Matamata is a must see if you’re a Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan. Take a guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set and enjoy the town’s fabulous cafes.

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Two hours south of Auckland lies the lush farmland of the Waikato region. Famous for dairying and fine thoroughbred horses, it's easy to see why these green pastures and rolling hills were chosen to portray Hobbiton and The Shire.

Hobbit fans can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set on a guided tour, with its 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 Green Dragon Pub, the mill, the double arched bridge and the famous Party Tree.

A number of great farmstays and farm tours are also on offer in Matamata. 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 see magnificent views over the valley and the Waikato Plains.

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Got a taste for bigger caverns than hobbit holes? Check out Waikato's massive  Waitomo Caves for dramatic stalactites, stalagmites and zillions of sparkling glow-worms. You can glide through on a barge, take a black water rafting trip, or even abseil (rappel) down into the abyss!

Matamata is the perfect place to stop on your drive from Auckland to Rotorua.  Rotorua is just one hour away and is the center of Maori culture and geothermal activity. It’s also a quick 45 minute drive to the popular beach town of Tauranga.

Getting there:

  • Driving time from Auckland is about 2 ½ hours. Follow SH1 to Tirau, turn left onto SH27.

  • Domestic and international air services run to the city of Hamilton, which is 30 minutes drive from Matamata.

Functional facts: 

Approx. population 6300, i-SITE Visitor Centre, good range of shops and services.