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Lake Wanaka’s Puzzling World: Best Things to See & Do

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Are you looking for a fun and mind-bending vacation destination? Look no further than Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand. This attraction is home to some of the world’s most puzzling and perplexing optical illusions.

With its endless hallways, strange rooms, and confusing corridors, Puzzling World will have you questioning your sanity – and that’s just the beginning!

If you’ve seen any of the “Lord of the Rings” movies, you’re familiar with the sweeping mountain landscapes and crystal-clear waters of New Zealand.

But unless you’ve already traveled to Lake Wanaka, located adjacent to spectacular Mount Aspiring National Park, you’re probably unaware that New Zealand is home to one of the world’s wackiest, most mind-blowing architecture and design collections.

What is Puzzling World?

Puzzling World
Photo: chee.hong

Puzzling World is an interactive attraction that combines popular and logical challenges with quirky, excellent family entertainment. Puzzling World is the perfect place if you like puzzling your mind! It is an attraction filled with illusion rooms outdoor maze to enjoy and consistently earns excellent reviews.

The park has everything from brainteasers to ladders of different sizes that lead up to the Skullsnaps Treehouse and back down again. It’s a great way to have fun while interactively exercising your brain.

It also features a Maze of Bewilderment where visitors can draw their maze design and race themselves or others against time through the winding passageways.

There are many other things to do, like playing full-size chess puzzles or looking at all the quirky ideas around the park. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon or evening with family and friends.

How to Get to Puzzling World

If you want to visit the Puzzling World, located in Wanaka, New Zealand, you’ll need to fly into either Auckland or Christchurch. From there, it’s a short drive to Wanaka – about a three-hour trip from Auckland and a four-hour trip from Christchurch.

Once you’re in Wanaka, the Puzzling World is easy to find – just a few minutes walk from the town center. From there, follow the signs to Puzzling World.

Puzzling World is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in winter and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in summer. Admission with online booking is available. Admission prices are NZD$27 for adults, NZD$22 for students and seniors, and NZD$14 for children aged 4-15. You can book combo tickets in advance with GetYourGuide to save money and secure your ticket.

See Related: Best Day to Book Flights

Best Time to Visit

The Maze at Puzzling World, Wanaka
Photo: Rexness

The best time to visit Puzzling World is spring or summer when the weather is warm and sunny. This is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoor attractions, such as the hedge maze and optical illusions, that offer good fun.

If you visit during the fall or winter, you can still enjoy the indoor attractions, such as the 3D labyrinth and illusion rooms. No matter what time of year you visit, you’re sure to have a great time!

What to Expect

Puzzling World New Zealand
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

When you visit Puzzling World, you can expect a unique and interactive experience. You’ll never get bored with optical illusions, strange architecture, and plenty of puzzles to solve.

Whimsy, wonder, and just plain weird

The brainchild of well-known local skeptic Stuart Landsborough, Puzzling World started in 1973 with a gigantic maze. Since then, it’s grown into a phenomenal assemblage of gravity-defying structures, mind-boggling optical illusions, and even a $100,000 Psychic Challenge.

Visitors entering Puzzling World are immediately bombarded with its signature combination of kitsch and cool.

Passing by the impressive Leaning Tower of Wanaka — balanced on its edge at incredible 53-degree impossible angles and sporting a backward clock — and the giant labyrinth with almost a mile of passages on two levels. The real fun begins after you enter through the crazy-looking Tumbling Towers.

The art and science of illusion

Wanaka Puzzle World
Photo: freakalad

Puzzling World features five perception-altering illusion rooms and halls designed to confound your senses and scramble your brain. It begins in the Hologram Hall, containing one of the world’s most extensive collections of holograms.

The next room is the Hall of Following Faces, where things start to get just a little bit creepy, as each of the 168 models of well-known faces seems to follow you as you move around and through the room.

Next, you’ll come to the Ames Forced Perspective Room. Prepare yourself to be wholly astonished here — although this room has been built to highly distorted dimensions, it looks normal when viewed through a window.

Then defy gravity (or so it seems) in the amazing Tilted Room. It is built at a 15-degree tilt; this room tricks your brain into thinking that everything inside — including your own body — is hanging at an impossible angle. In the Sculpt Illusion Gallery, you’ll find an unbelievable bench, a suspended waterfall, stone carpets, and other wild and fantastic artwork.

