Police investigating the death of a hiking guide in Fiordland say he was exploring a new area of bush when he was killed.
Mitchell Walker, 22, of Queenstown, received fatal injuries after falling about 40 metres as he tried to descend a steep ridge near the Greenstone Track in the Livingstone Mountains.
Mr Walker was working alone for guiding company Ultimate Hikes exploring new bushland when he failed to return to the McKellar Hut on Wednesday.
A search on Thursday uncovered his body in a rugged creek bed.
Friend Matt McLean says Mr Walker was working as a guide during the university holidays and loved his job.
Mr McLean says he was an experienced and sensible guide and will be sorely missed.
Ultimate Hikes says Mr Walker was a popular and talented man and his death is a devastating loss.
The Department of Labour says it is waiting on an incident report from the guiding company before it decides whether to investigate.