Things To Do In Matamata

Things To Do In Matamata

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verification Verified Expert

    Welcome to the enchanting town of Matamata, an unassuming jewel nestled in the heart of New Zealand's North Island. Known globally as the setting of the Shire in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Matamata is a haven for both film buffs and nature enthusiasts. Here, storybook landscapes come to life, delivering an unforgettable blend of cinematic history and natural beauty.

    Understanding Matamata

    The Story of Matamata

    Matamata, initially a Māori pā (fortified village), has evolved into a captivating rural town over the centuries. However, it wasn't until the 1990s when the area was transformed into the magical Hobbit Town, known as Hobbiton™, that Matamata started drawing global attention. Today, this charming township is a must-visit destination, offering a vibrant tapestry of experiences.

    The Unique Charm of Matamata

    Matamata's charm lies in its lush, rolling hills, quaint town centre, and the warm hospitality of its locals. From the minute you arrive, you'll feel as though you've stepped into a different world—one where hobbits dwell, and adventures await around every corner. The town is also a gateway to the Kaimai Ranges, offering stunning outdoor experiences to those keen to explore beyond Hobbiton.

    Matamata at night

    Getting to Matamata

    Travelling to Matamata from Major Cities

    Conveniently located, Matamata is just a two-hour drive from Auckland and a one-hour drive from Hamilton, making it an easily accessible day-trip or weekend getaway. Those journeying in the comfort of a campervan can use Campervan New Zealand for reliable rentals.

    Transport Options within Matamata

    Once in Matamata, getting around is a breeze. The town centre is compact and walkable, with key attractions like the i-SITE Visitor Information Centre and local eateries all within a short stroll. For exploring further afield, including Hobbiton, it's best to have a vehicle.

    Unmissable Attractions in Matamata

    Hobbiton™ Movie Set Tour

    Hobbiton Matamata New Zealand

    Undoubtedly, the star attraction, the Hobbiton™ Movie Set Tour is a must when considering things to do in Matamata. Step into the world of Middle Earth, wander past Hobbit Holes, and immerse yourself in the magic of the Shire. End your tour with a pint at the iconic Green Dragon™ Inn, just as a true hobbit would! Tours run daily, rain or shine, reflecting the true Hobbit spirit.

    Wairere Falls Adventure

    If you're a nature enthusiast, the Wairere Falls walk is an unmissable experience. As the highest waterfall in North Island, it provides breathtaking views of the Waikato plains and the mountain ranges. The trail can be tackled year-round, but visiting after rains allows for the most spectacular waterfall view.

    Wairere Falls New Zealand

    Exploring Firth Tower Museum

    Travel back in time at the Firth Tower Museum, a fascinating collection of historic buildings showcasing Matamata's rural heritage. Experience how the early settlers lived, worked, and played, through well-preserved artifacts and stories.

    Outdoor Activities: Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park

    For those seeking more adventure, Matamata serves as a gateway to Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park. It offers an extensive network of walking and tramping tracks, taking you through lush forests, alongside clear streams, and up to scenic lookouts.

    Matamata's Local Cuisine

    Top Matamata Eateries and Cafés

    Matamata may be small, but it boasts a range of delightful cafés and eateries. For a meal fit for a hobbit, visit The Redoubt, known for its hearty dishes and cosy atmosphere. Meanwhile, Workman's Café is a local favourite, offering delicious food and excellent coffee.

    A Taste of Local Specialities

    While in Matamata, tasting local specialities is a must. Make sure to try New Zealand's classic pies, fish and chips, or the iconic Kiwi burger. And for those with a sweet tooth, the traditional pavlova and hokey pokey ice cream are not to be missed! 

    New Zealand Pavlova

    Accommodation Guide for Matamata

    Best Hotels and Lodges in Matamata

    From luxury lodges to cosy B&Bs, Matamata offers a range of accommodations to suit every traveller. Tower Road Motel is a favourite, with comfortable rooms and excellent service. For those seeking a more luxurious stay, the De Preaux Lodge offers high-end amenities with picturesque views of the surrounding countryside.

    Unique Stays: Hobbit-Inspired Accommodations

    In the spirit of Matamata, New Zealand, consider booking a hobbit-inspired accommodation for an unforgettable stay. The Hobbiton Haven is a perfect example, offering a hobbit-hole-like stay that makes you feel like you're part of the Shire.

    Matamata Event Calendar

    Popular Events and Festivals in Matamata

    Matamata's events calendar is teeming with exciting activities all year round. The highlight is the International Hobbit Day, celebrated on September 22nd, with grand festivities at the Hobbiton™ Movie Set. Keep an eye on the official Hobbiton events page for up-to-date information.

    Practical Tips for Visiting Matamata

    Kaimai ranges New Zealand

    Best Time to Visit Matamata

    The best time to visit Matamata depends on what you want to do. The Matamata weather is generally pleasant year-round, but for outdoor activities, spring and summer offer the most favourable conditions. If you're a Lord of the Rings fan, visiting on International Hobbit Day (September 22nd) can add extra magic to your trip.

    Local Customs and Etiquette

    Kiwis are known for their friendly and laid-back nature. While visiting Matamata, a simple smile and greeting can go a long way. When visiting natural sites, respect the environment and follow the "leave no trace" principle.

    Embrace the Magic of Matamata

    Whether you're a Tolkien enthusiast, a nature lover, or a traveller in search of unique experiences, Matamata offers an unforgettable journey. This quaint township, with its rich history, charming landscapes, and warm hospitality, captures the hearts of all who visit. So, why wait? Hire a motorhome in New Zealand and start planning your magical Matamata adventure today!

    Let’s go on an adventure!

    Unbeatable prices. Premium customer service.

    Book now

    Our website uses targeted advertising cookies. By continuing, you are agreeing to allow us to deploy cookies, as detailed in our privacy and cookies policy.
    Learn more

    Campervan New ZealandBook now