Matamata

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There’s no doubt that you’re in prime Middle-earth territory, with the Hobbiton Movie Set just down the road. There’s no shortage of enjoyable experiences to be had in Matamata and the surrounding region.

Destination Matamata

Local craftsmen and builders combined old-fashioned methods with modern technology to create the eye-catching Middle-earth-themed exterior of the Matamata isite on the main street of this Waikato town. With the perfect combination of rolling hills and fertile plains, Matamata, meaning headland in Māori, has its rural roots in the thoroughbred horse breeding and dairy farming sectors.

HobbitonTM Movie Set

For many visitors the main drawcard is the Hobbiton Movie Set on the Alexander family farm, a short distance from the town of Matamata. First the location for Sir Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, the farm then became the location for The Hobbit trilogy with the set constructed to be a permanent attraction.

A fully guided walking tour takes you around the Shire where you can check out the hobbit holes and gardens, and hear the entertaining stories about how the set was designed and built. Afterwards, drop in to the Green Dragon Inn for a complimentary beverage from the Hobbit Southfarthing range - two traditional ales, an apple cider and a non-alcoholic ginger beer. There’s also delicious fare available for purchase - does a traditional beef and ale pie appeal, or perhaps the ploughman sandwich?

Other options include an evening banquet tour and a second breakfast tour, along with special events and celebrations - for example, the biggest party of the year to mark Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ birthday on International Hobbit Day in September.

Beyond the Hobbiton Movie Set, also popular with visitors to the Matamata area are walking and cycling trails, including in the nearby Kaimai Ranges where one of the highlights is the highest waterfall in the North Island, the Wairere Falls - 135 metres of cascading water surrounded by native forest.

Wairere Falls

The roundtrip to the top of Wairere Falls, at 153 metres the highest in the North Island, takes three to four hours and isn’t for the faint-hearted. While there are spectacular views of the falls from a lookout that is a 45-minute walk from the carpark through groves of nīkau, pūriri and kohekohe trees, the climb onwards to the top of the falls is steep with plenty of steps, plus rocky outcrops and tree roots to negotiate. Once you’re at the top, the reward is the striking sight of the falls plunging down the steep escarpment, part of the Okauia fault line. Views out over the Waikato countryside also make the climb very worthwhile. Along the way there are small wooden bridges crossing the stream, providing plenty of opportunities for a refreshing swim or paddle in the shallows, as well as scenic places to picnic.

Hauraki Rail Trail (Te Aroha to Matamata section)

The Te Aroha-Matamata section of the Hauraki Rail Trail wends its way across the Waikato rural landscape, crossing the fertile plains and passing horse studs where many a champion thoroughbred has been raised. En route, cyclists can stop off to explore the Firth Tower Estate and Museum, or detour to views of the beautiful Wairere Falls that, at 153 metres, are the highest in the North Island. The easy gradient of the rail trail makes it perfect for relaxed cycling and family adventures.

Matamata Heritage trail

The Matamata-Piako Heritage Trail links the towns of Matamata, Te Aroha and Morrinsville, visiting places of historical interest along the way. In Matamata, the 5.3km trail meanders through the town’s parks, gardens and historical sites. Highlights along the way include the Middle-earth themed isite building on the main street.

Firth Tower

The iconic Firth Tower Estate and Museum, in its park-like setting, gives insight into the area’s pioneering history with heritage buildings, including a homestead, school and jail.

Constructed in 1882, the Firth Tower is a stone’s throw from Matamata town centre. The tower sits on lush park-like grounds that are perfect for picnics, weddings and other events. Built by Josiah Clifton Firth as a lookout and fortification, the tower and surrounding buildings house a treasure trove of machinery, furnishings and other memorabilia providing insights into the pioneering past of the region. Take a stroll through the peaceful grounds, or pay a small admission fee to enter the historic building; tours are available.

Historic sites and place names honour the legendary Māori chief Wiremu Tamihana. He was a major force in establishing the Māori King Movement (Kīngitanga) in the early 1850s to help protect against European encroachment on Māori lands at that time, as well as maintain peace amongst the different tribes.

