A Katikati couple who became lost in one of New Zealand's most popular tramping spots has prompted a warning from police.
The 63-year-old man and 59-year-old woman set off an emergency locator beacon after they got into trouble while tramping in the South Island at the weekend.
The beacon was set off about 1.30pm on Saturday from the top of the Gillespie Pass in Mount Aspiring National Park.
The Rescue Coordination Centre rushed to help with two Search and Rescue teams deployed from Wanaka and helicopters sent to the scene.
However, extreme winds meant the helicopter could not land and one rescue team was dropped close to 10km away.
After covering challenging terrain on foot, rescue staff located the trampers.
The pair were suffering from hypothermia and were lying down to try to escape the wind and rain, said Constable Deane Harbison from the Wanaka Police Search and Rescue.
Rescue teams helped the trampers reach Young Hut by about 10pm before taking them back to the mainland the next morning.
The pair were commended for getting a locator beacon and checking the conditions, however this was a reminder of the unpredictable conditions, he said.
"Whether it's a multi-day tramp or a day walk, prepare for all conditions, properly equip yourself and tell someone about it."
He said the conditions were very capable of causing hypothermia even in the middle of summer.
Things to remember before heading out:
- Plan your trip: seek local advice and knowledge if you are unfamiliar with terrain and conditions, and thoroughly plan your route before heading out.
- Tell someone where you are going, and let them know when to raise the alarm if you don't return.
- Beware of the weather: our weather is very unpredictable and can deteriorate quickly.
Check the forecast and expect weather changes.
- Know your limits: don't push your physical limits and experience in unfamiliar or dangerous terrain.
- Take the right supplies and equipment: make sure you have the right clothing for the conditions, and emergency rations for the worst case scenario.
- Take appropriate means of communication.
Source: NZ Police