Matamata – the town racing ahead
Explore an award winning movie set, Hobbiton or walk to the stunning Wairere waterfall. Grab the opportunity to spend a day leisurely exploring one of NZ’s premier open air museum complexes, Firth Tower with 13 buildings. Delve into the lives of locals with artfully told stories. Matamata is an ideal hub to explore Lake Karapiro or Karangahake Gorge. Finish your day with a soak in the Opal Hot Springs. Rural New Zealand with a dash of an urban vibe with cafes and restaurants to suit all tastes.
The highest waterfall in the North Island is within the Kaimai National Park. The waterfalls are approximately 15 minutes drive from Matamata to the carpark at the start of the walk. The popular route is well maintained however there are a considerable number of steps.
Wairere Falls is the third landmark Toroa, Captain of the Mataatua canoe, had been instructed by his father Irakewa to identify. The falls were an important source of freshwater for the Ngati Awa tribe.
15 minutes on Old Te Aroha Rd
The falls reflect the story of human occupation, originally a place for warrior initiation, the site for a flax mill (1870), replaced by a flour mill in 1879, and later reconverted to a flax mill. The stream continued to supply water to the Whakatāne township until 1924. The site was made a scenic reserve in 1971. The waterfalls are lit at night creating a great photo moment and a chance to reflect who has gone before you.
One of Aotearoa New Zealand lesser known public parks is less than one hour from Matamata. Go exploring 19th century gold mining trails. An area quietly slumbering in the valleys and peaks of the Kaimai Ranges. The rich history and charm of the cycling trails and short walks is stunning. A place where gold miners found the most lucrative strikes in New Zealand’s history is fascinating. Karangahake Gorge, part of the Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park is definitely worth a detour. Take a day trip from Matamata and explore the Kaimai Mountain Range, its history and the secrets behind the regenerating bush.
Discover a Matamata jewel and New Zealand treasure for heritage buffs. One of New Zealand’s largest open air collections of farming equipment is located on a quiet rural road.
FIRTH TOWER TOP SIGHTS
… read more Firth Tower & Heritage Village
Matamata is a key link in a heritage trail covering western Waikato towns of Te Aroha (historic spa town), Morrinsville and Matamata. The Matamata-Piako District Heritage Trail links the towns of Matamata, Te Aroha and Morrinsville and visits places of historical interest on the way. The trail follows the Old Te Aroha Road under the Kaimai Range, on to Okauia, Matamata, Morrinsville and back to Te Aroha again. In Matamata is the Edwardian splendour of the 1919 bank building. For a complete list of heritage buildings and places of interest check Schedule 1: Heritage Sites in Matamata- Piako District.
For cemetery buffs Matamata cemetery will not disappoint with the earliest burial recorded on 16 October 1910, six years after the establishment of the Matamata township in 1904. Before that date burials were made at the Waharoa Cemetery or at Te Aroha. Burial records are available at Matamata District Council Area Office, Tainui Street, Matamata. (no. 25 of the heritage trail brochure).
In 1846 Wiremu Tamihana moved his followers from Tapiri Village near the Matamata Pa on the Waitoa River, to this area in Peria. Here houses were built, maize, wheat, potatoes, kumaras and peaches were grown, and a church, post office and storage pits (rua) were built. Tamihana’s own homestead stood amongst the karaka trees (no. 26 of the heritage trail brochure).
Mighty River Domain is a mere 15 minute drive. Discover where crowds relax on grassy banks watching New Zealand’s premier water sports venues. Lake Karapiro, Mighty River Domain is the venue for sporting and cultural events. Either participate in a guided tour or go it alone. Riverside Adventures Waikato offers kayaks and paddleboards for hire to help get you equipped for your next activity. For biking enthusiasts shuttle services and hire equipment. Hire equipment hire includes bikes, e-bikes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards (SUPs), and a range of accessories to turn your kayak adventure into a fishing trip.
A trip to the Waikato region of New Zealand would not be complete without exploring the shared trail cycle trails. The Tower trail shared pathway between Matamata and the Firth Tower is a chance to enjoy the shade of enormous oak trees as you stroll the 2 km flat path passing thoroughbred farms.
Matamata Aerodrome, 9km north of Matamata town, Waikato, New Zealand. About 40 minutes drive from Hamilton OFFERS TRIAL FLIGHTS on non-raining Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. Trial flights & vouchers can be booked any day unless otherwise mentioned. Trial Flights & Gift Vouchers. Fly with an experienced, qualified instructor. Give a Trial Flight Voucher to someone keen on learning to fly.
Do you want to experience a fantastic landscape on the back of a horse? Then we invite you to discover our farm of over 1500 acres!
Situated in the beautiful Owairaka Valley, this magical experience will take you on a journey amongst grand rhyolite volcanic boulders, passed countless charming streams and infinite green rolling hills, in order to give you the ultimate taste of the Waikato region.
Stone Hill caters to all riding abilities from complete beginners to experienced riders. Located 33km SW of Blue Springs.
