On Friday a group of nine visitors had to be located and guided back from a trek that was mistakenly made up Takuvaine Valley to Te Kou.
Fortunately, police were able to maintain phone contact with the group after the alarm was raised at 8.45am.
The trekkers did not know where they were, which resulted in a couple of dead-end runs by a small band of Search and Rescue officers. The group was eventually found by 11.48am.
Apparently, they had expected to be ascending to the Needle from Avatiu Valley.
Online reaction has pointed to the need to improve signs for the tracks.
One responder said: “Two years ago we locals (tried) to do Te Manga but missed the track sign as it was overgrown and did Te Rua Manga. We hiked every weekend so weren't stupid!”
Another said: “I think this calls for some noticeable signs at the bottom of the Avatiu Valley Road.”
And: “Last time I trekked The Needle there is no clear signage pointing you in the right direction.”
Another person said: “Me and my family visited recently and although I didn’t do any of the treks myself, the feedback from the family was…no junctions along the tracks are signposted! Their walk was increased by two hours while they found their way back to the intended track.”
One suggestion was to always take a guide if venturing out on a hike into the bush.