Hobbit hot spots boost tourist traffic
The holiday season has lifted the foot traffic through Waikato’s tourism hot spots by the thousands – and it is only going to get busier.
Off the back of The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, tourism in Matamata is booming as expected, with Matamata i-SITE manager Sue Whiting calling the town the ‘‘top tourist destination of New Zealand, this summer’’.
‘‘It’s just the place to be. We’re getting about 750 people through our doors a day but sometimes there are just too many to count,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s literally standing room only. It’s wonderful and I would expect it to stay that way throughout the year.’’
George Helms, who manages Opal Hot Springs just outside Matamata, has witnessed huge growth over last year’s holiday season and said ‘‘it’s never been so busy’’.
‘‘We’ve had a full camp for days now, about 250 to 300 people at a time. Yesterday morning the park cleaned out and by last night it was full again,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve never been anywhere near this. I don’t know why but it’s great.’’