More to town than hobbits
You are no doubt aware that Matamata has a strong connection with the Lord of the Rings as the Hobbiton segments of the movies were filmed locally.
Because of this, the number of visitors to Matamata has increased from an average of 50,000 a year, to 360,000 in 2004.
Estimated visitor numbers for 2011 are around 250,000.
‘‘Since the launch of the Lord of the Rings movies and the subsequent opening of the Hobbiton Movie Set Tours, Matamata has become a popular visitor destination, attracting people from all over the world,’’ said manager of the Matamata Public Relations Association Sue Whiting.
‘‘It has put Matamata on the world map. We expect the release of The Hobbit later this year will attract even greater numbers of visitor to our town. We have so much to offer.’’
Nestled at the base of the scenic Kaimai Ranges, in the heartland of the Waikato, Matamata embodies the essence of rural New Zealand.
Matamata has a strong dairy farming heritage.
It is also renowned internationally for its thoroughbred horse industry. Experience some special moments in Matamata, such as an early morning visit to the local race track to see some of New Zealand’s finest race horses out training. As the sun rises over the horizon and the Kaimai Ranges emerge from darkness, the track comes alive with horses, jockeys and trainers.
Ms Whiting said it was a spectacular sight to see the horses training at daybreak, particularly on a misty morning.
About 500 horses train between 5am and 7am, six mornings a week, at the allweather track.
Another spectacle is the Wairere Falls set amongst the beautiful bush of the Kaimai Ranges.
The first stage of the 1.8 kilometre track passes through nikau, puriri and kohekohe before reaching the lookout platform with its impressive view of the falls.
The reward at the end of the second stage (a further 45 minutes walk) is a breathtaking view of the entire district.
Peaceful, relaxing walks can also be enjoyed in the urban centre.
Matamata’s colonial history is on display at the Firth Tower Estate and Museum.
At this historical landmark on Tower Rd, visitors are offered an insight into the area’s colonial farming activities.
A round of golf is always on the cards at the allweather, free draining 18-hole Matamata Golf Club or the attractive Walton Golf Club.
Relax afterwards with a soak at Opal Hot Springs, just 6km out of Matamata.
Set within six hectares of park-like grounds are three hot natural mineral pools. The i-SITE Visitor Centre serves as the departure point for the Hobbiton
Pop in: The team at Matamata i-SITE Centre will be more than happy to help you.