Two trampers found dead in the Tararua Forest Park in Wairarapa

A tramper descending towards Alpha Hut in the Tararua Ranges. Photo / Andrew Bonallack
A tramper descending towards Alpha Hut in the Tararua Ranges. Photo / Andrew Bonallack

Two trampers have been found dead in the Wairarapa.

Two men, aged 32 and 39 have been found dead on a track in the Tararua Forest Park.

The men were reported missing last night about 7pm by family.

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The pair headed out on an overnight tramp to Alpha Hut from the Waiohine Gorge campsite on Saturday morning and were due back on Sunday evening.

One body was found at about 10.25am by a member of the public, and Search and Rescue found a second body about 1pm a short distance away. Both bodies were recovered from the bush this afternoon.

While weather conditions in the Tararuas were generally good over the weekend, temperatures did fall overnight and police are working to establish what experience the pair had.

A police spokesperson said "early indications were hypothermia", but that had not been confirmed.

Police will be investigating what happened on behalf of the Coroner.

MetService meteorologist Mariken Van Laanen said data from the Wellington City Council showed that the temperature in the Tararua Forest Park was 4C at Cone Peak last night, which was "nothing exceptional" and typical for the area.

"There was no significant rainfall and wind-wise there were north and northwesterlies from 40km/h which picked up to 60km/h overnight at Cone Peak."

Peter Barber, president of the Tararua Tramping Club, said cases of hypothermia generally occurred when trampers were in an exposed area at high altitude and had become wet.

It was important for trampers to wear appropriate clothing made from wool or polypropylene and bring a parka with a hood, Barber said.

"Tramping is not a pastime for the ill-prepared or the foolhardy."

Trampers should carry and know how to use navigational equipment, including a map and compass, GPS and personal locator beacon and check the MetService forecast before heading out, he told the Herald.

More to come.

- Additional reporting Wairarapa Times Age

- NZ Herald

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