Family 'desperate for information' about British backpacker missing in New Zealand

Charlotte Lomas, news correspondent
·2-min read
Stephanie Simpson was last seen on Friday

The family of a "kind and fun-loving" British backpacker missing in New Zealand have said they are "desperate for information" after she was last seen on Friday.

Stephanie Simpson, 32, from Essex, planned to go hiking at Mount Aspiring National Park on the South Island over the weekend.

Friends last heard from her on Friday when she told them she was going to attempt a four-hour challenging hike to visit the Blue Pools and then do the Brewster Track.

The alarm was raised when she didn't turn up to her landscaping job on Monday.

A desperate search has been under way on the ground and by helicopter but so far Ms Simpson has not been found.

Brother-in-law Sam Hazelton told Sky News: "The last time the family heard from Stephanie was on the family WhatsApp group early on Thursday morning.

"She contacted her friends after that on the Friday to say she was going hiking and camping.

"This was something Stephanie would do most weekends, it was her main reason for staying in Wanaka in New Zealand as it offered so many different trails.

"Stephanie is very competent and physically fit. She is relatively experienced in outdoor activities and has already completed a number of hikes. She is such a fun-loving, kind, determined and adventurous woman, we are asking anyone who might know anything to please get in touch with police.

"We are all so worried and desperate for information.

"The New Zealand police have said there have been two sightings of her on the trail but we don't know the source of the information or have any further details."

Ms Simpson has been living in New Zealand since October after travelling around Australia.

It is thought she went hiking alone.

Her parents are flying out to New Zealand to help with the search.

Heavy rains have caused flooding around the national park where Ms Simpson was thought to have planned to walk, and where two hikers were found dead in a swollen river on Friday.

Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK