Lucy Solomon, 62, a grandmother from Turangi, believed she was dreaming when, after she went four days and three nights without food, searchers discovered her, The Dominion Post of Wellington reported Wednesday.
"I was starting to hallucinate. ... I don't think I could have lasted another night, Solomon said, adding that she knew she would live as long as she had water.
Solomon got lost Saturday with her companion's dog in the Kaimanawa Forest Park when her companion went off hunting. The two had agreed to meet back at their campsite that night, but the dog took her off the path that led back to the campsite.
Over the next four days, Solomon and the dog trekked through dense bush and over rocks until they were found a little over a mile from the campsite, although they had probably walked a circuitous route of about 6 miles, said Senior Constable Barry Shepherd, the search coordinator.
After police were alerted that Solomon was missing, a hunt began Monday and by Tuesday, footprints and dog prints near the river were found, which led searchers to Solomon, police said.
"It was a successful outcome, but we are a little disappointed we were not alerted sooner."
Solomon was not injured and was examined at a hospital, the Post reported.