Two German backpackers ignored police advice and bedded down on a footpath in the middle of New Plymouth's CBD for the night to save money.
Joscha Kuehn, 20, and Eike Buckup, 20, hitchhiked to New Plymouth from Wellington on Monday and spent the night bundled up in their bright red and green sleeping bags outside a Westpac branch on Currie St.
Senior Sergeant Thomas McIntyre said it had been risky to leave themselves out in open while they were asleep.
"It's probably not the best thing to do," he said. "You're opening yourself up."
Taranaki's Fairfax media sales director Jamie Cameron said he almost tripped over the pair on his way to get a coffee on Tuesday morning.
"It's something I have never seen in New Plymouth on the main street," he said.
"They were fast asleep and looked like they had had a big night."
He said it seemed strange that they had plonked themselves down in the middle of the footpath, rather than tucking themselves in a doorway or finding some other more picturesque area.
"There are great parks around here and plenty of other places they could have gone for a beautiful sleep," he said.
Kuehn and Buckup said they were sleeping on the street to save money after losing most of theirs during a three month holiday in India.
While they still had some money left, they had decided to spend it on food, a beer every couple of nights and experiences, instead of accommodation.
"We see it as an experience," Buckup said.
"It's a different perspective and you somehow learn to appreciate what you got back home."
The pair said police had advised them their choice of sleeping area was not illegal but was most certainly "not a good idea."
As well as their sleeping bags, Kuehn had a small inflatable sleeping mat while Buckup was sleeping on a piece of cardboard he had found.
"It somehow keeps the cold out but it doesn't make you lay comfortably," he said.
"Just eating enough, having a beer now and again and going to the cinema is better than not having these things and sleeping somewhere for fifty bucks."
They were planning on staying in New Plymouth for a day or two, before making their way up to Auckland from where they were flying back to Europe on June 27.
The 20-year-olds said the decision to come to New Zealand was spontaneous after they grew tired of the heat in India.
"We didn't even know it was winter here," Kuehn said.
They hit misfortune in Delhi the day before they were due to fly to New Zealand, when Buckup had his passport, credit card and money and other documents stolen from his backpack at a hotel room.
This meant he had to fork out cash to re-book his flight and order an emergency passport.
They had also lost money on a motorcycle they had bought in India but had difficulty selling after they found out it hadn't come with the correct paperwork.
As well as that Kuehn also had $800 stolen from his credit card after someone used it to buy a game console online.
Kuehn said they were enjoying hitchhiking around the county.
"It's guaranteed that you will meet cool people cause only cool people will pick you up," Kuehn said.
"You get a really good insight into how Kiwis are."