Hobbit link puts town on the map
Matamata is proud of its unique connection to the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies which has made the town an internationally recognised visitor destination.
Visitor numbers to the Waikato town are expected to reach 400,000 this year.
Sue Whiting, manager of the Matamata Public Relations Association, said Matamata was truly fortunate to be closely associated with Hobbiton Tours.
‘‘Our many visitors are stopping to take the tour, or taking some time to enjoy our many cafes and bars, or simply stopping to take a photo of the beautiful Matamata i-SITE Gatehouse. Matamata is now a significant tourist town and that certainly adds value to Matamata’s economy.’’
The completion of the Gatehouse in 2013 has given visitors a reason to stop in our town and has put our little town on the world map, Whiting said.
Matamata has a lot to offer, such as a number of walking and tramping options in the Kaimai Range. The most popular is the Wairere Falls, a 11⁄ hour return walk to the first lookout, through nikau, puriri and kohekohe which are spectacular, particularly after heavy rain. Matamata has an active walking and tramping club that meets fortnightly and enjoys walks in and around the region.
The Firth Tower Museum offers an insight into the town’s rural pioneering ways with displays featuring Matamata’s colonial farming past. The museum is set in tranquil gardens.
For golfers there is the Matamata Golf Club on Springs Rd and the Walton Golf Club a few kilometers from Matamata. Opal Hot Springs and the Matamata Sports Centre are ideal for a warm swim in winter. Sue and the i-SITE team offer a warm welcome to those who are moving to Matamata. Visit the i-SITE Gatehouse and talk to Memorie, Hayley or Jodie who can assist you with information on the many groups and organisations you can join and the activities on offer.
Hobbiton Movie Set won Matamata’s Business Excellence award at the 2014 Business to Business awards.