A teenage tourist was rescued after spending two days stranded in the Tararua Range.

The 19-year-old called police from Mt Atkinson on the Tararua Crossing on Sunday afternoon after getting stuck in bad weather.

Search and Rescue successfully reached him by helicopter yesterday morning.

Initially SAR wasn't able to reach the man due to high winds, sleet, and dropping temperatures.

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They told the tourist to find his way back to Kime Hut where there would be food and warmth, and wait for conditions to improve enough for help to arrive.

Wellington District Search and Rescue Coordinator Sergeant Anthony Harmer said his thanks goes to the skill and efforts of SAR staff and LandSAR volunteers who were prepared to put themselves into the hills to save a life.

"New Zealand alpine conditions are often underestimated.

"It's not clear if the young man knew how close he was to real danger."

Harmer said it was important for tourists to remember walking and tramping in New Zealand can be very different to other countries.