Rest, relax, and please don’t use the wrong restroom.

Even the cafe at Puzzling World is eccentric, as all the tables are decked out with mind-bending puzzles for you to try.

Remember to look up and enjoy the crazy kaleidoscope ceiling — it’s like no ceiling you’ve ever seen. And be warned: the Roman-style bathroom is just another illusion. This realistic-looking mural is designed for photos, not for personal hygiene!

See Related: Most Beautiful Places in the World

Things to Do in the Puzzling World

1. Explore the Illusion Rooms

The puzzling world is home to some of the most interesting optical illusions. Several different illusion rooms are explicitly designed to mess with your mind, and they are all a lot of fun to explore.

Here are the illusion rooms you must not miss during your visit:

Hologram Hall

Exhibit at Hologram Hall Puzzling World
Puzzling World / Puzzling World

The Hologram Hall is one of the illusion rooms, the most popular attractions, and a world unique attraction amusement park in New Zealand. It’s a hall full of optical illusions and holograms that will amaze and confuse visitors.

Some illusions in hologram hall are so realistic that it’s hard to believe they’re not real! The holograms are especially impressive, and it’s fantastic to see how they create the illusion of three-dimensional objects in space.

Tilted House

Puzzling World in Wanaka
Photo: Eli Duke

The Tilted House is among the illusion rooms of the most puzzling features of Puzzling World. It’s what it sounds like – a house tilted at a strange angle. Visitors can walk right into the house, which is surprisingly sturdy given its precarious position.

No one knows how the house got tilted, but it’s become a popular tourist attraction.

Following Faces

Following Faces Puzzling World in New Zealan
Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Puzzling World is home to several strange and perplexing attractions, but the Following Faces may be the most mysterious. It is among the reasons for positive puzzling world reviews.

These three faces are carved into a hillside near the Tilted House, and no one knows who they are or what they mean. Some visitors claim that the faces follow them, but this has yet to be proven.

The faces have become a popular tourist attraction, and many people come to Puzzling World to see them.

Some theories about their meaning include that they represent the three stages of life – birth, adulthood, and death – or that they’re meant to ward off evil spirits. No one knows precisely what they mean, but they’re an intriguing part of Puzzling World.

If you’re looking for a puzzling attraction to add to your New Zealand itinerary, visit Puzzling World! Its strange houses, perplexing carvings, and endless mysteries will surely entertain and intrigue you.

Ames Room

Roman Toilets - Puzzling World - Wanaka
Photo: Bob

The Ames Room is one of the most perplexing attractions at Puzzling World. It’s a small room that appears normal when you first enter it, but you’ll see that the walls are curved if you look closely. Depending on your perspective, this distortion makes the room appear larger or smaller.

The Ames Room is named after its inventor, Dr. Willard L. Ames. He created it as a way to test people’s perception of space. The room is a popular tourist attraction, and many people find it fascinating to see how their perception of space changes when they enter the room.

Sculptillusion Gallery

Sculptillusion Gallery in  Puzzling World
Puzzling World / Puzzling World

The Sculptillusion Gallery is a recent addition to Puzzling World, and it’s quickly become one of the most popular attractions. It’s a room full of optical illusions and visual trickery, and its sculptures are designed to fool your eyes into seeing things that aren’t there.

The sculptures are made from various materials, including metal, wood, and glass. They’re arranged so that they create optical illusions, and it can be fun to try to figure out how they work. Some of the misconceptions are simple, while others are more complex.

The Sculptillusion Gallery is great for seeing exciting and mind-bending optical illusions. It’s sure to baffle and confuse you, which makes it so much fun.

See Related: Visiting the Waitomo Glowworm Caves

2. Challenge yourself at The Great Maze

Aerial view of The Great Maze in Puzzling World
Puzzling World / Puzzling World

The Great Maze is an attraction in the puzzle center in Wanaka, New Zealand. It is a giant maze made out of hedge walls, with four different paths to choose from.

The maze covers an area of 1.5 acres and takes around 45 minutes to navigate; if you can’t finish the maze, there are emergency doors to escape with.

