Greytown is one of a collection of towns that cluster in the Wairarapa. It’s a beautiful and largely rural region in the southern parts of the North Island, with a spectacular coastline. And the region is also famous in New Zealand as wine country... who wouldn't want to visit here!
Country village heaven
Greytown stickers on town shop windows describe it as country village heaven. The colonial roots of the town are right before your eyes in the vast number of its Victorian buildings, the town itself established in 1854. It's called New Zealand's first country town - it was the country's first inland town planned by settlers looking for affordable portions of land to farm. Helped by Governor Sir George Grey, the English name of the town is in his honour.
And it's green
There's loads of gorgeous green spaces in this pretty town, perfect spots to sit and enjoy something delightful from one of the many food spots the town offers. And you'll come to realise that it's only fitting there are so many pretty parks and green enclaves. You've come to the home of New Zealand's first Arbor Day. The busy and influential Greytown Beautifying Society had a focus on maintaining the town's tree density back in the day, and there is much we now have to thank them for.
A colonial history lesson
Walking Main Street is a colonial history lesson all by itself. The Greytown community Heritage Trust has done super work with plaques on buildings throughout the town, giving insight into their recent colonial history. It's a real peek into the recent past.
Perhaps one of the more wee, but a favourite, house is this journal's main photo, Kōuka (cabbage tree) cottage. There are many grander buildings along Main Street, but this little number, built as a gardener's house, and named after the cabbage tree out front, takes the cake.
The butcher and the baker... not sure about the candlestick maker
There's the gorgeous butcher's shop, that has been so since it was built in 1873. And a mighty fine butcher's shop it still is. Talk about sticking with it! And it's one of now only a few surviving butcher's shops in small New Zealand towns, so don't miss the chance to pop in, have a chat and give it your support.
And then there's the shop and house, of around 1894, built as Duff's Bakery. This was an Irishman's gig, and his bakery expanded rapidly requiring four tons of flour a month, and a cart and horse to distribute his baking through the district. That's fast food circa 1900 for you.
All that good food
In Greytown there are loads of delightful village cafes, that fantastic butcher, a French style bakery with delicious baked goods, the retail home of some very famous cured meats, a divine organic shop with the best back garden, special handmade chocolates, orchardists and an olive press that extracts the oil from many local groves that the region is also well known for. And, if that's not enough, it's a very short drive to the other well known Wairarapa towns, that have their wares on offer too. It’s a bountiful region.
To finish off a day on the road, we matched Greytown's famous cured meat with a couple of other Wairarapa favourites. If you need something quick and easy for lunch, drinks and even a light dinner, try a Wairarapa-inspired cracker of an idea, click here.
And for more…
For more on what to enjoy on Greytown and Wairarapa travels, explore food treasures on our North Island Food Travel Guide app - click here. You’ll find all those delightful eateries and artisan producers, and a whole lot more…