Things to do in Matamata

About Matamata

The must-see attractions in Matamata include the Hobbiton Movie Set, known for its picturesque movie set tours, the panoramic Wairere Falls, and the informative Firth Tower Museum. These destinations are essential for a comprehensive Matamata experience.
The best things to do in Matamata with kids involve visiting the interactive and imaginative Hobbiton Movie Set, enjoying the outdoor spaces at Matamata's public parks, such as Founders Park, and engaging with the historical exhibits at the Firth Tower Museum.
The best outdoor activities in Matamata include hiking to the spectacular Wairere Falls, exploring the Matamata Heritage Trail, and indulging in the horticultural beauty of the Daltons Plantation Homestead and Gardens.
The top indoor activities in Matamata comprise of touring the Firth Tower Museum, experiencing the cheese-making process and tastings at the Kaimai Cheese Company, and exploring the quaint cafes and local craft shops dotted around town.
The best tours in Matamata include the Hobbiton Movie Set tours, self-guided audio tours of the town's notable sites, and immersive agricultural excursions to local farms which offer insights into the region's farming heritage.
The most popular museum in Matamata is the Firth Tower Museum, showcasing local history and culture, and a collection of buildings and machinery that represents the early settler life in New Zealand.
For rainy days in Matamata, guided indoor tours of the Hobbiton Movie Set, which include access to the Green Dragon Inn, and a visit to the Kaimai Cheese Company offer a great combination of culture and culinary experiences away from inclement weather.
In Matamata, shorter tours that last 1 hour or less include the Matamata Heritage Trail, which can be completed at a brisk pace, and tastings at the Kaimai Cheese Company, perfect for visitors with limited time but a keen interest in local gastronomy.

Best Things to Do In Matamata

Discover the enchanting town of Matamata, a gateway to memorable experiences and stunning natural beauty.

Matamata: Matamata i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

What is it?
A gateway to local knowledge and resources, often the first stop for visitors to Matamata.
Why you should go?
Located at the entrance to Hobbiton Movie Set, the Matamata i-SITE Visitor Information Centre is more than just a place to collect brochures. Shaped like a hobbit house itself, it’s an attraction offering comprehensive information about Matamata tours, accommodations, and eateries. Visitors can also book Matamata excursions here, making it a practical and charming first stop in discovering the best Matamata has to offer.

Matamata: Founders Park

What is it?
A living museum with a collection of historic buildings and relics in a park-like setting.
Why you should go?
Founders Park offers a step back in time with its well-preserved snapshot of early New Zealand settlement. Here, one can experience the heritage of what life was like in the Matamata region through interactive exhibits and well-curated displays. It's among the best things to do in Matamata for history enthusiasts and families looking for an educational outdoor activity.

Matamata: Centennial Drive

What is it?
A peaceful walkway surrounded by a diverse array of trees and greenery in Matamata's town center.
Why you should go?
Centennial Drive is perfect for those seeking a serene nature walk. This area, known for its variety of native and exotic trees, provides a tranquil escape. Try to identify the different species using the informational plaques as you enjoy the fresh air and bird songs. It offers a reflective break from the bustling attractions and is ideal for travelers pursuing relaxation amongst natural surroundings.

Matamata: Kaimai Cheese Company

What is it?
A local cheesemaking facility that offers a gourmet experience with tastings and a cafe.
Why you should go?
Food lovers looking for things to do in Matamata should head to the Kaimai Cheese Company. It's a cheese aficionado’s paradise where visitors can observe the cheesemaking process, sample a selection of artisanal cheeses, and dine at the on-site café. The chance to purchase some of New Zealand's finest dairy products to take home makes this a deliciously rewarding outing.

Matamata: Daltons Plantation Homestead and Gardens

What is it?
An immaculately maintained garden and homestead that celebrates horticultural excellence.
Why you should go?
Landscaped gardens, a tranquil lake, and a stunning homestead await visitors at Daltons Plantation. This attraction provides an idyllic environment for garden lovers and photographers alike. The beautifully designed layout and calming ambiance rank it among the fun things to do in Matamata. After a leisurely stroll, the café is a delightful spot to enjoy refreshments amidst the blooms.

