Seven-year-old Marley Aplin said she “hugged up” with her friend to keep warm while spending the night lost in freezing bushland in central-west NSW.
The pair had been camping with one of the girl’s families when they went missing from the bank of a fast-flowing creek at Ophir Reserve, about 25 kilometres north of Orange, on Saturday afternoon.
The girls were missing for a total of 19 hours and were found shortly after 11:00am on Sunday in good health.
Marley Aplin said she and her friend Rhianna, also aged seven, “lost their way home” after climbing up a mountain.
“We were climbing up a mountain and we fell off the side of it … we fell down a steep hill and we were down nearly into the water,” she said.
“We saw the kangaroos so we ran back down but we went the wrong way.”
She said during the night she spoke to her friend about how they would find their way home.
“We found somewhere to sleep and hugged up with each other to keep warm,” she said.
Marley’s mum Mardi Aplin said she realised the girls had gone missing as fast as she had seen them leave.
“We literally saw them walk one way and by the time we got over there and tried to go where they were, we couldn’t find them again,” she said.