After Queenstown we started heading north onto Frans Josef to be there in time to do our next awesome adventure, but along the way we made a few pit stops to some really cool places. The first was the famous Puzzle World of New Zealand. This place was really cool and unique! They had illusion rooms, puzzles, and life size mazes! The tickets were cheap and we had a blast for a good couple hours roaming around seeing what this intriguing place had to offer.
The first thing we did was walk through the illusion rooms. There were a number of weird puzzle illusion like things to see. There were a lot of 3D holographic images hung as paintings on the wall that changed when you walked by them, there were some interesting puzzle teasers painted on the wall and large optical illusions to really tweak your mind out. There was an entire room that was built at an angle and then everything inside was built normal so it looked and felt like you were literally defying gravity while walking through it! At some points just turning around and trying to walk gave this really disorienting feeling of being almost drunk and you almost fell on your butt! It was a lot of fun. They also had some water that looked as though it was flowing upwards because the angle of the room, it was really cool and we had never experienced anything like it. It totally felt like we were in some weird Dali surreal world or something. Here is Steve standing on some steps in that crazy room. Haha, don’t mind the horrible ruler/level placement on the wall.
The next area had this big open room with lots of concave sculpted faces that you could walk through. If you covered one eye and walked past all the faces, they seemed to follow you wherever you walked! I have a video that I will post as soon as I can because it’s hard to picture how it was, but it was almost kind of freaky! The heads were of famous people like Mother Teresa, Einstein, and so on.
There was also another room that had a perspective trick similar to the ones they use in the film industry. They will sometimes build a room that is built at an angle to make the parts in the back look much small or larger than they actually are to cast the illusion of distance. They used this trick in the Lord of the Rings movies apparently, but it was a cool room.
After playing around in the illusion room we went outside to the human maze to try our luck. I decided to make a map on a piece of paper of places we had been so we wouldn’t get terrible lost. Sometimes we would walk by people and they would say “Hey! How much for the map!?” It was fun! The goal was to find your way to each of the four colors towers in each corner of the maze. There were also staircases that rose above the maze to go across to other parts of the maze. Sometimes little kids would stand up there and yell out directions to their friends. We eventually made it all the way through without cheating (except for the fact I was making a map :P ) and it took us at least a good hour to get to all the towers. They also had “emergency exits” in case you got lame and wanted to quit early. We totally got through it though. You can only see one tower in this picture, but this was taken fro the opposite tower from the green one, and the others were just off to our right, about equidistant apart from these ones.
After the maze we pretty much saw everything there was to see at Puzzle World so we decided to hit the bathrooms before hitting the road. To our surprise there was a large painting inside the entrance to the bathrooms that was painted to look like the old roman bathrooms! We got a few pictures just for fun.
After Puzzle World we headed up the road a ways to find a Toy and Car museum. There were lots of old and new toys here in this giant warehouse all on display within glass cases. They also had lots of antique and old things from the past such as cameras, gadgets, and the like. There were plenty of old cars too. Some seemed to be in restored and great condition and some were just there and looked like they might run? There were also some old military and service vehicles like old firetrucks, a tank, a few airplanes, etc. It was like an organized hoarder who collected anything from our past :)
After having all that fun we continued north toward Franz Josef to get a campsite for the night. We had booked a full day glacier hike the following day and decided to check in with the Fox Glacier office about our booking. They informed us that the bookings had been canceled today and possibly the following day due to the rain. It wouldn’t normally be a problem if it rained on the glaciers, but the road to the glacier the bus used to get there was flooded. We were a bit concerned that we might not be able to do our glacier hike, so we decided to check back in the morning and find out if ours was canceled or not. So off to sleep in the car with the pattering of rain! It is actually kind of annoying to camp in that car when it rains, but we managed quite well. Onto the next adventure!