Matamata: Hobbiton Movie Set

What is it?
An iconic movie set famous for its depiction of The Shire in the Lord of the Ring films.
Why you should go?
Whether you're a film buff or simply admire picturesque scenery, the Hobbiton Movie Set is one of the top things to do in Matamata. As the permanent site for this much-loved fantasy saga, visitors can step into a magical realm and see the hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, and the Party Tree. This immersive experience is enhanced with tales and anecdotes from the making of the films, making it an unforgettable part of best Matamata tours.

Matamata: Wairere Falls

What is it?
A stunning 153-meter waterfall, the highest in the North Island, set amidst lush landscape.
Why you should go?
For fun things to do in Matamata, add a hike to Wairere Falls to your list. This trek rewards adventurers with panoramic views of the Waikato region from the lookout. The captivating sound of water and a scenic trail through native bushland make for an excellent excursion — one of the finest Matamata activities for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.

Matamata: Firth Tower Museum

What is it?
A historical museum complex offering a glimpse into the early settler life in New Zealand.
Why you should go?
Dive into the rich history of Matamata by visiting the Firth Tower Museum. The collection of colonial buildings, including the iconic Firth Tower, portrays the life and times of the Matamata district. Among the places to visit in Matamata, the museum stands out for its educational exhibits, serene grounds, and an array of vintage machinery, making it a rewarding stop for history aficionados.

Matamata: Matamata Heritage Trail

What is it?
A self-guided walking tour highlighting the historical and cultural landmarks of the town.
Why you should go?
The Matamata Heritage Trail is an insightful journey for visitors interested in what to see in Matamata. The trail leads through the heart of the town, showcasing plaques and informative signs that detail its significant past. Learning about early Maori history, pioneering settlers, and local legends enrich this trek, rounding out the experience of best things to do in Matamata.

Matamata: Opal Hot Springs & Holiday Park

What is it?
A popular destination featuring natural mineral hot pools and leisure facilities.
Why you should go?
Anyone contemplating what to do in Matamata for relaxation should not miss the Opal Hot Springs & Holiday Park. The natural mineral waters are believed to have therapeutic properties and offer a soothing respite from a day of touring. With pools of varying temperatures and a tranquil atmosphere, it's an oasis for visitors seeking both adventure and wellness from their Matamata excursions.

TOP-5 tours in Matamata for first time visitors

  • Embark on the quintessential Matamata excursion, exploring the rolling hills and picturesque landscapes that were famously used as a filming location for a globally celebrated film series. This tour guides you through the lush pastures and provides fascinating insights into the land's transformation into a beloved fantasy world.
  • One of the best things to do in Matamata is to delve into the local culture with an audio journey through the town's heritage trail. Listen to stories of Matamata's founding and see historic landmarks that paint a picture of its past, making it an enlightening cultural venture.
  • Adventure seekers exploring Matamata activities shouldn't miss a guided experience through the verdant Kaimai Ranges. This audio tour takes you past waterfalls and forested paths, detailing the area's ecology and geology in an immersive narrative.
  • For those wondering what to do in Matamata, a self-guided audio tour of the town's charming gardens is a must. Uncover the secrets and horticultural highlights of local estates, with the colors and fragrances adding a sensory pleasure to the educational content.
  • Discover the agricultural side of things to see in Matamata with an audio exploration of its iconic farms. Learn about the region's farming history and modern practices, providing a unique look into rural life in New Zealand, and showcasing why Matamata is more than just its cinematic legacy.

Fun things to do in Matamata with kids

Matamata, with its blend of cinematic wonder and natural beauty, offers an array of child-friendly attractions guaranteed to captivate young minds. First on the list is the Hobbiton Movie Set, where families can explore the whimsical architecture and stunning gardens of The Shire. It's perfect for igniting the imagination, leaving lasting memories for both kids and those young at heart. Next, the Matamata i-SITE Visitor Information Centre itself doubles as an attraction with its Hobbit-inspired design and wealth of interactive displays. Here, children can learn about local attractions and the significance of the surrounding landscape. Lastly, the Firth Tower Museum provides an interactive peek into the past. Children can wander through historic buildings, observe antique machinery, and play in the open spaces. Each location offers its own variety of fun things to do in Matamata, creating a visit that's as entertaining as it is educational for families.

