Arthur's Pass engagement - Bealey Spur track proposal moment in a drone shot
New Zealand Stories

The magnificent Arthur’s Pass engagement or the story of the Ring, my precious

July 7, 2018

There are plenty of rings in the world, but this shall be the story of a special one – my precious. Muahahaha! Okay, I’ll try to keep the ‘Lord of the Rings’ references to the minimum but can’t promise to stay away from them as they have a part in this story. Anyway, it was a long time coming and for some reason, I kept postponing this story but what a better occasion to share it than a 6 months engagement anniversary. But before we get to the Arthur’s Pass and the engagement, let’s pick up from where we have left off.

Arthur's Pass engagement

Pretty much all of the pictures in this post will be from our engagement at Bealey Spur track’s lookout.

Spoiler alert: this is going to be a cheesy/romantic/personal post. Yes, I kinda am a cheesy person, so not gonna apologize.

After leaving warm and sunny Greymouth in shorts and t-shirts we arrived at the freezing Arthur’s Pass desperately searching for those hidden merino base layers. We couldn’t even tell it got so cold until we got out of the car at the lookout point for some pictures and felt the freezing wind biting at the uncovered skin. And still, despite the cold rain and wind, we were once again extremely excited as we were finally in the mountains that we’ve been dreaming of.

Arthur's Pass Engagement - travel and lifestyle blog - still got it stories

That’s where we got out of the car and felt the freezing winds


The Avalanche Creek Campsite

The DOC campsite had a spacious shelter to hide out from the vicious weather and socialize with other travelers alike. So as soon as we settled, we went inside to enjoy our ‘fancy’ sausage and hash brown dinner accompanied by a bottle of some Riesling. Soon enough others started gathering as well and we found ourselves sharing our pots, stove, and wine with others in exchange for some stories and homemade cheesecake… mmmm… cheesecake… That’s how we met the German guy Karstein and Kiwi lady Sasha, who were both doing the Te Araroa track and were down to their last remaining 800km (the whole track is 3000km). The cheesecake was actually baked and brought to the campsite by Sasha’s parents as they were from somewhere around.

There was also a lovely Dutch girl borrowing our stove as, unfortunately, she had hers stolen from the shelter that same day. We also met a French couple, who constantly chooses to quit their jobs and travel for a half a year or more before getting back to earn some money and do the same thing all over again. As fun as it was to have some company and conversations for a change, soon everyone started looking for some time to themselves and having a tiny little bit too much of wine (a second bottle may have appeared in the picture) we also chose to head back to the van for some peace and quiet.

DJI Mavic drone - Arthur's Pass engagement - travel blog - New Zealand

One of the perks of having a drone is capturing those special moments from a different perspective

The morning after

The morning after was not the easiest as woken up by a headache and call of nature, it took a lot of strength stepping outside the van into the freezing -1C degree temperature. Lucky for us, with the sunshine the warmth came back to the mountains and soon enough it was hard to remember it was so freezing cold just a few hours ago. Knowing how precious sunny and warm days in the mountains are, we couldn’t miss out and just had to take the advantage of this incredible weather. Therefore, battling the hangover we finally set out on a hike.

Now we’ve been talking for a while about doing a multiday or at least an overnight hike, though we came to a conclusion we may not be physically ready for one (or I may not be) and chose to go for a 4-5 hours day hike this time instead and come back sometime later for the multiday one. So having researched and read about Arthur’s Pass tracks, Algirdas finally had selected for us to do the Bealey Spur track to the viewpoint and back.

Bealey Spur track

Good that we didn’t go for an overnight hike as only 20min into the track we were both already catching our breath. It may have been the heat, steep track but most probably just the wine from the night before. Thanks to the hiking polls it eventually got easier and constantly awwwwing because of the beauty all around we reached the top just in around 2,5 hours.

