Police urge trampers to be cautious after nail-biting rescue from Mt Aspiring

Closeup of female legs hiking on a beautiful summer day.
Photo credit: Getty

Trampers heading into New Zealand's wilderness have been urged to check the weather conditions beforehand.

Police have appealed to the public and asked any hikers always check the forecast and ensure they are well-prepared before setting off into the great outdoors.

It follows a nail-biting search and rescue operation for two trampers who got into trouble at the top of Gillespie Pass in Mt Aspiring National Park.

At 1:30pm on Saturday the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) received an emergency locator beacon signal from the pass. 

A 63-year-old man and a 59-year-old woman from Katikati were in trouble at the top of the mountain. 

The RCC immediately set out but extreme wind stopped the helicopter from landing and forced the rescue team to be dropped 9 kilometres away from the locator signal.

"After covering challenging terrain on foot, rescue staff located the trampers," read a police statement on Tuesday.

The pair of trampers were suffering from hypothermia and lying down to attempt to shelter from the wind and rain. 

"While we commend the trampers for hiring a locator beacon and checking the weather forecast thoroughly this is an example of how changeable the conditions can be," said Constable Deane Harbison of Wanaka police search and rescue.

"Police encourage caution and respect for the conditions as they can cause hypothermia even in summer, whether it's a multi-day tramp or a day walk, prepare for all conditions, properly equip yourself and tell someone about it."

Police recommend always seeking local advice and knowledge if you are unfamiliar with conditions.

"Beware of the weather: our weather is very unpredictable and can deteriorate quickly."

They also recommend telling someone where you are going, so they can raise the alarm if you fail to return on time. 

Police also stress the need to be fully prepared.

"Take the right supplies and equipment - make sure you have the right clothing for the conditions and emergency rations for the worst case scenario."