The two male trampers found dead in the Tararua Forest Park were just a short distance from where they'd planned to spend the night, police say.
Police will not be releasing the names of the men yet, but confirmed the 39 and 32-year-old were foreign nationals who had been "resident in New Zealand for some time".
The pair had headed out on an overnight tramp to Alpha Hut from the Waiohine Gorge campsite in the Wairarapa on Saturday morning, and were due back on Sunday evening.
Police believe the men never arrived at their destination, their bodies were found within a kilometre radius of the hut.
The men were reported overdue around 7pm on Sunday by a family member.
One body was found about 10:25am on Monday by a member of the public, while the second body was found a short distance away around 1pm.
Both bodies were recovered from the bush on Monday afternoon.
A post-mortem will be carried out on Wednesday, with the exact cause of death will be determined by the coroner.
Dave Granger, from the Tararua Tramping Club, says any hiker attempting the eight hour walk from the Waiohine Gorge campsite to Alpha Hut would need to be reasonably fit.
He described the terrain as rugged, adding that there is a 1000m climb, two ranges and at least one river crossing along the way.