Matamata and Walton golf courses are both attractive 18-hole courses. The greens are in top condition with plentiful rainfall ensuring good conditions throughout the year. The free draining soil means you only need wet weather gear. The course is beautiful with mature trees and the vista of the Kaimai Ranges in the background. There are seven golf courses within ½ hour drive from Matamata
Soak in natural hot pools open every day. There are five pools to choose from. Outdoor Pools heated at a temperature (27-30°C). A chlorinated lane pool with a slide popular with children. The shallow end is fenced off for the safety of the smaller kids. There are two outdoor mineral pools (37-39°C) to enjoy a long relaxing soak.
Swim Zone Matamata is an indoor pool complex with an indoor pool, outdoor pools, toddler’s pool and dive pool. Swim Zone operates throughout the year.
Keep up to date with Matamata events, Calendar – Matamata NZ.
The main street has numerous eateries, cafes and restaurants serving the busy traffic on its way to the Bay of Plenty, Hobbiton and locals.
There are a number of ethnic inspired takeaways and cafes ensuring all tastes and food preferences are catered for.
The local supermarkets are well stocked with a range of heat and serve meals, breads and snacks for the road.
Converted farm supply store now serves classic New Zealand fare with Good George craft beers and ciders (Hamilton brewery). The innovative pub atmosphere is a place for families and friends to gather after a day exploring the Waikato. The light filled interior with its floor to ceiling glass walls looks out onto the main street with views of the Hobbiton style architecture of the Matamata visitor centre. The Merchant of Matamata is a local meeting spot for dinner forward bookings are recommended for the busy summer period.
A local favourite for its funky atmosphere and warm welcome. The classic New Zealand contemporary cafe menu serving brunch and a dinner menu on selected nights.
Lovers of ice cream and gelato rejoice. The Kowhai Creamery is a artisan ice cream manufacturer with a tasting room. There are vegan options available. The tasting room is closed during the winter months.
The Kaimai Café and Store celebrates cheese. Soft cows milk cheese with a snowy rind and smooth creamy texture is the hallmark of Kaimai cheeses. Check the recipes online and enjoy the taste of stuffed grilled potatoes or grilled chicken breast with a feta and olive salad at the cafe. Kaimai honey and other deli items are available either individually or in hamper bags as a gift.
Warm summers with rain more likely occurring in the winter months (June – August).
Matamata is nestled at the base of the scenic Kaimai Ranges and is the centre of a thriving farming and equine industry. Horses form part of an important bloodstock region.
Matamata is ideally situated to visit Rotorua (68 km), Waitomo Caves (102 km) and the regional hub of the Waikato, Hamilton (62 km). Additionally the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga and Mt Maunganui are only 51 km distance over the picturesque Kaimai Ranges.
Auckland Airport is 103 km and it is an easy drive from the airport to Matamata.
|Tauranga, Mt Maunganui||Matamata||51 km|
|Waitomo Caves||Matamata||102 km|
Te Waihou Walkway. Mesmerising, water welling up forming blue ribbons with tendrils of green swirling freshwater plants. Photo opportunities galore against the blue / green water, hillsides and regenerating bush. The springs flow at a rate of 42 cubic metres per minute. The Blue Spring could fill a six lane, 25 metre swimming pool in just over 12 minutes. It maintains a constant 11°C year round and supplies approximately 60% of New Zealand’s bottled water. The springs origin is the Mamaku Plateau where water percolates through porous rocks taking up to 100 years to produce clear deep blue swelling springs. Look closely at the upwelling water and you will see trout nibbling on the delicious plant life, with open mouths snacking on water insects. The springs are a hotbed of aquatic activity. By the way no fishing is allowed … read more Putaruru Blue Springs & Te Waihou walkway – Best Bits.
A photo moment and must-go is the Edwardian Gazebo in the Domain. The Edwardian delight formerly housed a cold natural soda drinking fountain. Don’t miss viewing the Mokea Te Hau’s memorial cairn next to the Gazebo.
Matamata’s slogan, The Town That Is Racing Ahead.
Look for the black painted wooden fences surrounding lush grass and the thoroughbred horses cared for. Matamata is known for its thoroughbred horses and along with Cambridge has breeding and training horse facilities throughout the district. Matamata’s town slogan has a horse pedigree, ‘The Town That is Racing Ahead.’
The Waikato region’s horse racing history dates back to the late 1800s, with Māori and European employees competing on stock horses on the Firth Estate in Matamata.
One of New Zealand’s most significant training centres is Matamata Racing Club. In 2019, the club celebrated 100 years of racing, honouring the achievements of the champions in the area.
Matamata has produced many fine thoroughbred horses that are now racing internationally.
Some of the racing town’s most notable champions include Dave O’Sullivan, who won the trainer premiership 11 times before retiring in 1998, and his son, Lance, New Zealand’s most successful jockey.
New Zealand, Matamata adds to the richness of things to do and see. For more details about the region check Waikato attractions and things to do.
BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE
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