22 Nov 2016

Tararua trampers were foreign nationals - police

12:04 pm on 22 November 2016

Two trampers who were found dead on a track in Tararua Forest Park were foreign nationals but had been residents in New Zealand for some time, police say.

The men, aged 32 and 39, had headed out on Saturday on a tramp from the Waiohine Gorge to Alpha Hut, and were due back on Sunday evening.

Their bodies were recovered from the bush yesterday afternoon.

Alpha Hut

The men were heading to Alpha Hut in the Tararua Forest Park. Photo: DOC

Police said the men's bodies had been transferred to Palmerston North and a post-morten would be carried out tomorrow.

South Wairarapa Tramping Club president Ed Cooke said the route the pair had been taking was a six-hour, moderate track, a veteran tramper says.

Mr Cooke, a veteran tramper, said with a moderate amount of gear and some experience, the tramp should have been no trouble.

The track goes across swing bridge over a river, a climb of about an hour to a ridge, then about half an hour down to the Tauherenikau River, he told Morning Report.

"You have to cross the river there - there's no bridge so you wade that.

"It can be of course in flood but I don't believe it would have been this weekend."

The route then climbs to a peak called Bull Mound, an ascent of 700m, along a ridge to another peak called Omega, then up to the Hells Gate saddle.

"Then there's a bit of a steep pinch, but about another half an hour later you should be at Alpha Hut.

"All of that's in the bush except on the top of Bull Mound to Omega where you briefly get into snow grass, into tops area."

MetService said weather conditions in the Tararua Ranges were not particularly bad.

Forecaster Allister Gorman said while the temperature dropped over the weekend, it was not unusual for this time of year.

Mr Cooke said when he went tramping in the area yesterday, the temperatures were mild and there were no strong winds.

He said he was at a loss as to what could have happened.

Police said yesterday that they were working to establish the pair's level of experience, and would be investigating the deaths on behalf of the coroner.

The pair had been on an overnight tramp to the Alpha Hut in the Tararua Forest Park.

The pair had been on an overnight tramp to the Alpha Hut in the Tararua Forest Park. Photo: Google Maps