A Swiss tourist who was lost in the bush near Picton overnight made a nest of leaves and shouted to keep wild pigs away.
The 27-year-old woman had been on a day walk in the Essens Valley when she became lost.
Police search and rescue teams searched for her until the early hours, but did not locate her until 7.30am today.
She told rescuers she had heard them calling for her during the night, but the search teams failed to hear her responding to their calls because of river noise.
The tourist - who was lightly clothed and not equipped for a night in the bush - sent a text message to a friend in Christchurch about 5.30pm asking for help.
She told her friend she had walked to a dam and then on to the summit, but had gotten lost.
Later calls to her cellphone went unanswered.
Two search teams worked until 3.30am without tracking her down.
They resumed the search at 6.30am, with two ground teams and a search and rescue dog, finally coming across the woman walking along the track about an hour later.
Search co-ordinator, sergeant Bill Talbot, said the woman was very cold, but otherwise well.
She is now sleeping off her terrifying ordeal in the bush at a local hostel.
Sheaira Hudson, owner of Atlantis Backpackers, described how the stranded tourist had survived the night.
"She made herself a nest out of leaves to keep warm," she said.
"She had something light on but it gets very cold out there even in summer.
"Then she got frightened because she heard pigs in the bush and she shouted out "go away" at them.
"I'd be pretty scared too if I heard wild pigs.
"She also saw glow worms ... which she thought were beautiful.
"It was a pretty unique New Zealand experience."
Hudson said she was unsure how the woman had deviated from the track.
"It would be difficult to become lost because the paths are so clearly marked out," she said.
"Apparently she tried to follow a sign on a loop track and somehow went off it.
"She called her friend, but by then it was pitch dark and she couldn't see where she was."
Hudson described the experience as "one of those 'I shouldn't be alive' tales".
"She was calling to them but getting no response," Hudson said.
The woman had told Hudson she was in New Zealand studying natural disasters.
"It's a bit ironic now because she's had a natural disaster of her own," she said.
The woman is staying in Picton until Saturday, when she will return to Christchurch to stay with a friend.
"She's fine now ... just cold and tired," she said.
"She's having a big sleep which is what she needs.
"She just doesn't want her mother to find out because she'll get in trouble."