SEARCH teams are focusing on a 24km mountainous area as they bid to find missing hiker Stephanie Simpson. 

Miss Simpson told friends on Friday she was going hiking over the weekend at Mount Aspiring National Park on the South Island of New Zealand.

Southend Standard:

Missing - the 32-year-old is understood to be from Langdon Hills and has links to Southend and Leigh

The 32-year-old is understood to be from Langdon Hills and has links to Southend and Leigh. 

The alarm was raised when Miss Simpson failed to turn up at her landscaping job on Monday. 

A New Zealand Police spokesman said this morning: "The search for missing tramper Stephanie Simpson in Mt Aspiring National Park continues today.

"Search teams remained out in the area overnight.

"This morning drones with thermal imaging will be deployed, along with search teams, including local LandSAR, and a helicopter.

"The search continues to focus on the area from Fantail Falls to Mt Brewster, the Brewster Hut and Mt Armstrong track, and also Makarora Valley.

"It is a large search area and much of it is difficult terrain.

"Police continue to appeal to hear from anyone who stayed in the Cameron Flat area on Friday and saw or spoke to Stephanie, or anyone who may have seen her on the track from Fantail Falls to Mt Armstrong, or in Makarora Valley."

Sergeant Mark Kirkwood, who is in charge of the search, told the New Zealand Herald, it is believed Miss Simpson went travelling with just a day pack.

He also said overnight temperatures have not been cold.

It's understood Ms Simpson did not take a search beacon with her.