Matamata is a town enveloped in the Kaimai Range Mountains on the North Island of New Zealand. It is most commonly known for its Hobbiton and Lord of the Rings movie sets. However, there is definitely much more to do in and around Matamata. Check out the top 12 things worth doing around Matamata to get a holistic experience of what the town has to offer.
1. Wairere Falls
Get out of Matamata on a day trip and head to Wairere Falls, a natural wonder in the North Island. From Matamata, it takes about 45 minutes by road to reach these falls. The falls can also be seen from Te Aroha-Okauia Road. If you happen to be here during the Spring, look out for the beautiful apricot coloured flowers of the taurepo.
Once you reach the carpark, take the well-formed track to get to the river. Ascend the base of the cliff and take the set of steps, which reach the top of the gorge. As you manoeuvre through the track, catch sight of the grove of nīkau, pūriri and kohekohe. Go to the lookout bay and enjoy the splendid views of the base of the falls. During the summer, visitors can frolic in the pools which are formed here. Over the summer there are plenty of pools to paddle in and the track can be explored further upriver.
Address: 253 Chadwick Road West Greerton West Tauranga 3112
Website: Wairere Falls
2. Redoubt Bar & Eatery
This is a busy diner cum bar, which has received rave reviews from guests. The eatery features outdoor and indoor dining and has a great atmosphere. It is a great place for socialising and great drinks are made here. Parking is easy and in abundance. The food on the menu is of high quality and some items on the menu change from time to time. Get your friends or family together when in Matamata and have a great meal out.
Redoubt Bar & Eatery
Address: 48 Broadway, Matamata 3400, New Zealand
Website: Redoubt Bar & Eatery
3. Kaimai Cheese Company Limited
Located about seven minutes by road from the centre of Matamata, the Kaimai Cheese Company Limited is housed in a replica of a New Zealand butter factory, which existed in the 1920s. Visitors to this factory will get a chance to watch cheese makers hard at work and even get a chance to sample the cheeses made here, in the dishes served on the cafe menu.
Kaimai Cheese Company Limited
Address: 2 Hawes St, Waharoa 3401, New Zealand
Website: Kaimai Cheese Company Limited
4. Matamata Districts Book Club
The Matamata Districts Book Club is a weekend event which takes place from Friday to Sunday. Over 100 members of the club contribute books for purchase and taking away. This club was set up with the intention of allowing people to have access to a wide range of books at affordable rates, as well as to benefit the underprivileged.
Parking is available onsite and there is a large grassy area for children to run on and for people to relax on. There is a large children’s section in the club, which allows parents to read to their kids and cultivate in them the habit of reading. It also teaches them the practice of recycling books they have read, so that others get access to their collection. Entry to this club is free and there is bound to be a book for everyone.
Matamata Districts Book Club
Address: Hinuera, New Zealand
Website: Matamata Districts Book Club
5. Te Tapui Scenic Reserve
The Te Tapui Scenic Reserve is a combination of the two peaks of Te Tapui, which stand at 492 metres (1614.2 feet) and Maungakawa at 495 metres (1624 feet). One can trek the Te Tapui Loop Track, which will lead them to the peak of Maungakawa. This trail starts at Piakonui Road, west of Matamata and it can be trekked either in a clockwise direction or anticlockwise.
The entire loop is 4 km (2.5 miles) long and may take around 3 to 4 hours, depending on your speed. It is said that the anticlockwise track is recommended. This scenic reserve is full of flora and fauna and a real rejuvenation for the senses.
Te Tapui Scenic Reserve
Address: 73 Rostrevor Street Hamilton 3200
Website: Te Tapui Scenic Reserve
6. Piako Gliding Club
For the flying enthusiasts, Piako Gliding Club is the place to visit. Located in Matamata, those interested in some flying adventures can go to this club and book a gliding experience. Up-drafts from the Kaimai Ranges allow for conducive conditions for gliding. This makes Matamata a popular destination choice for gliding activities.
If interested, scenic flights can also be arranged. So, go ahead and surprise someone with a flight of their life or experience it for yourself.
