An "unprepared" Italian man was rescued from the Remarkables mountain range by helicopter last night after getting lost, prompting a warning to all from rescuers.
The man used his cell phone to call for help and was saved by Wakatipu Alpine Cliff Rescue team members about 9pm.
They used a HET (human external transport) system, a "strop" beneath a Heliworks aircraft, to pluck him off the Queenstown mountain. Heliworks is contracted by Lakes District Air Rescue Trust.
The man was uninjured and did not need to go to hospital.
Wakatipu Alpine Cliff Rescue team leader Rupert Gardiner said he was about 500m above the main road on the west face.
"This was some guy completely unprepared and also unfamiliar with the terrain," Gardiner said.
"We're getting a few of these and it puts rescuers at risk.
"It's generally late, we have to fly around in helicopters with the light fading to try and find them - it's always a risk.''
Gardiner said the team wanted to remind people of the hazardous nature of Queenstown's hills and mountain and the need to be prepared.
"When they're going out on little day walks around the area, or whatnot, they need to go prepared with the right footwear, clothing, food and water.
"They need to check the weather forecast and only go out if it's going to be good.''
Gardiner said the weather was closing in and had the man not had a cell phone, he might not have been found so quickly, within about an hour-and-a-half.
It is believed he had walked down from the look-out.
"He'd just got himself into a spot where he was stuck - he couldn't go down further and there was no way he could go back up.
"The weather was deteriorating but luckily he was below the cloud.''
In October, two Australian climbers were rescued by helicopter from the Remarkables after spending 10 hours shivering on a ledge. Fortunately, they were much better prepared for the conditions.