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La Rebellion at the Cipher Room
Photograph: Tim Clapham

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

Written by
Emma Joyce
,
Maxim Boon
&
Olivia Gee
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Could you save the world, catch a killer, escape a vampire or bring down a tyrant – in one hour or less? Those are just a handful of the nail-biting missions you can take on at Sydney's exciting array of escape rooms.

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 the senses, demanding a variety of problem-solving skills, teamwork and deductive logic to conquer. 

The Time Out team has tested their mettle at some of the most challenging and immersive 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 again at these splendid spas.

Escape rooms in Sydney

  • 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...

  • 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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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • St Peters

Mission: The concept is an old toy shop whose owner has vanished. Yes, you guessed it: there are creepy dolls and clowns galore. Props include beloved childhood books, cars, trains, toy soldiers and teddy bears, all of them seemingly quaint at first but gradually taking on a more sinister dimension. The storyline builds in intensity as players progress through the puzzles, ending in a demonic event that is an extraordinary coup de theatre.  

Outcome: Success!
Atmosphere: 
✮✮✮✮
Creativity of puzzles: ✮✮✮✮
Difficulty: ✮✮✮✮
Fun: ✮✮✮✮
Best quote: “I’m not putting my hand in there!”
Our tip: What's outside the window?  

  • Attractions
  • St Peters

Mission: To overthrow an authoritarian government in the France of a dystopian near-future, follow the clever clues left by fallen brothers and sisters in arms to discover the location of a secret government bunker and steal a microchip that could bring down the whole despotic regime. But you’ll have to be tres vite – it’s 11pm and if the mission is not successful by midnight, the whole rebellion could collapse. 

Outcome: Success! 
Atmosphere: ✮✮✮✮
Creativity of puzzles: ✮✮✮✮
Difficulty: ✮✮✮✮
Fun: ✮✮✮✮
Best quote: “My serotonin levels are through the roof!"
Our tip: Don't be afraid to get in the driver's seat...

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  • Things to do
  • Sydney

Mission: An ancient, otherworldly object has been uncovered by the CIA, and your team of investigators has been tasked with unlocking its secrets – the latest conscripts to make such an attempt following the eerie disappearance of the agents who first tangled with the alien device. But where did it come from? What does it want? How will you unriddle its mysteries? You’ll have just 75 minutes to answer these questions and more, but don’t worry, you’ll also have a not-at-all deranged, totally not moody AI system with an inexplicable vendetta against Tasmania to help you. 

Outcome: Success! 
Atmosphere: ✮✮✮✮
Creativity of puzzles: ✮✮✮✮
Difficulty: ✮✮✮✮

Fun: ✮✮✮✮
Best quote: “Does anyone know 'the Robot'?"
Our tip: Everyday objects can be more remarkable than you realise.

Next Level Escape: 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.

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ParaPark Sydney: Gateway No. 9
  • 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.

Paniq Room: Supercell 119
  • 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.

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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. 

Mission Sydney: Vampire Castle
  • 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.

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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.

  • 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.

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