A short walk on Mt Ruapehu turned into a cold night out on the mountain for a Greek tourist last night.

The man, 30-year-old Marios Symeonidis, was found fit and well on the Bruce Road about 10am, and police efforts to find him have been praised by the Greek ambassador in Wellington.

Police were told about 9pm yesterday that Mr Symeonidis was missing. He had become separated from a companion about 6.30pm and had not been seen since.

Senior Sergeant Marty Edghill, of police central communications, said Mr Symeonidis and his companion had only intended a short walk on Mt Ruapehu and he was not fully or well equipped for an overnight stay on the mountain.

Police immediately started a search and rescue operation.

"Overnight the missing tourist e-texted members of his family in Greece," Mr Edghill said.

"The e-texts stated that he was lost but not injured and at one point indicated that he could see a police 4 x 4 vehicle on the mountain. The e-texts indicated that he was unable to get to the police vehicle as there was a stream between him and the vehicle."

Mr Edghill said the family, who received the e-texts in Greece, were passing the information to police in New Zealand through Greek emergency services.

Four search teams, from Ruapehu Search and Rescue and Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation, were deployed onto Mt Ruapehu by foot. A helicopter from Taupo also took part in the search.

The missing tourist was found on the Bruce Road on Mt Ruapehu about 10am. Apart from being cold and tired from his experience he was otherwise fit and well. He was taken to search and rescue headquarters in the Iwikau Village.

"The Greek ambassador in Wellington communicated to the police central communications centre that he was extremely pleased with the efforts of the police and all personnel involved with the search," Mr Edghill said.

"He thanked them for their professionalism, efficiency and efforts in locating Marios."

- NZPA