A Belgian tourist has been found safe after separating from his group in the Dore Pass, Milford Track area with limited suitable gear and no means of emergency communication.

The tourist separated from the rest of his group while crossing the “challenging” Dore Pass on Wednesday last week.

“The male deviated from his plan, and efforts by his party to reunite with him on Saturday were unsuccessful,” a police spokesperson said.

Police search and rescue teams from the Southland and Fiordland Land Search and Rescue Groups started looking for the man on Sunday morning, with help from Southern Lakes Helicopters and a local boat charter company.

“Fortunately”, the man was found on Sunday at Clinton Hut and taken to Te Anau Medical Centre with a minor knee injury, police said.

Sergeant Alun Griffiths said the man was “extremely lucky” as the outcome could have been much worse.

“Dore Pass is a challenging route that requires route-finding skills, river crossing and alpine experience,” Griffiths said.

“Attempting this type of activity in street shoes, limited suitable gear, and no means of emergency communication does not end well. This man is extremely lucky the outcome was not worse.”

Griffiths offered advice to anybody attempting similar hikes.

“It is important to remember to note your intentions in hut books, advise people of your route and stick to that plan.

“These basic precautions are designed to keep you safe and are vital if the weather should deteriorate or you are injured.

“Nature can be unforgiving, and the consequences of heading into the bush unprepared can be fatal.”

Griffiths said it was “essential to be prepared” before heading out on a trail in an alpine environment.

“Before you go for a tramp or walk in the great outdoors, let family and/or friends know where you’re going and when to expect you back.

“You can also use Mountain Safety Council’s free planning app Plan My Walk to leave your intentions.

“Alternatively, leave a date and time to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned using the Outdoors Intentions form.”

Police recommended that hikers buy an emergency locator beacon, take weather forecasts seriously, research the area and know what they’re getting into, and ensure they have the correct clothing for the environment.