Czech tourist describes "harrowing" ordeal in remote New Zealand after partner's death

Pavlina Pizova survived in a warden's hut for almost a month

Czech tourist describes "harrowing" ordeal in remote New Zealand after partner's death

Pavlina Pizova and Ondrej Petr. Image: New Zealand Police

A Czech tourist - who survived for almost a month along a remote New Zealand trail after her partner died - has described the ordeal as "harrowing". 

Pavlina Pizova was found earlier this week in a warden's hut along Routeburn Track on the country's south island, around 70km from Queenstown.

The alarm had been raised after she and her partner had not been heard from since late July.

They had initially set off on their hike on July 26th.

Pavlina told a press conference that they encountered heavy snowfall and low cloud, hampering their journey.

Her partner, 27-year-old Ondrej Petr, died after apparently slipping and falling. Pavlina reached Ondrej, but was unable to help him.

She described then having to trek through waist-deep snow with no track markers.

She felt "extremely cold and exhausted" during that time, with frozen feet.

"After his death it took me another two nights out in the open before I reached the safety of the hut," she said. "I knew it was best to stay in the safe place."

"I made a few attempts to walk out from the hut, but my feet, the weather conditions and the deep snow discouraged me from doing so. At the hut I saw numerous avalanches coming down."

Vladka Kennett, who was translating during the press conference, said she did not understand herself how Pavlina managed to survive.

"I think she is a really tough woman. I think the conditions were extreme, sub-zero temperatures. She just tried to do everything to survive - tried to rub her feet, exercising her feet and hands, keep them moving."

"She tried to put everything she could find on her body and in her survival blanket," she added.

New Zealand police say they have recovered Ondrej's body from near the track.