Famed for its “Lord of the Rings” Hobbiton film set, Matamata is a picturesque town at the base of the Kaimai Ranges. It’s also home to a striking tower estate museum and a short drive from the spectacular Wairere Falls.
Things to do in Matamata
Step into the world of the “Lord of the Rings” at the Hobbiton Movie Set, which was used for the filming of the blockbuster Peter Jackson series. Join a guided tour through the lush pastures of the “Shire” to explore the charismatic Hobbit Holes and the Mill before enjoying a drink at the iconic Green Dragon Inn.
Soak up the magnificent views of the Waikato region at the Wairere Falls, which plunge 153 metres over the Kaimai escarpment. Follow the walking trail through groves of native trees to the waterfall viewing platform, then continue up to the top of the plateau to look back over the valley and plains below.
Delve into the local history at the Firth Tower Museum, which occupies a fortress-like estate built in 1882. Learn about life for early settlers in the region and the construction of the Kaimai railway tunnel, then wander through peaceful gardens with commanding views of the surrounding countryside.
Visit the Wallace Gallery in nearby Morrinsville, which houses New Zealand contemporary art in an old Post Office building. Admire works from the James Wallace Arts Trust collection as well as pieces celebrating the culture of the local iwi tribes.
Getting around Matamata
Matamata is a 45-minute drive from Hamilton Airport and is around two hours south of Auckland. The town is small enough to explore on foot, but having your own vehicle is best for accessing the surrounding sights.