The Bealey Spur track begins with quite a steep walk up from the car park to the beginning of the track (~500m). That’s where you can use a bathroom in case you’re in need as the next one can only be found at the end of the track by the hut (well, we did not go to the hut as we turned around at the viewpoint peak of the track). From there the first part of the track is quite a steep climb through a beautiful New Zealand forest (thus, our loss of breath) until the path takes you into the open further going on a ridge where you have a steep gorge on your left and a slope down to the river canyon on your right. The path is covered by bushes from both sides and only occasionally the view emerges, that is until you get to the most incredible viewpoint where everything around opens up.

That’s where we knew was the spot! I thought the spot for our blog’s cover photo while Al decided it was the spot to propose to me.

And what a breathtaking, incredible view it was. I already was out of breath from the hike but the view up there just left me speechless: everywhere you turn, you’re surrounded by the mountains, seeing snowy peaks in the back and the grand Waimakariri river canyon in between. At the moment there was barely any water and it seemed like a vast river of rocks surrounded by gorgeous mountains but just with a bit of rain, it can easily flood the whole canyon. I can only imagine how magnificent it looks when the river is at its’ full flow.

The story of the ring a.k.a. the Arthur’s Pass engagement Lord of the Rings style

That was it – that is when we knew it was the spot, the right place to take the picture for our blog cover! We were so happy, excited and so overwhelmed by it all. So I was there, constructing the tripod for the camera when suddenly Algirdas grabs my hand and kneels in front of me saying all these just the right beautiful words and asking me to be his elf and embrace on this life journey together wherever it takes. Easy to say I was so astonished, shocked, overwhelmed, I dropped the tripod from my hands and thought I was asking ‘is this for real?’ multiple times, shaking my head and saying ‘yes’ but apparently that was all in my head while in reality I just shook my head, cried hugging and kissing Algirdas and never managed to say even a word, while he put the most beautiful ring on my finger.

Lord of the rings in Arthur's Pass engagement - Travel blog New Zealand

My precious has finally found me

So, yes, this was it – this was an incredible place that initially I thought will be the place for our blog cover, but now it was this moment, this place and time that forever changed its’ meaning in our heads and hearts. I guess at that moment all I could feel was pure happiness and such appreciation for life as it is – an incredible journey together which is just a beginning. In those moments I couldn’t help but relive in my mind all of our amazing moments together that has already passed and the ones that were yet to come.

Arthur's Pass engagement- still got it stories - travel blog

And that was our iconic jump of joy

So after all this time, the ring has finally found me My precious… I was waiting so long to finally use the Lord of the Rings reference and I’m so happy to do so for our Arthur’s Pass engagement surrounded by all the beauty of the Middle Earth. My precious – not the ring but my fiancé, my best friend, and love of my life. You are my strength and my weakness. You believe in me when I lose myself, you support and challenge me each day and make me want to be the best version of myself.  Even after 6 months, it is still weird to say the word ‘fiancé’, as if it still has an unfamiliar ring to it or as if I am trying to pretend something/someone I am not. So what did the engagement changed? In a way, nothing changed but at the same time, everything did and we couldn’t be more excited for all of our life together to come ahead.

And there were many incredible things ahead – just the following day traveling from Middle Earth to Narnia but you’ll have to read more about it in our next story.

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  1. Reply


    July 7, 2018

    Loved the post

    • Reply


      July 27, 2018

      Thank you! This means a lot to me and keeps me going! 😉 Greetings from NZ!


Ruta & Algirdas

We're Ruta & Algirdas - storytellers, world travelers, photography and filmmaking enthusiasts. Our best days are spent admiring planet Earth - exploring, tasting, breathing in all it has to offer. Now, after a year spent living van life in New Zealand, we're enjoying the hustle and bustle of Vietnam. Packing bags and embarking on an adventure is easier than it may seem - just have the courage.

