New Zealand Police are asking anyone with information to come forward about a hiker who went missing in Mount Aspiring National Park. The British woman, 32-year-old Stephanie Simpson from Essex, was reported missing on Monday. She was last seen by friends on Friday.

The park is described as the most pristine and untouched national park in New Zealand by The Road Trip, an online travel site. A haven for hikers and backpackers, the park features many tracks and mountain trails. The summit of Mt. Aspiring is nearly 10,000 feet in elevation.

According to her Facebook page, Simpson had been living in Wanaka, a resort town about 25 miles southeast of Mt. Aspiring and had found work as a landscaper. On Friday, she told friends she was going to hike about four hours to visit some deep river pools known as the Blue Pools and then hike the Brewster Track, a difficult 3.3-mile (5.3 km) trail that ascends about 3,000 feet.

Her family described the woman, who had been living in New Zealand since July, as "kind and fun-loving" and said they were "desperate for information" as to her whereabouts. Her 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 Friday to say she was going hiking and camping.”

Hazelton continued, "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.”  

Hazelton said a search was underway on the ground and by helicopter and that there were two unsubstantiated sightings of her on the trail. It is thought she started her hike alone.

Simpson’s parents are en route to New Zealand to assist in the search while a sister, Natalie Hazelton, posted thank you messages on Facebook to supporters.

New Zealand Police are planning to use drones with thermal imaging on Wednesday, along with the search teams and a helicopter. The Police commented, "It is a large search area and much of it is difficult terrain."

On Friday when Simpson was last seen, two other hikers were found dead in a swollen river caused by heavy rains near where she might have been planning to walk.