A Czech tramper who spent nearly a month alone in the bush after her partner fell down a slope to his death built her own snowshoes from vegetable baskets, in a desperate attempt to escape from her Department of Conservation (DoC) hut.
Speaking in a news conference for the first time since her ordeal, Pavlína Pížová said she was greatly affected by the severe weather conditions in the days after 27-year-old partner Ondrej Petr's death.
Ms Pížová appeared shaken as she talked about the experience, describing how she tried to make it out - but the freezing temperatures beat her back.
"I made a few attempts to walk out from the hut, but my feet, the weather conditions and the deep snow discouraged me from doing so," she said.
"At the hut, considering my physical health, the deep snow conditions, knowing there were avalanche paths ahead of me, I knew it was best to stay in the safe place."
Pavlína Pížová and Ondrej Petr (Supplied)
Ms Pížová said she spent several nights in the open after Mr Petr's death, where she "got extremely cold, exhausted and my feet were frozen".
Boots constructed by Ms Pížová while trapped in the hut (Supplied)
"The conditions were extreme, we encountered heavy snow fall and low cloud which contributed to our enforced overnighting in the open which affected our plans to reach Lake McKenzie Hut," she told reporters.
"In our attempt to reach the hut the tragic accident happened when my partner fell and died. After his death it took me another two nights out in the open before I reached the safety of the hut."
Her trek to the DoC hut was difficult because she had to walk through "deep snow" and had little idea where the track was.
Ms Pížová says she had been at the warden's hut since early August, before being rescued on Wednesday.
Interior of the warden's hut (Supplied)
Ms Pížová said the last few months had been "harrowing" for her and her partner's families due to their lack of communication with them.
She said she and her partner made many mistakes, including not carrying a locator beacon, not leaving intentions with anybody and underestimating the winter conditions on the track.
The Mackenzie Hut, where Ms Pížová spent more than three weeks (Supplied)
She said the ordeal had made her realise how important it was to seek "very good information" and "respect the winter conditions " when tramping through New Zealand's mountains.
The body of Mr Petr was recovered by search and rescue teams earlier on Friday.