Much better than a quick snap



If you ever want to capture one of the spectacular vistas in the Queenstown Lakes district, grab a pencil, not a camera. 

“It’s a far more rewarding way to remember your holiday by than just taking a photo,” Art Adventures owner Alice Blackley says. 

“You take much more notice of all the sights, smells and colours around you when you draw something.” 

Art Adventures is the brainchild of Blackley – a successful Kiwi artist who shifted to Queenstown eight years ago for her love of the high country. 

Her passion for landscapes and art blend perfectly for her business, which offers tuition by local artists amongst Queenstown scenery. 

Our tutor for the morning is well-known painter Spike Wademan, who is already at the historic Shotover Bridge when the luxury late model Volkswagen kombi van we’re in pulls up. 

We’re each given a pack of high-quality art materials to keep, including a leather-bound Moleskin notebook, pencils and paint brush. 

At first a bit reluctant to spoil the beautiful sketch book with our rudimentary drawings, Wademan encourages us to relax and not to be afraid of making mistakes. 

Wademan takes us through essential sketching tools for finding horizon lines, vanishing points and depth of field. 

“Trust your eyes. 

“We’re used to using our eyes defensively – now is the time to use them objectively,” he says. 

After drawing the historic Ferry Hotel – and eating some of Blackley’s delicious homemade cake with tea and coffee – we head down to the walking track to sketch and paint impressions of one of Queenstown’s most impressive landmarks, Coronet Peak. 

Hours after the trip, I can still picture the shades of green, brown and grey of the mountain, the colours of the Shotover River in the middle distance and trees in the foreground. And I have the attempted artwork to accompany my memory. 

Much better than a photograph.


All you need to know
Art Adventures half day sketching excursion
Where: Locations are a surprise and change frequently
Cost: From $250 per person
Thrill-o-meter: 9/10 … it’s sedentary but still a thrill
Book it: or 442 3678