Coronet Peak Surprise Proposal

Coronet Peak Surprise Proposal – Andy & Tejas

Coronet Peak Surprise Proposal – Andy & Tejas / Fallon Photography

I wrote this Coronet Peak Surprise Proposal Blog Post to help walk you through the steps it takes to plan, book and pull-off your own Surprise Queenstown Proposal.  Hopefully you find it helpful! If you are planning your vey own Queenstown Surprise Proposal and have any questions, please comment at the bottom of this post or email me at

Coronet Peak Surprise Proposal

Epic Coronet Peak Surprise Proposal

Andy & Tejas’ Coronet Peak Surprise Proposal was windswept & epic – and totally last minute!

Shortly after sunrise on a moutain top in Queenstown, New Zealand, Andy dropped down to one knee and popped the question to Tejas.

WHEN Andy MET Tejas

Andy and Tejas had been “a thing” for 2 years now and Andy decided it was about time he popped the question.  So when they planned a trip to Queenstown, New Zealand, Andy decided it was the perfect time to propose to the love of his life.  

Who you gonna call?  (Hint: It’s not Ghost Busters).

Andy is self-admittedly somebody who leaves things to the last minute.  So with their trip to NZ and the proposal looming, Andy decided to call in a professional.

When Andy called me and told me he was planning to propose to the love of his life, I was delighted to help.  Within 24 hours we had whipped up a plan of attack for their Coronet Peak Surprise Proposal that would (hopefully) wow an un-expecting Terjas.  After all, what better way to do wow Terjas than with a Coronet Peak Surprise Proposal?

X marks the spot!

Coronet Peak

One of the more challenging aspects of surprise proposal shoots is the fact that you have to communicate to the couple where you want them to be when the person proposes.  Either that or you have to know roughly where they likely to stand and which direction they are likely to face. Now, obviously you could always just wing it. However, you’re usually trying to shoot towards the best view and also get good light so you can clearly see the couples faces.  Because of this, it is often quite crucial to have some sort of control over where they stand and which direction they will be facing. 

The above is one of the reasons I love Surprise Heli Proposals*.  I can ask the pilot to walk us over to a scenic viewing spot when we disembark from the chopper.  This is a super discrete and easy way of making sure that the couple are standing in the right spot for epic photos when the proposer drops down to one knee.  The other plus with a Queenstown Heli Proposal obviously is that you get to propose on a dramatic mountain top.

(* If you’re interested in doing a Suprise Queenstown Heli Proposal I can tee it up for you with Heliworks, one of Queenstown’s premier helicopter operators.  But even if you don’t have the budget for a Queenstown Heli Proposal (or the weather’s no good for flying), you can get to some pretty epic locations with a 2 wheel drive car and some local knowledge).

The Poor Man’s Helicopter…is a Honda Stream!

In Andy’s case, we didn’t have the luxury of a helicopter.  So, I got to the location early and arranged a cairn of stones pile of stones in the exact spot where I wanted him to propose.  I had already asked Andy to propose where the pile of stones was and to do so side on to me. (That way I would be able to see his face and Terjas’s face when he dropped down to one knee).

The build-up…

Originally we planned to do the shoot on the Saturday and the next day but the forecast was for extremely heavy rain.  So Andy and I wisely decided to bring the sheet forward to the day before. Boy were we glad we did – the weather that day was absolutely perfect, just stunning!

The spot we chose for the proposal was the Skipper’s Lookout.  This stunning spot is at the intersection of Skipper’s Canyon Road and the Coronet Peak Ski Area Road.

Skipper's Canyon Road

Queenstown’s Most Dangerous Road

A couple of notes at this point…#1 The Skipper’s Lookout is very popular with tourists.  Just before Andy & Terjas arrived, 2 small buses and about five four-wheel-drive tour vehicles pulled up and disgorged hordes of tourists.  However they only stayed for about 15 minutes and I had chosen a spot for the proposal some distance from the main spot people take photos from.  #2 Your rental car’s insurance won’t be valid on the Skipper’s Canyon Road. You only need to drive about 20 metres or so of the Skipper’s Canyon Road to get to the Lookout though so you’re probably ok if you don’t drive any further.

Skipper's Canyon Road

Whatever the weather…

It was really windy in the morning and to be honest I was a bit worried about the weather.  (If it’s windy in the valley, the wind is usually quite a lot stronger when you go up higher into the hills).  However, when I got to Skipper’s Lookout the weather was cold but beautiful – a beautiful autumn day. At this point I quickly piled up the stones at the spot I wanted Andy to propose.  Then, to make sure he could find the spot ok,

I sent Andy a Google Maps link ot the location.  To be safe, I also sent him photos of my car in my car in the car park.  I even sent him another photo with my finger pointing to the exact spot I wanted him to propose.

Hidden in plain sight.

When Andy & Terjas turned up I was in “super amateur photographer” mode.  I had a camera set up on a tripod and another in my hand.  They would have seen a tall bald man snapping away excitedly at the landscape when they arrived. I barely acknowledged their presence when they arrived but kept half an eye on them while I snapped away.  When Andy dropped down to one knee, all I had to do was point the camera in their direction.  In my experience, being “hidden in plain sight” like this is the best way of keeping the proposal a surprise.  The other option is the “lurking in the bushes” approach.  When using this approach however, it is harder to make sure that the couple proposes in the right place.  Also, how does your client know that you are there/they are in the right place if they can’t see you?

Is she onto me?

Luckily, Terjas apparently had no idea that;

  1. Andy was going to propose to her, or that
  2. I was not “some random photographer”, I was there to photograph them!

Andy dropped down to one knee at this point.  I knew straight away from Terjas’ reaction that the answer was a resounding “Yes!!”.  I was so happy for those two.

Coronet Peak Surprise Proposal

A Coronet Peak Surprise Proposal with a happy ending

After the proposal itself, we did a few shots at the Skipper’s Lookout and Skipper’s Saddle.  After that, we decided to finish up with some photos at Lake Hayes.  The autumn colours were at their peak and that combined with the lake gave us some beautiful and varied shots.

Lake Hayes Engagement


Photographer: Yours truly Fallon Photography


If you enjoyed reading about Andy & Terjas’ Coronet Peak Surprise Proposal, you will probably also love…

How to Pull Off the Most Romantic Queenstown Engagement EVER (with photos!)


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