Things to do in Matamata with family

Matamata is a treasure trove of family fun, offering experiences that are both engaging and educational. For a magical outing, the Hobbiton Movie Set is a must-see, inviting families to step into the enchanting world of a famed cinematic series. This fully-guided tour captures the imagination and whimsy of all ages. Equally delightful, the Matamata i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, designed like a Hobbit house itself, is a fun starting point for planning your adventures and offers interactive experiences that fascinate kids. Lastly, the Firth Tower Museum and its historical precinct provide a tangible link to pioneer days with lively exhibits and expansive grounds for children to explore. Together, these attractions form the cornerstone of Matamata activities, ensuring a visit filled with wonder, discovery, and shared family moments.

Free things to do in Matamata

For those seeking to explore Matamata without denting their wallet, the region offers several free attractions that promise captivating experiences. First, take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Centennial Drive, awash with a varied collection of trees and peaceful walking trails; it's an ideal spot for a family picnic or a tranquil walk. Art and history enthusiasts can then follow the Matamata Heritage Trail, where plaques and signs narrate the town's rich past, linking visitors to cultural landmarks at no cost. Finally, another free thing to do in Matamata includes visiting the local parks, such as the lush Founders Park. Here, visitors can enjoy the open green spaces, perfect for recreation and relaxation. Each of these activities presents a delightful opportunity to enjoy Matamata's natural and historical beauty while preserving your budget.

Cheap things to do in Matamata

Matamata provides a selection of cost-effective attractions for the budget-conscious traveler. Nature lovers can head to the Wairere Falls, where a modest parking fee leads to a gratifying hike to one of the North Island's most impressive waterfalls. The journey upward offers breathtaking views and a chorus of native birdsong. In the heart of town, the Matamata Heritage Trail invites visitors on a self-guided tour past notable buildings and sites steeped in local history, providing a rich cultural experience at no cost. To savor local flavors, a visit to the Kaimai Cheese Company offers the opportunity to watch cheese-making in action and sample some specialty products for a nominal fee. This delicious excursion combines culinary delights with educational insights. These attractions highlight the best cheap things to do in Matamata, ensuring visitors enjoy memorable experiences that are both affordable and enriching.

Things to do in Matamata for couples

Matamata offers an array of romantic experiences for couples seeking to indulge in memorable activities together. Begin with a tranquil stroll through the enchanting landscape of Hobbiton Movie Set, hand in hand, as the whimsical setting provides a fairy-tale backdrop perfect for couples. Follow this with a peaceful escape to the Opal Hot Springs, where the natural thermal pools offer a relaxing retreat and intimate moments immersed in soothing waters. For an afternoon of leisure, the Daltons Plantation Homestead and Gardens beckon with their beautifully curated gardens and charming café, providing an idyllic setting for enjoying each other's company. These top attractions combine to form the ultimate romantic itinerary, ensuring that a visit to Matamata is filled with love, relaxation, and shared discovery.

Things to do in Matamata at night

Evenings in Matamata unravel a different charm, beginning with the captivating ambiance of the Hobbiton Movie Set evening tours. Couples and friends can explore the illuminated Shire, with its hobbit holes aglow, culminating in a magical dinner at the Green Dragon Inn. For those looking to unwind with a good drink, the town's local pubs and bars offer a taste of New Zealand's finest craft beers and regional wines. Enjoy a laid-back evening savoring the local flavors and mingling with the friendly locals. Lastly, the starlit sky above this rural landscape sets the stage for stargazing adventures. Escape the light pollution and gaze upon constellations and celestial wonders. These nighttime attractions create the perfect opportunity to experience Matamata's unique nocturnal offerings.