An overseas tramper working off an out-of-date map has been found alive after she took a wrong turn and spent three days wandering alone in the bush.
The 43-year-old Dutch woman was found yesterday afternoon on the mountainous Croesus Track, on a closed section of the adjoining Moonlight Track.
"She spent three days wandering around confused. Luckily she had the basics with her," West Coast police search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Sean Judd said.
"She was able to find shelter at night and had a sleeping bag for warmth."
The woman became disorientated during a two-day trek over the Paparoa Range, separated from her tramping companion and failed to rendezvous on Monday. A search was launched that night and more ground search and rescue teams were sent into the mountains yesterday morning.
Fortunately she was carrying a one-person "bivy" - or tent - which she erected at night for shelter.
"Greymouth search and rescue squad members had a good talk with the woman when she was found."
Mr Judd said some people underestimated the Croesus Track, between Blackball and Barrytown, as a low level walk.
"But it is open in the tops and if the cloud comes in, which it did in this instance, it can be a difficult area to navigate, especially for people without a lot of experience."
He stressed the need for trampers to carry with them up-to-date maps, and navigational aids such as a compass and GPS.
"This was a classic example of someone being on a track alone, without very much experience who did not have all the necessary skills."
The woman did not need medical care.
"We were very lucky we found her safe and well," Mr Judd said.
- The Greymouth Star