Adult nerves were on edge and the police were called after a 5-year-old boy unexpectedly left his home in Ocean Grove, near Tomahawk, about 4pm yesterday and took a lengthy bus ride across Dunedin.

A police spokeswoman said his parents were concerned because of the house's proximity to "several bodies of water" and the fear that he could be hurt in an accident.

"Perhaps he's been watching too much Home Alone," the spokeswoman said.

"He didn't let them know about his intentions."

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Nearly two hours and apparently a change of buses later, the youngster turned up at the house of a relative in the Woodhaugh Gardens area, about 9km away.

"He was found shortly before 6pm."

It seemed he might have had to change buses to reach his destination.

"Obviously, he's fairly familiar with the bus system."

The relative immediately advised the parents that the youngster was "safe and well".

He was then returned home by his relative and police were also "absolutely" relieved that the youngster's adventure had ended safely, she said.