Illusion garden part of $2.5m extension

Wanaka tourist magnet Puzzling World is banking on a $2.5 million extension to bring in more...
Wanaka tourist magnet Puzzling World is banking on a $2.5 million extension to bring in more visitors.
Wanaka tourism attraction Puzzling World wants to have a $2.5 million extension in place by next September to cater for the expected surge of Rugby World Cup visitors to New Zealand.

The attraction has brought in Wellington-based special effects wizard Weta Workshop to contribute to features inside a proposed indoor illusionary sculpture garden.

Puzzling World manager Duncan Spear said the proposed 530sq m extension is part of a 10-year business plan to increase visitor numbers.

Architect's plans for the illusion garden have been approved and a resource consent application is soon to be lodged with Queenstown Lakes District Council planning authority Lakes Environmental, Mr Spear said.

Puzzling World and its leaning tower have attracted the attention of tourists worldwide. Photos...
Puzzling World and its leaning tower have attracted the attention of tourists worldwide. Photos by Matthew Haggart.
"We don't want to give too much away about what will be inside. It will be a mix of classic illusion features, such as in our existing attraction, alongside several brand new ideas which we've formulated ourselves.

"We've done our research and we don't think there is anything else like what we want to do [elsewhere] in the world," he said.

Pressed for details, Mr Spear confirmed the extension would house an indoor "hanging" garden of plants growing horizontally on walls and upside down from an atrium roof with several "very large surrealist sculptures" and illusionary pillars incorporated as features inside the addition.

A "hyper-realistic" silicon wax sculpture of Puzzling World founder Stuart Landsborough will welcome visitors to the proposed extension.

Consultation with neighbouring landowners - the complex also proposes to increase the number of car parks to cater for the expected growth in visitor figures - and with the New Zealand Transport Agency, regarding potential roading changes to the facility's entrance, have been undertaken, Mr Spear said.

The extension was part of Puzzling World's plan to "evolve" its business and, subject to the resource consent process, it was hoped to be completed by September next year.

The extension would be added to the northwestern wing of the existing building. It was projected the new development would bring a 12% rise in visitor numbers, Mr Spear said.

Puzzling World has further capacity to extend its operation and another new wing could be added to the complex "further down the track", he said.


TIMELINE
Puzzling World - the little maze that grew

• 1973, December 23: Founder Stuart Landsborough and former wife Jan open first maze. 17,600 visitors attend in first year.

• 1979: Puzzle centre added to maze.

• 1982: Maze expanded - second tier added and new buildings.

• 1994: Hologram hall and four leaning towers extension added.

• 1998: Puzzling World reaches one-millionth-visitor mark.

• 1999: Signature 53-degree leaning tower of Wanaka and backwards millennium clock built.

• 2007: Two-millionth-visitor mark reached.


Add a Comment