Puzzling World continues to evolve
It is somewhat apt to use some yachting jargon this week, as I was fortunate enough to meet the skipper and tactician of Wanaka’s award winning Puzzling World recently. Heidi and Duncan Spear have been at the helm of Puzzling World for over ten years and their youthful drive has seen the award winning tourist business thrive with their ideology to keep adapting and evolving their business offering. They are mindful that to succeed, they need to keep relevant and continue producing a fun family environment for both locals and tourists to experience. Enjoy the read on their experiences and insight into why they love Wanaka.
How long have you both been involved with Puzzling World?
We came into the business in 2004 and took over management in 2005.
What is the most rewarding part of your role with Puzzling World?
The opportunity to add lasting memories for holidaying visitors is a huge honour and a responsibility we don’t take lightly. Seeing second and sometimes third generation visitors return and re-live a happy moment from their past (and comment that each visit is even better than the last) is very rewarding.
What can we expect to see with Puzzling World in the near future?
We’re always looking to improve our offering whether it be through the activities and displays presented, in our café menu or through gift shop items sourced. In the immediate future, a new exhibition in the Sculptillusion Gallery will replace the current “Just Ad Illusions” exhibition in December and we’re in the concept stages of developing our courtyard areas. Longer-term, our 50th Anniversary isn’t too far away so a major development will be scheduled for then too.
What trends or changes are you facing within your industry?
Tourism is going through some growing pains at the moment. More visitors to the regions are putting pressure on infrastructure that is struggling to keep pace. The greater demand on areas “off the beaten track” is a result of tourists seeking more genuine experiences than might be enjoyed in the cities. The Government is investing more into this space in order to help alleviate some of the negative aspects of this growth. A focus on promoting visitation to NZ during traditional shoulder seasons (quiet months) from Tourism NZ down to the Regional Tourism Operators should help to smooth the fluctuating patterns seen.
Best place to get coffee in Wanaka?
Fed Diner during the week, Warbirds & Wheels at the weekend.
Name 5 people (dead or alive) you’d invite to a dinner party (apart from family).
Barrack Obama, Robin Williams, David Grohl, Eliza McCartney, Ed Sheeran.
What recent work/event have you been most proud of and why??
We won the inaugural 2016 Ignite Wanaka (Chamber of Commerce) Business awards, winning both the Tourism and Supreme award categories. Winning, when we were up against Skydive Wanaka, Cardrona Resort, Mons Royale and other renowned Wanaka brands, was a major milestone for Puzzling World.
Does Wanaka differ from other NZ regions for your line of work? If so, how do you cater for this market?
Wanaka can genuinely boast about enjoying the best of both summer & winter seasons and still retain a good balance between domestic and international visitors. In Wanaka, the tourism industry is mainly owner/operator driven that ensures real passion and a service ethic that seeks to put ‘experience’ ahead of numbers. We celebrate our historic and family links in our business and position within the community.
What is Wanaka best kept secret?
Takeaways on the ‘grassy knoll’ at the Outlet – magic.
Best advice for people moving to Wanaka?
Ensure your home is built/fitted with high-spec insulation and that you have full-time work or a decent retirement fund.
It’s 10am on a Sunday morning, where would we find you and what are you doing?
Finishing a leisurely breakfast before the rush of getting kids to Sunday sport, often an hour’s drive away.
Favourite time of year in Wanaka and why?
Late Feb/early March. The peak season is over, the lake is at its warmest and you finally catch up with family & friends during long summer evenings at the beach.
Puzzling World is open everyday from 8.30am, check out their website here.