Police found Stephanie Simpson's body following a search of the Pyke Creek area

Body of missing British hiker found in New Zealand

Police in New Zealand have found the body of a British hiker who went missing in the South Island after the area was hit by heavy rain and floods.

The body of Stephanie Simpson, 32, who had not been seen since she went for a hike last weekend, was found in an area called Pyke Creek, West Coast Search and Rescue sergeant Mark Kirkwood said in a statement.

"Police extend their condolences to Stephanie's family at this tragic time," Mr Kirkwood said.

Flash floods and torrential rain hit the South Island last week, leaving several hundred tourists stranded for days and forcing many residents from their homes.

It was not clear if Ms Simpson's hike at the Mount Aspiring National Park, home of one of New Zealand's highest peaks, was affected by the rain. 

"The search was extremely challenging at times, especially in consideration of the terrain," Mr Kirkwood said.

Thousands of hikers visit New Zealand every year to explore its mountains and wildlife.

In 2016, a Czech women spent nearly a month alone in a warden's hut on a remote trail on the South Island after her male partner was killed in a fall.