12 Jan 2023

Elderly tourist among two rescued from Lake Tarawera

7:57 am on 12 January 2023
Lake Tarawera

Lake Tarawera Photo: 123RF

Two Australian tourists tramping around Lake Tarawera were rescued last night, after getting into difficulty.

Senior Constable John Fredericksen said the pair, who included a man in his 70s, did not realise the trail was one way and ended at a location that required a boat ride back.

The pair did not have adequate clothing, and sought assistance after managing to get cellphone coverage from a hill.

They managed to contact other family members who raised the alarm about 5pm.

After a few challenges with communication - including the lack of cellphone coverage - police established the pair were likely at Hot Water Beach.

The older man was able to shelter in a tent that a family had left behind, while the younger person climbed the hill to get reception.

They would have been forced to spend a cold, wet night on the shores of Lake Tarawera if they had not been brought to safety, Fredericksen said.

They were rescued by police, coastguard and search and rescue members from Hot Water Beach.

The incident has led police to remind anyone planning hikes to know their routes, understand the weather and pack enough clothing and food.

Alongside coastguard, two Rotorua police search and rescue members and two LandSAR members went to the area where the pair were, bringing them back to shore to be checked by St John and returned to family.

"A little wet but very happy for the assistance," Fredericksen said.

"It's a timely reminder for anyone planning a day walk or overnight hike to look at the Land Safety Code and follow the five simple rules to help stay safe."

  • Choose the right trip for you - learn about the route and make sure you have the skills for it
  • Understand the weather - it can change fast
  • Check the forecast and change plans if necessary
  • Pack warm clothes and extra food - prepare for bad weather and an unexpected night out
  • Share your plans and take ways to get help - telling a trusted person your trip details and taking a distress beacon can save your life