Puzzling World creator Stuart Landsborough was the first
customer through the doors when the new multimillion-dollar
illusion room at the Wanaka tourist attraction opened at
Although long since retired from the business, Mr
Landsborough gave its latest addition - which he toured with
two grandchildren - a big thumbs-up, declaring the finished
project a ''magnificent'' result.
The 530sq m illusionary sculpture room has been developed by
Mr Landsborough's daughter Heidi, who is Puzzling World's
general manager and her husband Duncan Spear, who is
Yesterday's opening, while a week behind schedule, was the
culmination of months of labour and cost more than $2.5
million, including associated work such as increasing parking
and upgrading stormwater and sewerage systems, Mr Spear said.
A waterfall flowing from a huge tap suspended in mid-air, a
floating garden seat and ''wave stairs'' are among the many
puzzling pieces for visitors to muse over, while the room
itself features stone carpet, a living wall and a wave
''We've really gone out on a limb to make these oversized
three-dimensional illusions, which ... often in the past have
only existed on paper,'' Mr Spear said.
However, not all the couple's ideas had translated easily
from their two-dimensional form, with some tweaking already
''When you've got something in an image or an idea outside
the space, when you actually put it into the space it doesn't
necessarily translate the same way,'' Ms.Landsborough said.
While the illusion room appeared to be received well by the
first of the tourist groups which passed through yesterday,
Mr Landsborough said it was important to keep the attraction
interesting by watching people's behaviour within the room
and modifying things accordingly, a technique he used during
the early stages of developing the world's first timber maze,
which opened at the 2.6ha site in 1973.
Mr Spear and Ms.Landsborough, who took over the business in
2005, had been heeding that advice throughout the
''I've been observing all of the site workers and everyone
who's come in to do their little bits and pieces ... and when
something new has been installed I've been taking notice of
their reactions,'' Ms.Landsborough said.
An official opening will be held in March for the illusion
room, which can also be used to host functions and
exhibitions. It is expected to be the final major development
at the site next to State Highway 84 at the entrance to
Wanaka, before possible international expansion.
Puzzling World will hold its 40th anniversary celebrations