Body of missing hiker Stephanie Simpson found

Graphic NZ Herald

Graphic NZ Herald

Searchers earlier found items including a pack and a pair of boots thought to belong to Simpson in the area, Kirkwood said.

Stephanie Simpson, 32, from Essex, is thought to have gone on a hike last weekend in Mount Aspiring National Park in the country's South Island.

Police are due to increase the search for Ms Simpson who was reported missing on Monday.

The search was narrowed down to the Fantail Falls area after police found items of interest.

Her body was found at about 1.40pm in the Pyke Creek area.

Police extended their condolences to her family at this tragic time, he said.

"However, we would like to thank those members of the public who have offered assistance".

That area has been described by police as "extremely challenging terrain".

The death will be referred to the Coroner.

According to the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council, 57 hikers, or trampers as they are called in New Zealand, died in the 10 years to June 2017, with worldwide tourists making up close to half.

Two dog teams, LandSAR staff, Alpine Cliff Rescue and a canyon search and rescue team are assisting with the search today.

Ms Simpson's brother-in-law Sam Hazelton said the family has not had any contact with her since Thursday morning.

It is believed she stayed at the Cameron Flat camping ground on Friday night before heading out along the trail the following morning where she was last spotted by fellow hikers walking alone.

He added: "She is a fun-loving, kind, determined and adventurous woman".

According to her Facebook profile, Ms Simpson moved to Wanaka in New Zealand in November 2019 where she works as a landscape gardener.

'Stephanie is very physically and mentally fit, ' Mr Hazelton said.

"She is relatively experienced in outdoor activities and has already completed a number of hikes".

Hazelton praised the efforts of New Zealand police and said they were doing everything possible to locate Simpson.

Simpson was tramping in the Mt Aspiring National Park.

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