Tourist rescued after overnight mission

man hiking in fiordland
The man was winched out with a helicopter (Getty)

A 20-year-old French tourist has been rescued after falling down a steep ravine in rugged Fiordland terrain.

The search-and-rescue operation took over 12 hours, with teams eventually helicoptering the man out of the area.

The tourist went alone into the bush off Milford Rd for a day walk at about 2pm Saturday. Police say he was reported missing by friends at around 8:15pm.

Te Anau Police initiated a search, and a team of four LandSAR volunteers were sent into the area.

Sergeant Tod Hollebon, from Te Anau police says the area they were searching was steep, with difficult terrain.

"The search party located the man around 1:30am this morning, however could not physically reach him."

He said they called to the man down the ravine, and waved torches to contact him.

The darkness and steepness of the vertical bluffs meant a rescue attempt would be too dangerous, so they waited until daylight this morning.

They scooped the man out of the ravine using a helicopter, long line and net. 

"The experienced search team did a great job locating him last night, and assisting the helicopter this morning" Sgt Hollebon says.

"The terrain was incredibly steep where the lost walker had gone down, and it is quite remarkable he got into the position he was in without falling and seriously injuring himself, or worse."

The tourist is recovering after a "head knock", and appears "to be very relieved".

Sergeant Hollebbon says events such as these are a good time to remind people to take extra care when venturing into the outdoors.

"It's important to ensure that you are well-prepared with warm clothing, food, and a communications device such as an EPIRB (personal locator beacon), as cellphone coverage can become unreliable."