A tourist lost on Mt Ruapehu on Saturday night used his cellphone to text his family in Greece to guide searchers to him.
Marios Symeonidis, 30, was found at 10am yesterday on the Bruce Road up the mountain.
He had become separated from a friend at 6.30pm during what was meant to be a short walk, said Senior Sergeant Marty Edghill of the Central Communications Centre.
He was not equipped for a night in the open. After three hours he texted his family in Greece saying he was lost but unharmed.
At one point, he told them he could see a police vehicle on the mountain but could not reach it because it was on the other side of a swiftly flowing stream which he was following.
His family contacted the Greek emergency services as text messages came in and the information was passed on to police in New Zealand.
“It was a good option to use his cellphone,” said search and rescue controller John Pitchford. “He was not injured but he was hungry – he ate all of the chocolate and muesli bars out of my pack and most of my water. He is happier now he is back with his mate and they have driven off to catch the ferry to go to the South Island.”