Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Puzzling World Wanaka

During our short time in Wanaka, Michelle brought me to Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World, one of the most well-known tourist attraction in New Zealand. The place is just two kilometers from Lake Wanaka near the town, where we stayed for the night. This world unique attraction that specialises on puzzling eccentricity can be considered a must-see attraction in the South Island of New Zealand.

As soon as we arrived at Puzzling World, we instantly noticed its crazy architecture. One of them is the Leaning Tower of Wanaka. This whole tower leans at an incredibly 53 degrees to the ground, that makes it looks impossible to balance on one corner. It seems that this tower managed to defy the laws of physics, especially in gravity and moments. As a comparison, the Leaning Tower of Pisa only leans six degrees.


Puzzling World near Wanaka, New Zealand.


The photogenic Tumbling Towers, added in 1994. 


The Leaning Tower of Wanaka at the front lawn, which was built in 2000.


The unique Back To Front Clock.


Puzzling World has possibly the world's best puzzling and illusion museum.

One unique features of the clock on the Leaning Tower is that this New Zealand backwards clock has been moving backwards since the eve of the new millennium; something that we didn't realise when we were there.

Upon getting the tickets and walk pass the entrance gate, we came to the incredible Illusions Room, a place where one needs to see it to believe it. Each and every rooms are unique and is an illusion on its own right. The first room was the Hologram Hall, where there is a huge collection of amazing 3-D holograms. We have to stand at the right angle to see the full-effect of the holograms, which means tall people like me should bend down, while shorter people have to stand a little bit further away.


One of the holograms in the Hologram Hall.


Entrance to the Hall of Following Faces illusion room.


The seven famous faces that are used in this hall. Can you name every one of them?


These faces seems to turn and follow us around the room when we walk from faces to faces. Cool (and a bit scary haha!), isn't it?


There are 168 giant models of those seven famous faces on its spherical wall.

The Mona Lisa portrait is famous because of the way the eyes follow us. However, in this unique hall, the whole face appear to rotate and follow us left and right, up and down. Another amazing illusion in this hall is that although the faces are concave (inwards), they can appear to be convex (outwards).

Next was the Ames False Perspective Room. The technique of this illusion was used in The Lord of the Rings film to create tall people and little people. The shape of this room is totally distorted although when viewed from outside through a window, the room looks perfectly normal.


The Ames False Perspective Room is as the background.


Looks like just a normal room, isn't it?


Now you see a short giraffe.


Then suddenly, it grew ten times taller than the Twin Towers haha!


Look at how short Michelle is lol!


Two interesting aluminum puzzles, which were made from one sheet of metal without being joined or welded.


Elephant-to-be with elephants haha!


Christmas is just around the corner and poor Santa has a big problem.

The next room was the Tilted House. The room is built not horizontally but tilted at an angle of fifteen degrees. 

We will think that it is a usual room and all the displays inside are normal. However, when we walked into the room, we could not go straight and felt the gravity as a strange sensation. The illusion is so strong that our brain is convinced the room cannot be sloping. The brain straightens up the room at the expense of the displays that seem to hang at impossible angles.




There is only one true level line in the room and it is the level that Professor Puzzle is holding!


Roll a cue ball on the left side and the ball will roll upwards to the right!

Here is a video of the cue ball.


Still standing straight haha!


The water looks like running uphill, against the gravity. The truth is that it is running downhill, one degree to the right.

After going around the illusion rooms, we went outdoor for several more attractions. Michelle insisted me to visit the public toilet there. It made me curious why she die die wanted me to go there. Anyway, on our way there, there were also many posters with magnificent paintings by M. C. Escher on the walls.

So, we finally reached the public toilets. You must be wondering what the hell would we wanna visit such place. But believe it or not, this entertaining Roman-style toilets is probably the most photographed toilet in New Zealand.  Apart from the usual ladies and gents, there is a third room - the Roman-style toilets!  Before entering the actual toilet, we arrived in this big hall where we saw a very realistic painting of people using the toilet. They are designed to replicate Roman-style ablutions with a magnificent Diorama (mural).


Posing with the monkey statue (who uses Fair and Lovely, I think haha!) under the monkey tree.


Someone's having constipation in the Roman-style toilets haha!

We save the best for the last - the world's first modern-style Great Maze (Labyrinth). This maze consists 1.5 kilometers of passages and it is estimated that on average, it takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete it. There are two challenges in this interesting puzzle; one is simpler and the other is harder.  There are emergency doors for those with limited time, patience or energy, so one can quit whenever they want.

We tried solving the maze by taking up the simpler version. However, for someone like me who had short-term memory lost problem, it was almost a nightmare to require me to remember all the passages we have passed by. Luckily, Michelle was there and most of the time, it was her who took the lead while I tried to peek through the tiny holes between the walls lol!

Too bad somebody complained that she was hungry already after almost half an hour. So, in the end, we didn't manage to complete it and exited the maze through one of the emergency doors, disappointed. However, we still managed to reach three of the four coloured corners where on most of the time, I cheated by using my giraffe height to look over the wooden walls to see if the passage leads to a jalan mati (dead-end) haha!


The Great Maze - Labyrinth.


Most of the time, it looks like you are very close to reaching your target-location, but in the end you find yourself coming to a dead-end!


We tried the standard challenge, in which we had to locate the four corner towers.


One of the four corner towers - the yellow tower.


These two ang moh look like they are lost haha!


It is unusual to see a maze which has two-storey. Photo taken from here.


We managed to conquer the green tower!

Last but not least, we spent some time at the lawn of Puzzling World to camwhore with the crazy structures there. I don't think there is even one person who has been to Puzzling World and did not take a photo with him holding or doing something stupid with the Leaning Tower of Wanaka.

I decided to be a bit siao, hence this pose below.


Wow, I can support the whole tower with only my butt lol!

In all, it was a great experience and recommended for everyone.


Anonymous said...

walao nice lar this place didint know got this kind of place...
btw about the perspective room,does it has something to do with the floor bcos the floor i mean not the pattern on the floor but the floor angle seems a bit senget xD..
btw cool place to spend time with ur gal hehe :D..

DT said...

hahaha... wif u around the perspective becomes kinda distorted...like ur photo in the momiji.. at first i tot was superimposed ... and ur last photo here... of u and ur a**-supporting tower. Noticed how tiny the underneath ur head.

calvin said...

@ anonymous:
yes, the room slopes at fifteen degrees. so everything else is built to slope at a certain angle opposite of that fifteen degrees to create the illusions in the room ;)

yup, it was one of the coolest place we went in new zealand =D

calvin said...

@ dt:
lol! why did you say so? it must surely down to my gigantic size haha! yup, that guy in the last photo looked smaller than a dwarf lol!

i think i should now call myself a godzilla, instead of an elephant haha!

DT said...

maybe king kong more suitable... since king kong went up to the top of the tower... much similar to ur last pix ....hahah!!! :P

DT said...

btw having this sentence "In all, it was a great experience and recommended for everyone." placed right after the last pic does seems rather wrong, no?.... heheheh!!!

calvin said...

@ dt:
i don't wanna be a king kong!
king kong is so hairy haha!

and yeah, but at least the two words - "in all", make is less obvious lol!