Here are the levels of the Maze challenge in the Puzzling World:

The Classic Challenge

The Puzzling World maze challenge is a classic visitors have enjoyed for years. It’s a test of navigation and problem-solving skills, and it’s not as easy as it looks! The maze is full of twists and turns, and plenty of surprises await you around every corner. If you’re looking for a challenge, this is it!

The Difficult Challenge

If you’re looking for an extra challenge during your visit to Wanaka and a unique world attraction, check out the maze! This difficult challenge will test your navigation skills as you make your way through the twists and turns. You’ll want to bring your best game to tackle the maze!

Make it ‘aMAZEing’

If you’re looking for an extra challenge while in New Zealand, Puzzling World has the perfect solution – the Make it ‘amazing’ challenge! This test of your puzzling skills will have you navigating through a series of mazes, each more difficult than the last. If you’re up for the challenge, give it a try!

3. Snap Photos

Leaning Tower of Wanaka
Photo: Jason Pratt

There are many exciting things to see and do at Puzzling World, from exploring the strange and perplexing rooms to snapping selfies in front of the oddities on display. But one of the best reasons to visit is it’s so darn photogenic!

4. Taste delicious food at Think Tank cafe

Foo served at Puzzling World Think Tank Cafe
Puzzling World / Puzzling World

The Puzzling World Think Tank Cafe is a great place to relax and refuel while exploring the Puzzling World attraction. The cafe offers various food and drinks, including coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soup, sandwiches, pastries, and cakes to enjoy in a lunch activity.

5. Buy Souvenirs

Leaning Tower Wanaka

The gift shop at the unique world attraction is a great place to find souvenirs of your visit to the appeal. They have various items, including New Zealand puzzles, hats, mugs, and keychains. You can also purchase tickets to some of the other attractions in Wanaka from the gift shop.

Nearby Attractions

Auckland Zoo

Giraffe and Ostrich

If you’re looking for a fantastic zoo experience, look no further than Auckland Zoo in New Zealand. With over 1100 animals representing more than 250 species, the zoo is home to some of the most exciting and exotic creatures.

In addition to the animal exhibits, the zoo also offers a variety of activities and attractions for all ages. If you plan for only one day or a week in Wanaka, you must visit Auckland Zoo. Skip-the-line tickets are available.

It is a family-oriented place where families can enjoy the interactive Discovery Zone while nature lovers can explore the beautiful gardens and rainforest trails. A special zoo section is dedicated to New Zealand’s native wildlife.

Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World

Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World is one of the top tourist destinations in Auckland and for a good reason! It’s home to various marine life, from penguins and seals to sharks and rays.

There’s also a simulated submarine ride, which gives visitors a close-up view of the underwater world. Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for something fun to do, Kelly Tarlton’s is worth visiting.

MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology)

The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) in Auckland is a great place to visit for anyone interested in technology and transportation. It has exhibits on everything from cars and trains to aviation and shipping. There’s also an extensive collection of vintage computers and other electronics.

Mount Eden

Cityscape and Views From Mount Eden

Mount Eden is a dormant volcano in Auckland, New Zealand. It is the highest volcanic peak in Auckland, with 196 meters (643 ft). The mountain was named by Captain Cook, who mistook it for Mount Eden in Surrey, England.

One of the most popular things to do on Mount Eden is to climb to the summit. The walk takes about 30 minutes, and the views of Auckland from the top are spectacular. There is also a small crater at the summit, which can be explored.

If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, you can try abseiling down the side of the volcano. Or, for those who prefer something less strenuous, there is a walking track around the mountain’s base.

Mount Eden is not the only place in Auckland with amazing views. One of my favorite spots is Rangitoto Island. It’s an extinct volcano located just off the coast of Auckland.

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill is a significant landmark in Auckland, New Zealand. It’s also one of the most-visited tourist destinations in the country.

Maori settlers named the hill the first people to inhabit New Zealand. The name “One Tree Hill” comes from the fact that there was only one tree on the mountain when the Maori settlers arrived.

The hill is now covered in forests, and visitors can use several walking trails to explore the area. You may visit the landmark through a city highlights tour.

