Wollongong “funpreneurs” Brett Baker and Colin Bloomfield believe they have the key to fun in the city centre with new themed escape rooms offering adventure in West Crown Street opening in September.
Their Funscape development called Breakout includes a cocktail bar, food and karaoke rooms and will be larger and unlike anything else in Australia.
Work starts this week on the adventure centre that will bring a new level of excitement, activity and adventure to the city centre when it opens in Spring.
“Escape Rooms are starting to make an appearance in Sydney and Melbourne. But they are usually quite small venues. What we are going to create is a large venue with a large narrative. Something people haven’t seen before,” Mr Baker said.
“It is a themed room. It might be Tutankhamen’s tomb or da Vinci’s office. Rather than being locked in it is about transporting people to another place and time.
“Then they need to solve clues and puzzles to complete a task. It can be a mix of number based problems and physical practical problems. They progress through the game to escape the room. It is about problem solving teamwork. It involves great team building and cooperation activity. It is very engaging.”
The former coal miners are business partners in a company called Funscape which is wasting no time proceeding with plans after having their development application approved by Wollongong City Council this week.
They are redeveloping a 500 square metre site on the second level of Howarths Excelsior Hall directly beneath Kneading Ruby..
Escape rooms first appeared in Romania four years ago. Mr Baker said what was happening in Australia was a slightly different concept. He said it was a new activity that was popular for small groups. It is the kind of game many people do online “but this is about getting them out in a social setting away from a computer and cooperating with each other face to face to complete objectives”.
Mr Bloomfield said the fit-out will take three months. We are aiming for a September opening.
What we are going to create is a large venue with a large narrative. Something people haven’t seen before
“We think it will create somewhere between 15 to 20 casual jobs”.
Entry will be via Crown Street and true to the name of their Funscape business name the Breakout escape rooms will be full of fun and adventure.
At Breakout one of the first themes to explore in September will include Egyptian style Tutankhamen tomb.
“The name of our business Funscape is all about creating places where people have fun,” Mr Bloomfield said.
Breakout in Wollongong city centre will be Mr Baker and Mr Bloomfield’s fifth adventure centre. They opened their fourth venue on Monday with a Revolution Laser Arena in Narellan.
The activity centre entrepreneurs have a Revolution Laser Arena and Hangtime Trampoline Park in Coniston as well as the Hangdog Climbing Gym in Auburn St, Wollongong.
The Narellan opening is the start of their plan to roll out activity centres further afield to other parts of Australia.
But their immediate focus is squarely on providing a place for people to escape in the Wollongong CBD.