Matamata was just one of those pleasant, horsey country towns you drove through until Peter Jackson’s epic film trilogy Lord of the Rings put it on the map. Following the subsequent filming of The Hobbit, the town has now ardently embraced its Middle-earth credentials, including a spooky statue of Gollum.
Most tourists who come to Matamata are dedicated Hobbit-botherers. Hobbit fans can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set on a guided tour; it has more than 44 unique hobbit holes, including Bag End (Bilbo's house). As you wander through the heart of the Shire, you'll get to hear the fascinating commentary about how it was all created. Along your journey you'll see the mill, the double arched bridge and the famous Party Tree before stopping for a drink at the Green Dragon Inn. Evening tours are also available, and they include a feast fit for a hobbit!
For everyone else there’s a great cafe, avenues of mature trees and undulating green hills. Just east of town you can discover the North Island’s highest waterfalls, Wairere Falls, which are a spectacular sight plunging 153m. The Wairere Falls walking track showcases a diverse range of natural scenery and from the lookout you can enjoy magnificent views over the valley and the Waikato Plains.
Check out our Lord Of The Rings holiday itinerary through our holiday planning service.