Piako Gliding Club
Address: Matamata Aerodrome, SH 27, Matmata 3474, New Zealand
Website: Piako Gliding Club
7. Opal Hot Springs
If you turn off just north of the Firth Tower and go on that road for almost 2 km (1.2 miles), you will reach Opal Hot Springs. It is 6 km (3.7 miles) away from Matamata, making it an easy visit. The Opal Hot Springs contains a holiday park as well, which includes standard camping grounds.
There are two relaxing hot pools, one large cool water pool and a private pool which can be booked. There is also a barbecue area, a sandpit for kids to play on and a children’s’ play area. This place makes for a good family day out. Guests can also book cabin accommodation here.
Opal Hot Springs
Address: 257 Okauia Springs Rd, Okauia, Matamata 3471, New Zealand
Website: Opal Hot Springs
8. Visit the Firth Tower Museum
The Firth Tower Museum is located just outside Matamata and occupies the land that once used to be the centre of the huge estate of Josiah Clifton Firth, known as the ‘Duke of Matamata’. Firth invested lots of money to clear this land and bring in the latest agricultural machinery, making the Waihou River conducive for navigation so that farm produce could be transported to the local markets.
In 1882, a concrete tower was built to serve as a lookout point. The tower is now a museum and houses an authentically furnished farm homestead and the worker’s cottage.
Firth Tower Museum
Address: 266 Tower Rd, Matamata
Website: Firth Tower Museum
This eight-hour tour is a small group tour of the Lord of the Rings Hobbiton movie set. This tour starts from Auckland and will almost feel like a private tour because of the small size of the group. Guests will board an air-conditioned bus or van from Auckland and travel to Matamata while stopping en route to take photographs.
As the group is small, the guide will be able to better explain the main sights along the way and even answer your question thoroughly. Guests will get to enjoy lunch in Matamata and a free drink at the movie site cafe. The tour ends at Auckland, from where guests were picked up.
Small group tour of the Lord of the Rings Hobbiton movie set
Price: from 207.61 USD
This is probably one of the most common tours that visitors to North Island undertake. Upon arriving in Auckland, guests will definitely visit Matamata in their bid to visit the Hobbiton movie set. This is a full day tour, which departs from three convenient locations in Auckland. Guests will get the chance to stop en route for photo taking and also have a delicious lunch in Matamata.
The entire journey is extremely picturesque, as guests pass through the countryside. Upon reaching Hobbiton, join the guided tour as you visit the sets of major scenes in the popular movies the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. At the end of the tour, enjoy a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn.
Guests will also get the chance to visit the souvenir shop at the information centre before boarding the bus back to Auckland. The tour will end in the early evening at your starting point in Auckland.
One day Hobbiton tour
Price: from 140.05 USD
Book a tour to visit the Lord of the Rings set and enjoy a sumptuous feast – the hobbit way! Treat yourself to a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn then on to an evening dinner banquet. All throughout the tour, you will get to explore the Shire and relish in a “Middle Earth” experience on a 12-acre (4.8 hectare) site. And if you’re a movie buff, be delighted to know how the shots from the movies were taken and other tricks from your friendly Hobbiton guide. “Lights, camera, action” is on every Wednesdays and Sundays! Bring your kids even – this excursion will help them appreciate nature in a fun and magical way!
Evening Hobbiton tour with "Middle Earth" banquet
Price: from 128 USD
12. TRAPD Escape Room
For anyone who loves solving a challenging mental puzzle, this is probably the escape game for you. TRAPD gives escape game enthusiasts a chance to try their hand at three different challenges – one involving a series of stagecoach robberies, the baffling disappearance of a TV star and a race against time to avoid an impending flight disaster. Each game can accommodate up to eight players in each team. And you and your companions only have an hour to discover the hidden clues, solve the puzzles and unravel the mysteries in order to work your way out of the locked rooms. Be warned that this escape game is not as easy as you think - be prepared to be heavily challenged.
TRAPD Escape Room
Address:10 Waharoa Road West, Matamata, 3400
Website: TRAPD Escape Room
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday from 10 am to 7 pm; Friday & Saturday 10am to 8:30pm
Price: 28 - 35 NZD per person
This post was brought to you by TRAPD Escape Room.
Get enthralled in Matamata
With so much to see in and around Matamata, it is worthwhile to spend a few days exploring the region. Either explore the region on your own or book a tour to be guided throughout the trip.
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