Greytown is a small town about an hour north of Wellington. We chose it as our base for a few days because it put us on the opposite side of Wellington Harbour, the perfect place for exploring the south-east corner of the New Zealand North Island. There are not a whole lot of accommodation options here though. We chose Greyfriars Motel for two reasons.
A quick question
If you’ve stayed here as well, either in a garden room, or another room category, I’d love to hear what you thought about it. I’d also like to know what your favourite things to do in the area are. Let me know in the comments after this article!
This article is all our own experience. Our booking was paid for by us, and no part of it was free or subsidised. That said, many of the links below are affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission if you click it and make a booking or purchase. I hope that you’ll use these links anytime you need to book a place to stay or activity! These small commissions help me to keep travelling so I can write and film more travel guides for you. I would never recommend anything I don’t or would not personally use!
Why we chose to stay at Greyfriars Motel, Greytown
Our primary reasons for selecting this hotel are that they traded on Bartercard and their location. Trading on Bartercard was essential for us because it made up a significant portion of our budget for this trip. Greyfriars Motel is right in the centre of Greytown, in easy walking distance to a FreshChoice Supermarket as well as some of the town attractions, like Schoc Chocolates, and Cobblestones Museum.
More importantly, it’s in easy driving distance from Cape Palliser and Castle Point, two of the hidden gems in this corner of the North Island. Greytown is one of only a few places that are fairly central for exploring the south-east coastline of the North Island of New Zealand.
Our secondary reasons for this choice were:
- The Internet is included – important since I needed to work while we were here.
- The high average ratings by guests. It gets an average overall rating above 9 stars according to Hotels Combined reviews and a 4.5 star average on TripAdvisor.
- We liked the look of the room in the photos; it looked modern and comfortable.
About Greyfriars Motel and the Garden Studio Room
This hotel is extremely well located in the heart of Greytown and holds a 4-star rating. We spent three nights here while we explored the area and I did some work. Being right in the centre of town, it worked out perfectly for walking to the Fresh Choice supermarket to get food, and it was a pleasant stroll down the street to visit Schoc Chocolates and the Cobblestone Museum. If you’d rather get your food at a restaurant, we noticed many different options within just a couple of blocks.
We booked the Queen Studio, but when we arrived, we received an upgrade to the Garden Studio. These two rooms are the same concerning what is in them. However, the Garden Studio is more spacious and looks over the motel garden whereas the Queen Studio looks over the carpark. It doesn’t seem like much, but it is remarkable how much more inviting it is to sit down and do some work when you are looking over a lush green garden compared to a bitumen car park. Granted, you can still see the car park on the other side of the garden space, but never the less, it made for a lovely spot to both relax and also get some work done.
Checking in is a quick, simple process and the owners, Sarah and her husband, are lovely and so helpful. We arrived around 7:30 pm, later than we planned, and we were able to choose to pay on check-in or check-out. We were pretty tired since we had an early start back in Australia, so we were very appreciative that within minutes of our arrival, we were in our room. Even though the weather was starting to warm up, it was still a chilly evening, and they had the heating on in the room, so it was nice and warm for us. It’s the little things that make you feel so much more welcome.
Check-in closes at 9:00 pm, so make sure to let them know your expected check-in time if you are likely to be arriving late.
The Garden Room
The garden room is a surprisingly large studio style room with a kitchenette, dining area, lounge area, bed area and bathroom.
The lounge is quite comfortable, as is the bed, and the kitchenette has most things you need for a more extended stay. Heating is provided by a split-system air conditioner that is more than powerful enough to handle a space of this size, and the TV is wall mounted so you can watch it from the lounge, or in bed, or really, anywhere in the room. The only qualm I have with it is that the TV is a bit high to watch from the lounge for long, but we didn’t spend much time watching TV anyway.
With big windows and sliding glass doors forming almost the entire front wall of the studio, I was a little worried that light coming in might be a problem after dark or in the morning. No one likes light on their face while they are trying to sleep right? However, the thick block out curtains completely covered it, and we didn’t have any problems with lights.
