A sleeping bag, a can of beans and a memorised map

The actions of 25-year-old Austrian man who had to be rescued after going tramping with a sleeping bag and a can of baked beans have been labelled naive.

The man, who was wearing street shoes, jeans, a polar fleece and who counted a sleeping bag, a foam sleep roll, a can of baked beans and a sandwich among his possessions, was rescued from the Silver Peaks area, north of Dunedin, yesterday morning, LandSAR search co-ordinator Constable Don Peat, of Mosgiel, said.

At 3pm on Wednesday, the man was dropped off by two female travelling companions at the Semple Rd entrance to the track after spotting the walk on the map, which he had "committed to memory", Const Peat said.

His travelling companions left the man and promised to rendezvous with him at the ABC Caves later that night.

The women met a farmer in the afternoon who told them their plan was "mad" because it was about to get dark, Const Peat said.

With sub-alpine freezing conditions predicted, a LandSAR (Search and Rescue) team began searching for the man at 8.45pm, he said.

"The group just had no appreciation for the area or the conditions," he said.

The 35-strong LandSAR party of eight policemen and 27 volunteers located the man at 12.35am yesterday.

He had "thankfully" camped down for the night.

"The man did not think he was in any trouble, but we don't think he had an appreciation for conditions."

With low fog surrounding the area yesterday, it was a very real possibility the man could have got lost, he said.

The man was reunited with his relieved travelling companions yesterday morning, and the trio were continuing their campervan trip around the South Island, he said.

The man would not be billed for the cost of the search and rescue operation, he said.

Earlier this month, eight international students were airlifted from the Silver Peaks area, and both incidents highlighted the need to be "prepared for the conditions".

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