Matamata isite

The Middle-earth themed Matamata isite on the main street was designed by Wellington architect Gavin Urquhart, who was also involved in design work at the Hobbiton Movie Set. With a distinctive Middle-earth exterior, the Matamata isite is the perfect spot to grab an Insta-worthy photo and to stop in for information about visiting the set, 16 kms from town, as well as check out the many other experiences on offer in the area.

Great eateries

From Italian and Middle Eastern to fish and chips and good country-style fare - in Matamata and the surrounding area there are eateries and bars to appeal to all tastes and appetites. As you would expect in this dairy farming region, there are many places to grab a scoop of ice cream, sorbet or gelato.

 

Top activities in Matamata

top pick Hobbiton Movie Set
from
$120
Matamata

Hobbiton™ Movie Set Tours

Experience Middle-earth with a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. Your guided tour starts with a drive through our picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. Journey past the colourful Hobbit Hole™ doors that scatter the hillsides, including the iconic Bag End, home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, before arriving at Bagshot Row™ for a glimpse of the interior of a humble Hobbit’s home. Continue along the pathways past The Millhouse, across the double-arch stone bridge and into the world-famous Green Dragon™ Inn, where you will enjoy a complimentary, exclusive beverage Hobbit™ Southfarthing™ range to conclude your Middle-earth adventure.
top pick Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
from
$195
Matamata

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour - Small Group Tour From Auckland By ExperienceKart

Travel in style from Auckland to Hobbiton Movie Set - set on rolling farmland, this is the world famous movie set where you'll see the intricately created 'Hobbit holes' the Green Dragon Inn, the Party Tree and so much more cinematic magic. Immerse yourself in the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of the Shire as featured in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Pause at the Green Dragon™ Inn to for a draft of Hobbit™ Southfarthing™, see the remarkable detailing that brought Hobbiton™ to life on screen, and visit the places where key scenes were created. Fall in love with the Alexander family sheep farm, just as acclaimed director Sir Peter Jackson did, as you journey through the unequivocal beauty of the land.
top pick Hobbiton Movie Set
from
$230
Matamata

Hobbiton™ Movie Set Evening Banquet Tour

Experience Hobbiton™ Movie Set as you have never seen it before with a guided tour through The Shire™ at dusk. Your tour guide will escort you through the 12 acre site, recounting fascinating stories and anecdotes about the trilogies. The tour concludes at The Green Dragon™ Inn with a complimentary beverage from our exclusive Hobbit™ Southfarthing™ range. Enter the Green Dragon dining room where the tables will be heaving with traditional Hobbit fare and, as is the tradition in the Shire, second helpings are encouraged. To conclude this premium experience, guests will re-join their guide to make their way back through the wandering paths of the Shire.
top pick Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
from
$399
Matamata

Hobbiton & Rotorua Living Māori Village - Private Tour By ExperienceKart

Walk into the real-world landscape on a walking tour of the Hobbiton™ Movie Set, and continue visiting the mighty Whakarewarewa Valley, for a truly culture rich experience, the home to a living Māori village and the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute including a Hangi Pie Meal. Set amongst a highly active landscape erupting with geothermal activity where you can experience bubbling mud pools and the 30m-tall Pōhutu Geyser, which erupts many times daily. Explore an authentic living Māori village where people live on a daily basis, using natural geothermal resources to cook, bathe and heat their homes as they have for centuries. Enjoy a Hangi Pie Meal cooked in our hot pool topped with rich homemade gravy.
top pick Firth Tower Reserve and Museum
from
$5
Matamata

Firth Tower Reserve and Museum

The Firth Tower was built in 1882 by Josiah Clifton Firth to provide a lookout over the country side. It was also used as the estate office and sleeping quarters for single men. The tower stands on rising ground commanding an extensive view of the surrounding country. The Firth Tower Historical Reserve is administered by the Matamata-Piako District Council and museum exhibits and displays are the work of the Matamata Historical Society. The Heritage Centre houses the archives of the Matamata area.
top pick Hobbiton Movie Set
from
$180
Matamata

