Two German men were airlifted from the Tongariro Crossing in the central North Island this evening after they became lost.

Taupo's Youthtown Rescue Helicopter said it was called to Tongariro National Park about 6pm to help find the men.

With darkness approaching, the rescue crew used a mobile phone to talk to the men who were able to direct the helicopter to their location. They thenused a torch to direct the helicopter to their exact position.

"You could hear the excitement and relief in the man's voice over the phone as we go closer to them. By the time we got overhead they sounded ecstatic," pilot Nat Every said.