Located in the Waikato region of New Zealand, Matamata is a small town that delivers plenty of activities. While the area might be best known as the location for the film The Lord of the Rings, it offers other attractions as well. As a result, Hobbit fans and non-Hobbit fans alike can discover something to do in Matamata. If you’re securing a campervan hire New Zealand, consider a road trip to Matamata. It’s located about 2 hours from Auckland, 1 hour from Rotorua, and 45 minutes from Hamilton. As a result, you have many paths to use to get to Matamata and explore everything it has to offer. Follow this guide to plan your journey to the thriving farm region of Matamata.
Hobbiton Movie Set Tours
Fans of The Lord of the Rings know Matmata as the location where the popular film was shot. After the movie debuted and the cast and crew left New Zealand, traces of the film remain today. The New Zealand government opted to leave the hobbit holes used in the film so that they could become a tourist attraction. Today, visitors can go on one of several guided tours to explore one of 44 hobbit holes in the region up close.
On these tours, you can check out the real-life Middle Earth as it was reflected in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Hobbit films. Your tour will include a drive through a picturesque and vast sheep farm, which served as the site for filming. You’ll see Bag End, the Green Dragon Inn, and the Party Tree. You can even grab a refreshing drink at the Green Dragon Inn. Daily tours are available, so book yours before your campervan hire New Zealand arrives in Matamata.
Matamata offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor exploration, set in its scenic countryside. The best way to see all of Matamata is to dedicate a couple of hours to walking along the Heritage Trail. This trail weaves you through different parks, as well as through gardens and past local historical sites.
For a stunning view, check out Wairere Falls, which is located conveniently just 10 minutes from Matamata. This waterfall is 153 meters high, making it one of the highest waterfalls in the North Island. When you ascend to the top of these falls, you’ll take in spectacular views of the Waikato region. Be sure to reserve plenty of time for this outdoor adventure. You can expect your journey to take 3 to 4 hours, round trip. You’ll cross over streams on small wooden bridges; otherwise, the track is well maintained and easy to navigate. Along the way, you will encounter groves of nikau and puriri.
Located on the outskirts of Matamata sits Opal Hot Springs and Holiday Park, which offers a spot for you to take a dip and relax. It features hot mineral pools, as well as private pools for your enjoyment. It also offers accommodations if you’re looking for a spot to stay.
For a relaxing afternoon, visit Dalton’s Plantation when you’re in Matamata. Featuring 10 acres of beautiful gardens, this spot is an ideal place to set up a picnic lunch under one of the many weeping silver pear trees. Plus, Dalton’s Plantation features a cafe where you can pick up a meal before or after your garden exploration.
For a more metropolitan day outdoors, plan a visit to Firth Tower. This tower, located in the heart of the city, sits in a lush park perfect for outdoor relaxation. Plus, 13 buildings display historic artifacts, and you can take a tour of these buildings after your explore the pristine grounds surrounding them.
You’ve visited Hobbiton and taken in the natural beauty of Matamata. Now, spend some time enjoying the local culture. First up, check out the Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville, which is home to a vast collection of New Zealand art. Next, head to the heart of Matamata and look for the Matamata i-SITE, a Middle Earth-inspired attraction that’s a perfect spot to grab an authentic New Zealand selfie.
For a more in-depth exploration of local culture, consider a farmstay during your visit. You’ll choose with a farm, head out to the country, and, as the name implies, stay on site. While you’re there, you will get an up-close look at farmlife in New Zealand. In many cases, you can even try your hand at some hands-on work, whether you’re milking cows or collecting eggs. You can get as involved as you want to be when you’re a guest at a farmstay and you will feel comfortable in your own surroundings.
Matamata is a worthwhile stop when you have your campervan hire New Zealand. It’s a must-see for any fans of The Lord of the Rings, but it has plenty of other activities to offer as well. Enjoy the natural beauty of its rugged landscape, and take in some local culture when you travel to Matamata.