Hobbiton™ Movie Set Second Breakfast Tour

Make the first footsteps in the morning dew on the Movie Set as part of our first tour of the day. Your tour guide will escort you through the 12 acre movie set, recounting fascinating details from filming the trilogies and pointing out the most iconic sites and scenes. After a visit to The Green Dragon™ Inn where you will be offered a complimentary beverage from our exclusive Hobbit™ Southfarthing™ range, follow your guide back over the double arch stone bridge to The Millhouse, just across the water from The Green Dragon Inn, where you will be treated to a breakfast spread fit for a Hobbit. After you've had your fill, it's time to make your way back to The Shire's Rest, after all, this is only the second of a Hobbit's seven daily meals.
top pick Matamata isite
Free
Matamata

Matamata isite Visitor Information Centre

The Matamata isite Visitor Centre is part of New Zealand's official nationwide Visitor Information Network. Centrally located in the busy rural Waikato town of Matamata and nestled at the base of the scenic Kaimai Ranges our isite staff are local experts and can assist you with all your enquiries. As well as being a departure point for the Hobbiton Movie Set Tours, Matamata offers a wide range of walking and tramping options, golf courses, and an extensive selection of cafes & accommodation.
top pick Southern Belle Orchard
from
$258
Matamata

Southern Belle Orchard Tour Groups

It is with pride and joy we will show you our achievements and spread the word of growing in a way that restores natures balance.A group visit on our orchard will take around 1 hour. During the tour there is room for questions. When available we will also offer you a taste of our seasonal fresh products. If not in season, we also can let you have a taste of our preserved products. These 'home made' products are made with personal dedication and care and can be purchased after the tour. All products are safe to take overseas in the luggage.
top pick Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
from
$399
Matamata

Hobbiton & Rotorua Buried Village - Private Tour From Auckland By ExperienceKart

Your guided tour starts at the Shire’s Rest on a Hobbiton tour bus with a drive through New Zealand's picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai ranges. Take a look at Bag End, where Frodo & Bilbo’s adventures began. Walk into the real-world landscape on a walking tour of the Hobbiton™ Movie Set and listen to the haunting echoes of the past at the Buried Village of Te Wairoa, one of the most visited archaeological site where stories of the 1886 Mt. Tarawera volcanic eruption come to life and telling tales of the 8th Wonder of the World, the Pink & White Terraces including a café style lunch along the way. Visit the mesmerizing natural Te Wairoa (Wairere Falls), plunging to the valley along our waterfalls.

Top accommodation in Matamata

top pick
from
$90
Matamata

O'Reilly's Motel

14 modern and spacious fully self-contained units, serviced daily. Bubble baths in 7 units. Sauna, continental & cooked breakfast. Fully catered conference facilities for up to 30 people. O'Reilly's is located 2min from the town centre, 40min to Rotorua, Hamilton and Tauranga, and 1hr 45min drive to Auckland. Matamata is in the heart of rich fertile Waikato dairy farmland and boasts some of NZ's foremost thoroughbred horse breeders and trainers. Matamata is the location of the Hobbiton movie set which is open for tours daily. Other local activities include gliding, sky diving, hot pools, bush walks, golf, and horse racing. Check out our website for further detail and online reservations.
top pick Matamata Lodge
from
$260
Matamata

Matamata Lodge

This peaceful location is positioned for a day of relaxation, adventure or a road trip to Rotorua, Waitomo, and other destinations. A unique self-contained Studio with private courtyard, BBQ, private ensuite and kitchenette with continental breakfast provided. The Studio comes with air-conditioning, seating area, along with a modern and relaxing décor and privacy. Matamata Lodge is the perfect location to base yourself for one night or more. With so many local attractions and experiences like the Hobbiton Movie, Te Waihou Walkway, Blue Water Springs and Wairere Falls at your doorstep. Unwind and soak in the scenery of rolling pastures, Kaimai ranges, stunning sunsets and star gazing.
top pick Accommodation in the Heart of Matamata
from
$200
Matamata

