A woman who managed to evade an attack by a brazen daytime sex pest says she was determined not to be the victim who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Brown's Bay mum-of-three has revealed the terrifying encounter during an afternoon walk on a popular North Shore walking track on Tuesday when she was accosted by a man making obscene sexually-explicit suggestions.
She is counting herself incredibly fortunate that an elderly walker appeared serendipitously on the isolated stretch of the Long Bay to Okura River coastal track as she fumbled with her phone to scare off the stranger.
She's now advocating for women in Auckland's northern suburbs to either walk in pairs or exercise in busy areas until the man is found.
The 42-year-old said she had no idea a passing flattering remark by a man she reckoned would easily slot into any regular group of males would lead to such a frightening episode within seconds.
"As he walked down the hill he said straight away really loudly, 'You have an amazing body' and I just chuckled and thought, "Oh, yeah, this guy's trying to be funny'."
She continued walking but looked back to check he was also still walking, something she always did when she was out alone as a safety measure.
However, he had stopped and had turned around.
"Then he called out to me, so I took my headphones out thinking he was going to ask for directions or a general question.
"He started to scratch his head and said he was high and feeling horny.
"That's when the whole thing turned for me. It happened so quickly. He continued on about my body, using explicit language. I freaked out because he knew what he was about to do."
As things took a sinister turn when the pair crossed paths, the notion of being a victim loomed large - matched by a desperate drive to escape.
"All the movies and all the things I had ever watched in my life all of a sudden became a reality and I was like, 'No, this isn't meant to happen to me, I am not meant to be the one who is in the wrong place at the wrong time'."
The woman then reached for her phone and told him to "get the hell away from me".
"I looked around me and thought there was nowhere to go. It's 500m through the nature trail and it's 500m back along the coastal track.
"Then we heard footsteps and he took off."
Shaking with fear she ran towards the man who had just come around the corner.
"I felt a lot safer at that point," she said. "I thought we should follow him and see where he was going but the elderly gentleman was very wise and suggested we go in the opposite direction."
As soon as they returned to the carpark she called police.
The woman said she had been walking the track for about three years without incident.
While she had always thought she could cope in situation like this, the reality had proved a different story.
She said she was shaking and fumbling so much she was not sure she could even find her camera. As a result she had made changes to her exercise regime.
"I would suggest to all women to take someone else with you or stay in a busy area. And keep your phone on you and know how to use your phone."
Police are appealing for anyone who may have been approached the man or witnessed similar behaviour in the area to contact them immediately.
They are also advising people to exercise with another person or group as a matter of safety, carry a phone and share details of where they intended to go and how long they expected to take.
The woman describes the man as a slimly-built Caucasian with blonde hair aged in his late 20s or early 30s.