There is perhaps a lack of clear luggage space. There is a luggage stand, but not anywhere to put your bags or clothes while you are there that is out of sight. There are two small bedside table drawers, but that is about all. Not a big deal, especially if you are only visiting for a short stay, but I do find it helpful to be able to put at least some of our bags in a cupboard to keep things neater.
The bathroom is pretty standard and has more than enough space to use comfortably. Some showers and bathrooms can be absolutely tiny, but this one is very reasonable.
The towel rails are heated and the room overall is quite modern. It looks like it was built or refurbished very recently.
The well-equipped kitchenette has everything you need to prepare food except for a hob. The microwave is a convection oven, and there is also a toaster, kettle and a large bar fridge.
While you can’t cook anything over a stove, there are mixing bowls, and the convection oven makes it possible to prepare a decent amount of hot food without much effort. For us, we made healthy chocolate porridge (yes, there is such a thing) for breakfast and had a variety of salad sandwiches and microwave frozen meals for lunches and dinners while we were here.
We were also pleasantly surprised to discover that even though the rooms are self-contained, you don’t have to do the dishes. When they service the rooms each day, they will replace any used dishes with clean ones for you.
If you need to do laundry, a communal laundry room is also available.
How did we sleep?
The bed is medium softness, ok for stomach sleepers but probably better for back and side sleepers. We found it quite comfortable as stomach sleepers, but it was getting close to too soft.
The internet access is provided by wifi using quality Ubiquiti equipment that can be seen around the motel. Speeds are quite decent for a regional area and worked well for me to keep on top of my work here. While not the fastest, the Internet at Greyfriars Motel was one of the most stable internet connections we had on our New Zealand trip.
Speeds did vary and on different days I did notice some significantly different upload and download speeds, oddly enough with lower download speeds early in the morning.
- Central location, close to restaurants, attractions and a supermarket.
- Great to have a lounge space in the room.
- There is an in-room kitchenette with everything you need.
- On-site parking available.
- The room is quiet.
- The garden atmosphere is very relaxing.
- The room is new or recently updated.
- Free, stable wifi.
- There is stacks of space in the room.
- Not much storage for luggage.
- Nothing else really.
We personally really enjoyed this motel. The room was modern, spacious and comfortable. The location is excellent with a Fresh Choice supermarket just around the corner. Restaurants and the towns tourist attractions are within a short walking distance, including Schoc Chocolates and Cobblestones Museum.
Getting to Greyfriars Motel
Public transport options are pretty limited. The closest international airport is in Wellington, and other nearby airports are fairly minor, so you will most likely be arriving by car. Greytown is part way between Featherston and Masterton on State Highway 2, North East of Wellington.
The address is:
138 Main Street, Greytown, Wairarapa, New Zealand
If you hire a car, prices vary quite a lot depending on what company you go with and how long you are renting. We usually book with Avis, but always check booking comparison sites like AutoEurope and with the smaller providers. When travelling to Greytown from Wellington, follow State Highway 2 through the Remutaka Pass.
There are two train stations nearby. One at Woodside and one at Featherston. You can get the Wairarapa Train from Wellington and hop off at either station (depending on the day of the week). There are connecting buses that will bring you into Greytown. Check the train timetable here.
From Woodside, the bus meets all weekday trains except the Friday late train. From Featherston, catch the route 200 bus.
Rates and other costs
We researched prices directly on Agoda and Booking.com as well as making our usual price comparison through Hotels Combined. However, we ultimately booked directly with Greyfriars Motel for three nights at $150/night.
If you need parking, there is free parking available on-site for one car per room. There is also free street parking available on the street.
If you’ve stayed at Greyfriars Motel too, either in a garden room, or another room category, I’d love to hear what you thought about it. I’d also like to know what your favourite things to do in the area are. Let me know in the comments after this article!