since it’s my birthday I’m wearing my new possum fur tie and Merinomink sweater. A picture of me just outside Cardrona in New Zealand.

A couple of kilometres past Cardrona and it was as if we were in another land: there was no snow to be seen! We pulled up at The Brookvale Motel in Wanaka which His Royal Highness had paid NZD165 for us to spend the night at, shortly before six in the evening, and after a quick use of the loo, went to scope out the area surrounding the lake. By chance, we came across a secluded walking and cycling track used by the locals.

A picture of our family room at The Brookvale Motel in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of our family room at The Brookvale Motel in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of the view from my room at the Brookvale Motel in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of the view from my room at the Brookvale Motel in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of Amanda and I by Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

A picture of Amanda and I by Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

A picture of HRH walking along Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

A picture of HRH walking along Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

A picture of HRH and Amanda out by Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

Such peace and tranquility. A picture of HRH and Amanda out by Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

Once we had enough of our own company, we climbed back in the car and made for the town centre. There, His Royal Highness inspected the lake once again and somewhat theatrically, asked me to commune with it, since I’m a pagan and it was my birthday.

A picture of Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

A picture of Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

A picture of HRH and Amanda by Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

In a contemplative mood. A picture of HRH and Amanda by Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

I was too cold to humour him so I suggested we have dinner at the pub across the road before I eat someone.

A picture of me and Amanda outside the pub we went to for my birthday dinner in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of me and Amanda outside the pub we went to for my birthday dinner in Wanaka, New Zealand.

 

“Are you sure you want to go in there?” he asked as I stood outside the door. “I feel like something local.”

“Well, this is local,” I said, noting all the Kiwis going in and coming out of the door next to me.

We went in and the waitress said we cold sit anywhere we liked up the back. Unbeknown to us, sitting on one of the elevated tables near the bar means we get no table service. His Royal Highness had to place our orders and pay for them at the bar.

A picture of me having a drink at the Wanaka Ale House in Wanaka, New Zealand.

“What a picture!” exclaimed His Royal Highness when Amanda showed it to him. A picture of me having a drink at the Wanaka Ale House in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of the ribs we had for entree at the Wanaka Ale House in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of the ribs we had for entree at the Wanaka Ale House in Wanaka, New Zealand.

As usual, everything came with a mountain of chips. Our entree of pork ribs left us wanting more, but my seafood chowder – the third in this journey – was highly unsatisfactory. While chowder is supposed to be creamy, this was like eating thickened cream on its own, strewn with some seafood and enough salt to push your blood pressure through the roof. His Royal Highness’ fish was fresh, but seemed to have been cooked by someone other than the person who had prepared my chowder, for it only had a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley for seasoning. All up, the bill came to NZD83, a normal sum for the food we had and our choice of eatery, although compared to other pubs we’d been to, inconsistent in quality.

A picture of HRH and his fish at the Wanaka Ale House in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of HRH and his fish at the Wanaka Ale House in Wanaka, New Zealand.

A picture of my seafood chowder at the Wanaka Ale House in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Too salty and thick. A picture of my seafood chowder at the Wanaka Ale House in Wanaka, New Zealand.