The private search for missing Israeli tourist Liat Okin was about to be abandoned when items belonging to her were discovered in Fiordland bush yesterday.
A body believed to be that of Ms Okin was recovered today from rugged bush off the Routeburn Track and flown to Queenstown before being taken to Dunedin for a post-mortem examination.
Searchers focused on the area in question after her backpack and shoes were found nearby.
Police said Ms Okin's gear was found about 600 metres off the track and the body was about another 100 metres away.
Queenstown-based Israeli Shai Lanuel, who was part of the private search team organised by Ms Okin's brother, Itamar Tas, said the search would have been called off yesterday had the items not been found.
He told NZPA searchers were likely to have had another attempt at locating Ms Okin in spring or summer.
The 35-year-old was last seen at the Mackenzie Hut on the Routeburn Track on March 26.
A police search failed to find any trace of her and a private search was launched on April 24.
Mr Lanuel said he couldn't speak for Ms Okin's family but considered police had done all they could with their search efforts.
"It's a huge area and it was anybody's guess where she could be," he said.
The private search team, anywhere from six to 16-strong, at times included police search and rescue members, a dog handler and locals with area knowledge.
Mr Lanuel said the search had been a financial drain and praised all involved, including the Department of Conservation , which had provided accommodation and permitted the private search to be undertaken.