Four lost trampers have been found by Tauranga Land Search and Rescue crews during a training exercise yesterday.

While searching in a gully in the Kaimai Ranges around Sentinel Rock, the rescue team came across the trampers who had been using their cellphone to find their way but had lost their ability to navigate when they lost reception.

The walkers are from Auckland – three women, two aged 29 and one aged 34, as well as a 50-year-old man.

Sergeant Craig Madden says as the trampers had intended staying in the bush overnight, they would not have been reported missing until later today.


"Although they had good gear they had little experience for the circumstances they found themselves in."

Madden search teams have had several searches where the lost party had been relying on their cellphone as their only means of navigation.

"Cellphone coverage in the Kaimais is poor and even if you have a GPS, it's essential that you have a map of the area you're in."

The search team escorted the group to Motutapere Hut where they stayed overnight before being escorted out today by the rescue team.