Lost tramper in Northland found after night-time search in Waimā Forest

Waimā Forest in South Hokianga, where the search took place, is famously rugged and includes the highest peaks in Northland. Photo / Peter de Graaf

A woman has been rescued from the rugged Waimā Forest in South Hokianga following a night-time search by police and volunteers.

The tramper called police just before 7pm on Wednesday after becoming lost in the Mountain Rd area near Whirinaki.

It is understood she had been attempting the challenging walk along the tops between Waiotemarama Gorge Rd and Mountain Rd when she strayed off Six Foot Track.

She had no clothing for an overnight stay in the bush, her mobile phone was going flat, she had no torch and was carrying only limited food.


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Eight volunteers from Far North Search and Rescue joined four specially trained police from Whangārei and two local residents to carry out a ground search.

Constable Sam Davidson, of Northland police Search and Rescue, said the woman was located, cold but in good spirits, about 400m off the track at 12.20am on Thursday.

The police Eagle helicopter, which is equipped with an infrared camera, was deployed but reached the search area just as she was found.

Conditions were good but it was a cool night, about 10C, and she was “pretty happy” to be found.


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She was able to walk out to safety.

Davidson said the woman made good decisions including opting to stay put when she found a clearing.

Her description of the location helped locals identify where she was.

Police were grateful to the Far North Search and Rescue volunteers for their time and expertise, he said.

The terrain in Waimā Forest is rugged and tracks are challenging due to mud, dense bush and tree windfalls. It also boasts the highest peak in Northland, the 781-metre Te Raupua.

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