  • Back in November we did the Tongariro Norther Circuit track and it was nothing less than glorious and felt exactly like stepping right into the #MiddleEarth. 
All those dark rocks and wastelands, steaming mountain slopes, the smell of sulfur in the air and just that feel of something bigger than you. 
Even though, we got some rain, cold winds and annoying sandfly attacks (at the first campsite by the stream), the track was mesmerizing and magical every step of the way. As beside the latter, it also offered the most beautiful night sky I've ever witnessed and the most breathtaking views. Though sadly, for all its beauty, the mountain also claimed the sacrifice of beloved #rayban sunnies. 😎

We did the track anticlockwise and if I had to choose I would do so all over again. Mostly because I prefer the solitude in our hikes and this option allowed us to enjoy it for most of the way during the 3 days on a track. Though this spot at Emerald lakes was exactly the place where we had to pass the crowds of day walkers doing the Tongariro crossing. While I have nothing against it, it is much more enjoyable wandering the mountains all by yourself (well, maybe sharing with few others) rather than walking in a crowd of hundreds  of other people (who are always always somewhere in your shot). Lucky for us, we only shared the track with others for an hour or so while passing through the crowd at the Red Crater. The crowd finally passed and we got back to our solitude of enjoying the view of Emerald Lakes, Red Crater and mountain peaks which were followed by the way down the Devil Stairs and incredible sunset with a stunning view of Taranaki at a distance. 
Anyway, I guess what I wanna say is - if you ever have a chance, go and do the Northern Circuit!
  • When I get the feeling that something's going wrong, I just take a stroll through my photos and they immediatly bring me back to those special moments when everything in the universe lined out just as it was supposed to and nothing could ever ruin it! And that's enough to just grab and hold on to that happiness that will forever be mine.
  • Well here's one more photo of this amazing lady and her heart-warming smile! I sure miss those evening strolls by the river in Hoi An where life never stops.
  • How really relative is time? 
Seems like over the past year and a half of travelling I've lived more than a decade. Yet it has been nearly 3 months since we got back home, settled in new home and started new jobs. Even though time flies by, life seems stuck at one place, like living the same day over and over again. It is hard to get over traveling and facing the steady life reality - like getting over an addiction for new exciting experiences when you itch for a new 'dose'. Yet can't deny that stability has its own perks. 
Still, funny when you think how relative time really is. Sometimes a month can fit experiences of a year and another month can fly by in an instance and you realuze that nothing really happened. Anyway, I've been gone for the past few months but I guess it was part of dealing with my post-travel blues settling in a new steady routine. 
How have you been lately?
  • Wandering those beautiful ancient streets of Hoi An, I couldn't take my eyes away from the beautiful old ladies selling water lanterns. So many stories they could tell, so many people they've met, so many troubles they've endured and yet they greet you with a wide smile from ear to ear offering to buy a wish in a form of a river lantern costing just a few cents. No matter what, every night you'll find them in their usual spot - day after day, year after year just trying to make a living. It amazes me how after all their troubles and worries, and all the rude passers by  encountered, they still manage to smile at you with all their kindness offering to buy that one lantern for a wish which eventually will help their family wishes come true, or at least will let them put a meal on a table. Even if you don't buy, don't forget to treat one another with a kindness and a smile.
  • So this one finalize my series of the camping shots I took back while doing the Tongariro Northern Circuit. 
Funny story: while I spent the night outside shooting stars, a guy came out of a nearby tent. I silently said "isn't the sky just incredible?" He got startled as appearantly didn't notice me before. Then he took a look up and said 'yeah, it really is'. After a few minutes just staring at the sky he went to the outhouse toilet and back to sleep. 
Only in the morning I heard him telling a story to his friends how he woke in the middle of the night wishing to quickly take a piss just outside the tent as was too lazy to go to the toilet. But it was when a girl out of nowhere interrupted him and made him look up at the stars. Eventually he ended up having to go to the toilet in the middle of the night but if it wasn't for me, he said he may have never seen the beauty of that incredible sky.

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