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A close up shot of metal handcuffs hanging at Paniq Room
Photograph: Paniq Room

The best escape rooms in Sydney

The door is locked and the clock is ticking... use our guide to Sydney's best escape rooms for clues to crack the code

By Emma Joyce and Olivia Gee
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Escape rooms are taking Sydney by storm, inspired by the hundreds of escape rooms found across the world (apparently Hungary is the place to go for the ultimate mystery room binge – there are more than 100 rooms in Budapest alone).

The concept is simple: solve puzzles placed in and around the room before your allotted time runs out. Each room has a different theme and stimulates all senses, demanding a variety of problem-solving skills. Time Out took on the challenge of unlocking escape rooms across the city. Whether we got out in time? Well, that's a different matter.

If you're still buzzing after your narrow escape, chill out with a drink at Sydney's best bars, or find your zen at these splendid spas.

RECOMMENDED: Fabulous dance classes around Sydney.

Escape rooms in Sydney

The Forgotten Son escape room interior, with a fire, tables and chairs in a shack.
Photograph: Supplied

1. Expedition Escape Rooms

Things to do Games and hobbies Redfern

Mission: You are lost travellers in outback Australia who have stumbled upon a shack, drawn there by the sound of childlike sobs. Find a way inside the locked door to investigate, and also escape the encroaching dark and eeire voices on the wind. 

Outcome: Success! 
Atmosphere: ✮✮✮✮
Creativity of puzzles: ✮✮✮✮
Difficulty: ✮✮✮✮
Fun: ✮✮✮✮
Best quote: “You got it right, but the wrong way.”
Our tip: Trust your teammates, and follow the light...

The Cipher Room Espionage escape room
Photograph: Supplied

2. The Cipher Room

Things to do Games and hobbies Erskineville

Mission: You and your co-players have just one hour to locate the secrets that Agent 'M' has hidden somewhere in the room. To find them, you're going to have to look for clues, follow a bunch of hints and crack a bunch of codes.

Outcome: Success!
Atmosphere:
Creativity of puzzles:
Difficulty:
Fun:
Best quote: "We're not stupid, honest!"
Our tip: Take a step back and look again.

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3. Next Level: Ex Libris

Things to do Games and hobbies Sydney

Mission: This is a 75-minute escape room with a difference. It’s designed so that if/once your team has successfully escaped, there are more puzzles scattered around the literary fantasy room to entertain you until your time is well and truly up. Our focus is to power up the portal, find the golden pen and get the hell out of there.

Outcome: Success!
Atmosphere: ✮✮✮✮
Creativity of puzzles: ✮✮✮✮
Difficulty: ✮✮✮✮
Fun: ✮✮✮✮
Best quote: “Hero Stefan decided to take a closer look at the coloured sand...”
Our tip: If in doubt, work it out on a piece of paper.

4. ParaPark Sydney

Things to do Macquarie Park

Mission: Horrifying sounds echo through the room. We have to navigate a haunted space to collect clues and follow a breadcrumb trail to escape. It’s all hands on deck, but we’re solving brain-teasers faster than Scooby Doo and the Mystery Gang.

Outcome: Success!
Atmosphere: 
Creativity of puzzles: 
Difficulty: 
Fun:
Best quote: “Tell me that doll didn’t just move!” 
Our tip: If you find something that doesn’t seem to fit, it’ll probably come in handy later.

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5. Paniq Room

Things to do The Rocks

Mission: 60 minutes on the clock. Two players in one cell, two in another, our first challenge is to locate the one key that’ll free us all so we can continue the game. There are padlocked cabinets, exercise equipment, lads’ mags and a chessboard – red herrings? Or the keys to freedom?

Outcome: Failed
Atmosphere: 
Creativity of puzzles: 
Difficulty: 
Fun:
Best quote: “Maybe the answers are in the Bible?” 
Our tip: Communication is key. Talk with the players in the neighbouring cell and share as much information as possible.

6. The Enigma Room: In Memoriam

Things to do Sydney

Mission: A doctor tells us that we’re entering the mind of a woman who is in a coma. We must relive her memories to have any hope of saving her future. The clock is ticking. 

Outcome: Failed 
Atmosphere: 
Creativity of puzzles: 
Difficulty: 
Fun: 

Best quote: “Be still? My beating heart?” 
Our tip: Sometimes the simplest of solutions are the ones that work. 

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7. Mission Sydney

Things to do Sydney

Mission: Blindfolded and led into the Vampire Room, we're told to clasp our hands onto the metal rail. “Don’t look,” she says. “Not until I leave the room.” Hot with anticipation we rip off the blindfolds to face an empty bed – a vampire’s cloak laid out on the sheets. One player gives out a shriek. We’ve entered a medieval castle and we need to solve the supernatural mystery. 

Outcome: Success! 
Atmosphere:
Creativity of puzzles: 
Difficulty: 
Fun: 
Best quote: “You put it into her hands. I’m not doing it!” 
Our tip: Any more than three people in this room would feel crowded.

8. Escape Hunt

Things to do Sydney

Mission: They’ve tailored the themes to attract Sydney’s tourists, with rooms based on crime-riddled stories of the city. There’s Robbery in the Cottage, set in the Rocks during the 1900s; Murder in the Pub, a nod to the historic hotels around the city; and Extortion in the Dockyard, the story of an adulterous captain who wants to protect his reputation. We opt to set sail into the latter.

Outcome: Failed
Atmosphere: 
Creativity of puzzles: 
Difficulty: 
Fun: 
Best quote: “I’m not sure I’m morally down with helping out this cheating scoundrel” 
Our tip: Look at everything. Then look again.

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CT Adventure Escape Room
Photograph: Supplied

9. CT Adventure Escape Room

Things to do Games and hobbies Sydney

Mission: We have 60 minutes to work our way through the puzzles in a museum heist to eventually retrieve the ‘T’. There'll be laser beams, codes to disarm and a terrifying video message to decifer. 

Outcome: Failed
Atmosphere: ✮✮✮
Creativity of puzzles: ✮✮✮✮
Difficulty: ✮✮✮
Fun: 
✮✮✮

Best quote: “This room isn’t made for short people.”
Our tip: Listen to that videotape very carefully.

10. Social Escape

Things to do Games and hobbies Alexandria

Find the airport tickets to ‘escape Paris’, solve a murder mystery on Baker Street, or catch the crims in a bank heist.

Time Out has not yet reviewed this escape room

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11. Labyrinth

Things to do Games and hobbies Parramatta

Parramatta’s first escape room will have you outsmarting a mad scientist, finding a missing asylum patient and joining a Mexican Cartel.

Time Out has not yet reviewed this escape room. 

12. Cubescape

Things to do Games and hobbies Moore Park

There are escape rooms at Strike Bowling in EQ and at King Street Wharf. These ones are so clever they give you hints in real time.

Time Out has not yet reviewed this escape room. 

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Generic Mayan stone carving
Photograph: Kim Alaniz

13. Break the Code

Things to do Games and hobbies Haymarket

Your first challenge is to find the new escape room venue Break the Code, hidden down a laneway in Haymarket. Your second challenge is to assemble a crackpot team of Indiana Jones wannabes who don’t mind being locked in a room together for 60 minutes as you stumble through physical and mind-bending puzzles.

Time Out has not yet reviewed this escape room. 

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