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“Saved us from a storm!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Southern Secret Motel

Southern Secret Motel
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Southern Secret Motel
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Papatowai, Owaka, New Zealand   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #62 of 68 Hotels in Southland Region
La Verne, CA
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Saved us from a storm!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2011

We were driving across from Manapouri to Dunedin, hoping to enjoy a lovely view and make a quick stop at Slope Point. It began raining and we continued on our way. We stopped at Slope, even in the pouring rain. It was dark by the time we were done, we were soaked and we had no plans for where we were going to stay. It's a long, long story, but when we arrived at Southern Secret, we rejoiced. It was a godsend!

A beautiful place to stay even when you don't have to escape a bad storm. The rooms are lovely. The prices are reasonable and the location was beautiful. The owner was great to work with. I would LOVE to go back with more time and better weather.

Room Tip: They were all lovely!
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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16 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    4
    5
    4
    2
    1
See reviews for
2
11
Solo
0
Business
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Newcastle, Australia
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2011

Craig runs this small motel (4 units) in Papatowai, a central spot for touring the Catlins. The units are spacious and beautifully done up with well appointed kitchenettes and all facilities . There is plenty of shelving and hooks (something often lacking in accommodation). Although it is on the main road, the cars were few and far between. Craig has a collection of 900 videos for evening entertainment and is a mine of information on walks, places to eat etc. But don't ask him to do your washing - only Owaka has town water - elsewhere it's a precious resource as some other reviewers of this motel found out . Those of us who live in towns and cities take a lot for granted. Craig also rents a well appointed 3 bedroom house off the main road.

Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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York, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2011

good stay at this unusual motel. large room with good kitchenette opposite the local store (well stocked but expensive - stock up and fill up with petrol before you leave Invercargill or Balclutha). beware also the mosquitoes and sand flies. room has mozzie nets, though. excellent video library available via the owner.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dunedin
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2010

The room was very spacious and warm - electric blankets were provided! The interior design was smart and we had a lovely forest view out the main window. All cooking facilities were provided. The owner was very friendly and has a great collection of videos you can borrow. We had amazing beach walks barely 5 mins away - including Picnic Point walk with the interesting rockpools. The motel is close to all the waterfall walks too (McLeans Falls, Matai, horseshoe falls). The our 2 night stay was fantastic

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arnhem Land, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2010

We weren't sure if driving to the Catlin's would be worth it on our South Island trip, but it was a real highlight of our holiday. This motel in Papatowai was lovely - wonderfully clean, uniquely decorated, plenty of space to spread out and a private verandah out the back overlooking bush, it just had a great feel to the place. The owner was very welcoming and helpful too. Plenty of information on the area available there also. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2009

We were quite impressed when we arrived. We stayed in Room 2. The standard of decoration was excellent throughout, the shower room was really very good and we had everything we needed. All for $100.

The place itself is on the main road through Papatowai - which means it is very quiet. From the balcony we overlooked very wild land with the birds in full song. Very nice.

And then in the morning there was no water. The water is held in a tank and during the night it had fallen below the level required to supply the rooms. While the owner was running around trying to sort it out, we had to have breakfast and have a drink. Fortunately we had some water left in the kettle and could manage that.

However, there was no water for the shower and we left having just freshened ourselves using our own bottled water. We never had the opportunity to use the lovely shower! This is just not good enough and we cannot recommend this place to anyone. Who can guaranteee that it will not happen to someone else?

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Droitwich Spa
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2006

Stayed for one night during our honeymoon in March 2006.
We were enjoyed the Catlins so much, we didn't get as far as we expected to in a day. We spent a day travelling from Riverton to Papatowai, visiting Waipapa Point's sealions, the southern most tip of South Island (Slope Point), Curio Bay and Purpoise Bay, where we saw dolphins playing in the surf - an amazing experience.

Papatowai is also close to the Cathedral Caves, McLean Falls and Purakaunui Falls, all of which are worth a visit and not too busy when we went.

The motel itself was very nicely decorated and in a lovely setting on the edge of the bush. At NZ$100 the studio was very nicely priced and was one of the best places we stayed during our time in New Zealand. There was a shop and takeaway just over the road and many walks to the coast which unfortunately we didn't have time for in the end.

Highly recommended.

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Additional Information about Southern Secret Motel

Address: Papatowai, Owaka, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > South Island > Southland Region
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #62 of 68 Hotels in Southland Region
Number of rooms: 4

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