There’s every chance you’ve walked past it many times. Hidden down cosy little Twin Street, there’s an unimposing doorway the opens to a miniscule lobby. Catch the elevator to the third floor and you’ll have passed the first test: finding Escape Hunt.
It’s exactly the kind of location that Emma Jones and Steven Moad were looking for when they brought the concept to Adelaide – centrally located but not too obvious. Sign up for a session and you’ll get used to the feeling that something’s been right in front of you for a while, you just couldn’t see it.
The basic concept is simple: you arrive with a group of friends, lock your mobile phones in a chest and step into a room with a few clues strewn about. You then have an hour to solve a series of puzzles as you piece together a hidden storyline and try to unlock the mystery that will let you escape. Each eureka moment leads to another clue, and there are some pretty neat surprises along the way.
There are three puzzles at any one time, and we at the Glam Adelaide team tried to solve the mystery of The Spy On The Beach (based on the baffling real-life cold case of the Somerton Man, right here in Adelaide).
As we entered and the door clicked shut, one of our group informed us that they sometimes suffer from claustrophobia. Fortunately, this admission was followed by a cry of “what’s that?” and suddenly we were all too distracted to think of anything but following a trail of clues and the occasional infuriating red herring. 59 minutes and 25 seconds later, that same team member excitedly jumped up to ring the bell announcing that we’d solved the mystery and earned our freedom.
“I probably get the most satisfaction when people escape in the last minute,” Emma says approvingly – “that’s the sweet spot.” With a gamesmaster watching our progress and giving occasional clues if we fell too far behind, it’s a fine balance that the Escape Hunt team has reached. They make sure that all of their puzzles challenging, but soluble – as Emma says, “I want to get my hour’s worth!”
As well as handing out hints when needed, the gamesmasters are also able to observe each group’s attempts to solve a room. This means they can see what works (and doesn’t) in each scenario, and they are constantly being tweaked. Emma and Steven have also visited more than twenty escape rooms across the country for inspiration, though they didn’t always spend their spare time that way.
Until a few years ago, the pair lived in Melbourne where they worked in HR and business development and that’s where they tried their first escape room for a bit of fun. They were thinking about a change in lifestyle anyway, and had such a great time that they decided to relocate to Adelaide with the intention of starting up their own.
Almost a year elapsed between that move and the opening last October, but the pair used the time well, scouting out locations and getting prepared. This meant working with Emma’s mother, an antiques dealer who helped them locate the gorgeous furniture that populates the sumptuous bar upstairs – chesterfields, smoking lounges and even an antique swivel globe. It’s a great place to soothe frayed nerves with a cold beer or something a little stronger, but it’s probably best to wait until after you’ve made your successful escape.
We’re open all long weekend! 😀 swing by to play a game 🔑 for some wine 🍷 or to chill out in our lounge 😎. Check online for bookings, link in the description! #escapehuntadelaide #escapehunt #escaperooms #longweekend #adelaide #thingstodo #winetime
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The pair are clearly onto something, as it’s been a highly successful first year since they opened the doors last October. In fact, the biggest problem they’ve faced is that a lot of people have tried all of their puzzles! Anyone eagerly waiting for the next chapter will be happy to know that it’s arriving soon.
Though they’re coy and don’t want to give too much away, Emma will reveal that “next time we’re looking to have an element where we can expose something that’s a bit more surreal – exploring someone’s dreams or feelings.”
Unfortunately that means that one puzzle will have to make way, so you only have a week left to experience Kidnapping At The Zoo and solve the mystery of the missing hippo.
To find out more information, visit the Escape Hunt website or head to Level 3, 133 Rundle Mall and jump into the lift!