The best escape rooms in Sydney

The door is locked and the clock is ticking...
Woman in the corner of an escape room with a clue
Photograph: Supplied
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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 a variety of 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 the challenge of visiting all the escape rooms in 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 yoga studios.

Escape rooms in Sydney

1
The Cipher Room Espionage escape room
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Games and hobbies

The Cipher Room

icon-location-pin 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.

2
Next Level Escape Room 01
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Next Level

icon-location-pin Sydney

Mission: Ex Libris 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.

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3
ParaPark Sydney
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ParaPark Sydney

icon-location-pin 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.

4
Inside escape rooms at Second Telling Missions
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Second Telling Missions

icon-location-pin Newtown

It’s 1943 and you’re members of a resistance group called the White Rose seeking to topple the Nazi regime. Posing as technicians, your task is to capture the enigma machine: a cipher mechanism that is the key to understanding and exploiting German communications. This could be the turning point of the war. It’s also the premise for Newtown’s live action escape room, Second Telling Missions. 

Outcome: Success!
Atmosphere: ✮✮✮✮✮
Creativity of puzzles: ✮✮✮✮
Difficulty: ✮✮✮✮
Fun: ✮✮✮✮✮
Best quote: “That’s not the way my mother taught me.”
Our tip: Save time for more code breaking behind the locked door.

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5
Paniq_room--handcuff.jpg
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Paniq Room

icon-location-pin 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
Things to do

The Enigma Room

icon-location-pin 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 works.

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7
CT Adventure Escape Room
Photograph: Supplied
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CT Adventure Escape Room

icon-location-pin 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.

8
escapism--investigation+arm.jpg
Things to do

Escapism

icon-location-pin Darling Harbour

Mission: Get out, before the butcher returns. The puzzles in this Saw-like murder cabin take lateral thinking, brainstorming and a lot of guess work. But it's also one of the easiest introductory rooms for beginners. 

Outcome: Success!
Atmosphere:
Creativity of puzzles: 
Difficulty: 
Fun: 
Best quote: “I’d never make it out alive in real life” 
Our tip: If something doesn’t work, keep looking. Split up and search the room.

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9
Mission Sydney
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Mission Sydney

icon-location-pin 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.

10
Clocklocked
Things to do

Clocklocked

icon-location-pin Ultimo

Mission: Uncover the truth behind an ancient conspiracy theory. Clues are numbered according to how you should play them. No blindfolds or scare tactics, we enter a fully lit room to find ourselves in ancient Rome. Our challenge is to decipher the codes before the pope returns. Mona Lisa proffers a judgmental stare.

Outcome: Failed 
Atmosphere:  
Creativity of puzzles: 
Difficulty: 
Fun: 
Best quote: “Maybe it spells Avicii? I mean, Da Vinci.” 
Our tip: First-time exit roomers, beware: this is a challenge for more experienced gamers.

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11
The Escape Hunt Experience
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The Escape Hunt Experience

icon-location-pin 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; there’s 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. Our games master hints that we should search through the hessian sacks to get going – but it’s not long before we call him back to help us out with some mental arithmetic. 

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.

12
Generic mystery escape room
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Social Escape

icon-location-pin 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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13
Generic crime scene
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Labyrinth

icon-location-pin 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. 

14
escapism--lock.jpg
Things to do, Games and hobbies

Cubescape

icon-location-pin Moore Park

There’s an escape room at Strike Bowling in EQ. It’s a room so clever it gives you hints in real time.

Time Out has not yet reviewed this escape room. 

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15
Generic Mayan stone carving
Photograph: Kim Alaniz
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Break the Code

icon-location-pin 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. 

Find more indoor adventures

A generic image of a man sitting at a bench with an umbrella whi
Photograph: Andreas Andersson
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