One Tree Hill is also home to several important historical landmarks, including a fort built by the British army in 1864. The summit of One Tree Hill offers stunning views over Auckland and its surrounding areas, so be sure to climb if you visit!

Nearby Restaurants

Thai Village Restaurant

Curry on a Pan
Photo by

The Thai Village Restaurant is a must-visit while in New Zealand. It is one of the best restaurants nearby where you can enjoy delicious meals. The food is fantastic, and the atmosphere is so relaxing. I recommend the green curry –among the delightful dishes they serve.

Sushi Yoko

Sushi on a Plane with Chopsticks
Photo by

The Sushi Yoko is a sushi restaurant in the Puzzling World complex in Wanaka, New Zealand. It offers a wide variety of sushi rolls, nigiri, and sashimi. The restaurant has a modern atmosphere, and the sushi is delicious. 

Kai Pai Bakery

Wrapped Cookie
Photo by

If you’re ever in Wanaka, stop by Kai Pai Bakery and try one of their famous baked goods. These little biscuits are made with a delicious combination of pork, shrimp, and vegetables, and they’re the perfect snack to enjoy while exploring the world’s most giant maze or testing your skills on the seven-meter-high climbing wall.

Best Place to Stay in Wanaka

Best Luxury Hotels

Wanaka Haven

Living Area in Wanaka Haven
Photo by

Wanaka Haven is a bed and breakfast located in Wanaka, New Zealand. The inn is set in a stunning location, with views of the mountains and the lake.

Guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast in the sun-drenched conservatory or relax on the deck with a glass of wine. Wanaka Haven is the perfect place to stay while exploring the beautiful Puzzling World!

Lakeside Apartments

Pool and Building in Lakeside Apartments
Photo by

The Lakeside Apartments in Wanaka are the perfect place to stay while visiting Puzzling World. With its convenient location next to the attraction, guests can easily walk to and from their accommodations.

The apartments are also spacious and comfortable, with plenty of room for families or groups. The on-site staff is friendly and helpful; the Lakeside Apartments offer amazing views of the lake and mountains.

Guests can relax on their private balcony or patio and take in the natural beauty of Wanaka.

See Related: Hotel vs. Motel vs. Inn

Best Mid-Range Hotels

Lake Wanaka Lodge

Queen-sized Bed
Photo by

If you want a luxurious place to stay in New Zealand, look no further than the Lake Wanaka Lodge. This exquisite resort offers guests beautiful views of the lake and the surrounding mountains and top-notch amenities and services whether you’re looking to relax by the fire or take advantage of the many outdoor activities.

Edgewater Resort

Edgewater Resort Interior
Photo by

The Edgewater Resort is a fantastic place to stay while in New Zealand. It offers stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy the country’s natural beauty. The resort also has a range of activities available, from swimming and fishing to hiking and biking.

Best Budget Hotels

Cosy Wanaka B&B

Charming Room
Photo by

If you’re looking for a charming and cozy place to stay in Wanaka, look no further than Cosy Wanaka B&B.

This bed and breakfast is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate, with beautiful gardens and stunning mountain views. The hosts are warm and welcoming and will ensure you feel at home.

The White Room

Bed and Couch
Photo by

The White Room is an excellent option if you’re looking for a place to stay in the Puzzling World area. It’s just minutes from the attractions and features comfortable rooms and excellent service.

Vacation Rentals

Wanaka Luxury Apartments

Pool and Building of Wanaka Luxury Apartments
Photo by

Wanaka Luxury Apartments rental offers a unique and exclusive experience for those looking to stay in Wanaka.

With only four villas on the property, guests are ensured privacy and tranquility while still being close to Wanaka’s amenities. Guests can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lakes from the private terrace.

Aspen Heights Wanaka

Seating Area with Big Windows
Photo by Airbnb

Aspen Heights Wanaka is the perfect place to stay when exploring Puzzling World. With its prime location, guests can easily walk to the attraction from the rental property. Aspen Heights offers spacious and comfortable accommodations with all the amenities needed for a relaxing stay.

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  1. Allison says:

    New Zealand is on my bucket list for this year, and I’ll have to make a stop at Puzzling World. I just adore quirky stuff like that, thanks for sharing! Looks like you had a blast!