The trampers who died in the Tararua Forest Park were found within 1km of the hut they were heading to, police say.
The 39-year-old and 32-year-old failed to return on Sunday from a planned overnight tramp, Wairarapa area commander Inspector Donna Howard said.
"It's understood the men had planned to leave Waiohine Gorge campsite on Saturday morning, making their way up to Neill Ridge and via the Dress Circle Track to stay overnight at Alpha Hut," she said.
"Indications are that the men did not arrive at Alpha Hut. Both men were located within a kilometre radius of the hut.
"The intended route has been described by local Police search and rescue staff as physically demanding."
The men's bodies will be transferred to Palmerston North today for a post-mortem examination tomorrow.
"Weather conditions were generally good over the weekend, but that will be examined as part of the full investigation," Howard said.
The exact cause of the men's deaths will be determined by the Coroner.
"The two men were foreign nationals who had been resident in New Zealand for some time.
"This is a devastating time for the families involved, and we would ask that media respect their privacy at this time."
Police will not be releasing the names of the men at this stage.