Woman lived on Weet-Bix in hut for nine days

A 20-year-old Australian woman survived on Weet-Bix for nine days in a mountain hut after her strength failed her while tramping the arduous Motatapu Track, between Wanaka and Arrowtown.

The Adelaide backpacker was rescued from the Highland Creek hut by police yesterday, after being stranded for nine days.

Wanaka LandSAR co-ordinator Sergeant Aaron Nicholson said the tourist was "totally unprepared" for the four-day tramp.

She had been backpacking around New Zealand for about six months and had never been on a tramp before.

She decided to tackle the demanding 34km trek "to get to Queenstown", setting out on January 9, Sgt Nicholson said.

At the Highland Hut, about halfway, she realised she did not have the necessary equipment, rations, or strength to complete her journey.

"She didn't have correct footwear or enough food. But she did the right thing by staying put," he said.

The woman had survived on powdered milk and Weet-Bix, after she realised she did not have enough food to last her for the tramp out.

The "naive and inexperienced" woman "was hoping for divine intervention", Sgt Nicholson said.

A tramper heading to Arrowtown had stayed at Highland Creek on January 11.

When he walked back along the track returning to Glendhu Bay, the woman was still in the hut on January 19.

He notified Wanaka police of the woman's predicament, Sgt Nicholson said.

Asked why no-one else had noticed the stranded woman on what is considered one of the Department of Conservation's popular tracks, Sgt Nicholson said the woman was not in a distressed state.

"It wasn't like she was panicking, or anything," he said.

Sgt Nicholson trekked the 13km yesterday morning to recover the woman.

She had no knowledge about signing Doc hut books, signalling her intentions to others, or notifying anyone about her tramp, he said.

After a "good talk about what she had done" and some food, the pair had walked out to Glendhu Bay.

The woman did not need medical attention, but was exhausted, hungry, and in need of a "good rest", Sgt Nicholson said.