Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Arrowtown and Wanaka

On the drive from Queenstown to Wanaka, we stopped in Arrowtown for a couple of hours. What a gorgeous little town! Very much ‘old style’ in design, the beautiful weather made for some great exploring. I went for a wander through the Chinese village. There were some remains of the original stone cottages that the original Chinese miners built when they first came to New Zealand to pan for gold. Their cramped interiors and stone floors would have been so cold in winter; I doubt they’d be called comfortable. Throughout the village, there were informative signposts describing some of the history of the Chinese settlers in this area.

What is real? Eccentricity at its best.

Wow, what a headline! We had a fun afternoon at Puzzling World, near Wanaka. This place is so much fun, and great value, too. The Illusions rooms are life-sized versions of those optical illusions you get emailed to you from time to time, and they look much more impressive painted on a big wall than on your monitor. The Ames Room was fascinating and showed how small people/objects can be made to look bigger or smaller on film using forced perspective, a utilised extensively when filming The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Tilted House was reminiscent of Knott’s Berry Farm and really quite freaky. Try it for yourself – you’ll see what I mean.

The Great Maze was really quite amazing (no pun intended). The object is to reach each of the four coloured corner points, then return to the start. The estimated time for this 30-60 mins, or 1 – 1 ½ hours if you find them in a certain order. It is waaaaay harder than you think and incredibly challenging. The heat was starting to get to me, so I retreated inside to play with some smaller puzzles. I was so proud of my tangram animal, and my ability to complete all 14 stages of the Tantrix puzzle in record time (see the blue loop?) that I just had to brag about them.

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