Tricky Rotorua gallery in the frame

Rotorua’s tourist attractions are well known to most New Zealanders but when SARAH ELLIS visited the thermal city recently she and her family discovered a tricky new attraction where more than 50 trick art pieces of life-size and hyper-realistic murals invite visitors to be part of amazing optical illusions.

With no work, no school and my husband away on business it seemed like a perfect time to get away with the children and have some mid-winter fun.

The best place to go within driving distance looked to be Rotorua where we had heard of a newly opened 3D Trick Art Gallery. Having seen some great photos of a similar gallery in Melbourne, we headed to the Bay of Plenty with camera phones charged.

The gallery was on Fairy Springs Road just as we drove into Rotorua from Auckland. On arrival, staff members were very friendly and carefully explained the concept and the tricks behind capturing the best photos.

So, with the affordable entry fee paid we headed on in to have some fun and see how we were transposed into some amazing places from standing on cliff ledges to crossing deep ravines via a log and so much more.

We all had our favourite scenes and even retraced our steps to take more photographs of those we liked best. However, we all agreed the final epic scene resulted in the best illusion which drew a great response on Facebook and Instagram.

Most of us know Rotorua has some amazing places and events to visit and experience. Even in the middle of winter, the gondola and luge, for example, had massive queues. So, for a bit of relaxation we headed to the Polynesian thermal pools for a therapeutic soak – just divine!

However, I have to admit I was worried about getting out as the air temperature all day had been below 5 degrees Celsius but, by some miracle, the heat had seeped deep into me and I was fine, staying warm for hours – just what was needed.

But, to prove just how cold Rotorua was, the city had snow while we were there!

I didn’t quite understand why so many retailers and our hotel staff were outside, filming on their cell phones. Then I learned that snow was an extremely rare event in town so what a treat to have seen it all. Once again, Rotorua surprised.

By SARAH ELLIS