A trio of trampers is believed to have spent last night in the bush after getting lost on a walk to some caves.
The party had arrived at the Karamea Hut on the Heaphy Track earlier in the day before making their way into the bush later in the evening to look at some caves.
It's believed the group then became lost in the darkness, so the trampers activated a personal locator beacon.
However, low cloud prevented a rescue helicopter from picking them up.
It's believed they spent a night outside before returning to the hut this morning.
Rescue Co-ordination Centre search and rescue officer John Ashby said people who used beacons needed to be careful when they activated them.
"We have still got to be careful how we use beacons. They are designed to be used in a stressful situation, what we call imminent danger.
"I guess everyone has different levels of distress or discomfort. I wouldn't say they were in imminent danger".
- Westport News