Calling all Sherlock Holmes wannabees in Queenstown! It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for – finally the chance to solve your very own mystery! I was first on the crime scene at Escape Quest, Rees Street to put my amateur sleuthing skills to the test.  

Doing an escape room has been on my bucket list for months so I rocked up to the Escape Quest headquarters complete with deerstalker hat and pipe (I wish!). We had a seat in the quirky lobby and were told that there were 4 different rooms to choose from, ranging from the relatively easy to the nearly impossible. I decided to hedge my bets with a middle of the road mystery and the newest addition to the Escape Quest selection, ‘Murder in the Old Man Range’.

The scene was set - we were about to be transported back in time to the 1860’s gold-rush era. A murder has taken place and the victim, Johnny O’Brien, owned a general store and was also the unofficial gold banker to the local miners. So, his presumed stash of gold was the motive, but who was the killer? We were given a walkie-talkie, directed to the room and told we had 60 minutes to solve the murder. Inside the small room, there was a myriad of objects and furniture that we needed to investigate. Think hidden compartments, cryptic symbols and a lot of head scratching! If we were taking a long time to find a clue (as was often the case – we sucked!), the walkie-talkie bleeped and we checked the screen on the wall which would point us in right direction. Never too early, and always just what we needed, these little hints helped us successfully navigate the room. Finally, we solved the murder and made it out of the room with 1 minute 30 seconds to spare which was apparently not too bad for a first go!

I expected to breeze through the escape room but it was surprisingly challenging and I felt a real sense of achievement when we cracked it! This super fun puzzle activity is perfect for a rainy, winter day in Queenstown or for anyone who wants to try something totally unique! Not just for kids, the whole family can get involved and compete against each other to make it onto the coveted wall of fame! My time wasn’t quite quick enough to feature... I’ll just have to do better next time!