Two tourists had all their possessions stolen in a "disgusting act of dishonesty" when a motorist who had given them a ride took off with their gear still in the car boot.
Police said the tourists had been hitchhiking on State Highway 1 at Hamilton when the driver of grey four-door sedan stopped to give them a lift.
The driver dropped them off at the Keeley's Landing rest area south off Cambridge about 3pm today.
But before the tourists could retrieve their backpacks from the boot, the car drove off.
Senior Sergeant Andrew Reilly of Waikato police said the tourists believed it was an intentional act.
He described it as a "disgusting act of dishonesty" which had affected the tourists' travel plans.
Police are now calling for any information that could lead to the identity of the offenders or the recovery of the tourists' property.
The car's driver a passenger were described as male Caucasians with brown hair, both of whom were smokers. The vehicle was a grey four-door sedan with a registration plate starting with 'C'.
One of the backpacks was a blue Osprey-branded 75-litre pack covered by green rain cape.
The other was a red Deuter-branded 65-litre pack with a blue rain cape.
Anyone with information could contact Waikato police on 07 858 6200 or the Crimestoppers organisation, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.