Woman and four-year-old son found after getting lost in Lower Hutt's eastern hills
A woman and her four-year-old son have been found by search and rescue, after getting lost while taking an afternoon walk on the Te Whiti firebreak track in Lower Hutt.
Police said they received a call from the woman at 4pm on Sunday to say she was lost.
Search and rescue had made their way up the track to look for the pair, and found them just before 6pm.
The mother and her son walked out of the hills with their rescuers and arrived in Wainuiomata just after 6.45pm
Constable Cam Ellis said the woman did everything right but the incident was a reminder to always expect the unexpected.
The pair had walked up a reasonably easy track but decided to return home another way.
The four year-old struggled on a very steep section and the mother rang 111 when she could see they were not going to get out.
When the police found them they were "tired and worried" and very pleased to see help arrive.
The youngster got carried out on their shoulders and then enjoyed a ride in a waiting fire truck.
Ellis said the mother did the "smart thing" by ringing 111 and she also did well to follow the instructions given to her by the operators.
Constable Hamish Knight said people heading for a walk needed to always know their limits and be prepared for all circumstances.
He was also grateful to the Wainuiomata Rural Fire Force, which provided transport and support.
Knight sad he was heading home, having missed a family dinner and a glass of red wine.
According to MetService the temperature in Lower Hutt at 5pm was 12degC.
Mountain Safety Council chief executive Mike Daisley said the trails the pair would have been on were reasonably well marked, but there were trails that park rangers and volunteers used to lay pest traps.
In the low light, those could easily be confusing and might send someone in the wrong direction.
Daisley said it was great the woman and her son had been found.
While the cold and dark conditions were unpleasant they were survivable had they remained missing for longer.
Taking extra snacks like scroggin or muesli bars, and a spare windbreaker, was always recommended, even on short, very achievable day walks with the family, Daisley said.
In New Zealand's dense bush it was very easy to lose a track once it had been left. The Te Whiti track was a great place to go with the family, but this example did show how easy it was to get lost, he added.