Villa Walton

The original homestead was known in the area for the beautiful cottage gardens and specimen trees. There are some beautiful examples of a hundred plus year old Kauri, Copper beech and magnificent magnolia trees which the tui love to visit. During its history, there have been many families live in the villa with each generation adding their love and attention to the property. The bedrooms that are lovingly restored are named from the families or significant aspects of its history. There are many Victorian features in the villa including original tiled fireplaces, polished floors, leadlight windows and doors and high ceilings. Fully renovated June 2019.
top pick Warm and sunny outlook
from
$145
Matamata

Eldonwood Bed and Breakfast

Matamata is a short drive to Rotorua, Tauranga, Cambridge and Hamilton and boasts a beautiful, cinematic New Zealand countryside with great tourism opportunities. We are located within walking distance of town, making Eldonwood a relaxing central location to base your Waikato holiday. With Hobbiton, Thermal Hot Pools, Golf Course and breathtaking nature walks all just moments away we're certain you'll find plenty to love about Matamata and our modern, boutique accommodation. We look forward to welcoming you!
top pick Canopy Camping Escapes
from
$280
Matamata

Canopy Camping Escapes | Buster

Off-grid, and built with sustainability in mind, Buster has a Scandinavian simplicity. The birch interior is restful and calm. Natural linens adorn the bed and large windows take in the surroundings. The hut blends seamlessly into its setting with careful landscaping and native plantings. The hut contains a bathroom, and kitchen and sleeps up to four guests in a queen bed and cosy upstairs loft bed. A deck, wood-fired hot tub and firepit are just outside, perfect for taking in the sight and sound of the Waihou river flowing past. In the evenings, get cosy in the hut with the wood burner or head outside to toast marshmallows over the fire pit and enjoy a star-filled sky.
top pick DSC_6802
from
$95
Matamata

Tower Road Motel

Tower Road Motel can offer clean, quiet and a garden setting motel for guests to enjoy and relax. Five studio units and Two 1 bedroom units make the motel ideal for groups to book the whole complex. Free WI-Fi available in every unit. Tower Road Motel is ideal for use as a base to visit other NZ destinations. Visit our website, or find us on Tripadvisor, TravelBug or our Facebook page. There are many attractions to visit while in Matamata including the Firth Tower Heritage Museum the Wairere Fall, Hobbition Movie Set to name a few. We can offer 7 golf courses within a 30 minute drive from Tower Road Motel and some great shops. Matamata is a growing town, so come and see for yourself!
top pick Southern Belle Orchard
from
$130
Matamata

Southern Belle Orchard Bed and Breakfast

Only 10 minutes from the Hobbiton Movie Set, our luxury B & B is on an orchard & is private & peaceful. Beautiful sunset views with a spa pool under the stars. The apartment is equipped with a kitchen, spacious bathroom and a bedroom that can sleep two singles or a couple (King size). It is separated from the main house by a garage so it is private & you can come and go as you please. A pull out Sofa-bed in the Lounge will sleep another couple or two young children. The property itself has a successful greenhouse and feijoa orchard - feijoas are a popular New Zealand fruit with a unique and exotic flavour. See our website for more information about what we produce: www.southernbelleorchard.com
top pick DHomestay
from
$100
Matamata

DHomestay

We can offer affordable accommodation with great indoor and outdoor facilities. Each room has magnificent views to the surrounding rolling hills and farmland. All areas are on ground level and easy accessible. Private secure car parking. Children are welcome there is plenty of space to run around and play. Delicious home cooked meals are available prior arrangement using organic grown products from our garden. Naturally our food is sourced locally wherever possible. DHomestay Bed and Breakfast has the perfect location to break your journey or for a weekend retreat to relax and enjoy the peaceful quiet environment away from the busy life in the city. It is important for us to take care of our guests in the best possible way.