🚗 self-drive itinerary
🛏️ minimum 2 night stay recommended
🍽️ dining suggestions offered
📅 visit any time of year
With the perfect combination of hillsides and plains, Matamata is home to the Hobbiton Movie Set. Visit nearby Cambridge is packed with top galleries, cafes and stores. Te Aroha is an historic Spa Town famous for its natural hot soda water springs. Further south rustic rural charm and quirky inventiveness of the locals defines this area of New Zealand.
Highlights can include:
- step into the lush pastures of the Shire, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies on a Hobbiton Movie Set Tour, or experience the set at dusk with a guided tour and a banquet feast fit for a Hobbit 🎬🎥
- expect a variety of boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants at Tirau Village, also dubbed the 'Corrugated Capital of the World' ☕
- Wairere Falls Track weaves its way through moss covered rocks, tree roots, large round boulders, natural pools and cascading waterfalls 👟
- an ancient, vibrant and pest free eco-system, surround by a 47km fence, makes Sanctuary Mountain the largest mainland fenced sanctuary in NZ
- Lake Karapiro is the furthest downstream of a chain of eight hydroelectric power stations on the Waikato River, and a world-class rowing venue
- see amazing native bush and bird life in the Cambridge River Gorge, with CAMJET ideal for anyone who likes adventure, fun, speed or scenery
- walk the Te Waihou Walkway where the water is extremely clear and explore the famous Blue Spring with an intense blue hue (see video) 👟
- discover one of New Zealand's largest outdoor galleries when you wander the 2km long nature trail at The Sculpture Park @ Waitakaruru Arboretum
- Nestled in the beautiful domain at the bottom of Mount Te Aroha is the Te Aroha Mineral Spas - renowned for their healing properties since the 1800s
- bring your senses to life and connect with nature following NZ's longest river, the Waikato, by walking or cycling the Waikato River Trails 👟🚴
- view glow-worms from a kayak on the with The Boatshed Kayaks - a whole different experience from seeing them inside a cave like at Waitomo 🛶
- The Wharepapa South area, well known for its stunning ignimbrite rock formations has been attracting rock climbers to the area since the early 1980's
- Cougar Mountain Bike Park near Tokoroa offers 35km of off-road forest tracks catering for riders of all abilities with views over the surrounding area 🚵
AT A GLANCE
📍 # of Visitors 2.5
🐚 Beaches 0.0
🌦️ Chance of Rain 3.5
👨👩👦👦 Family Fun 2.5
🛒 Shopping 6.0
🍽️ Food + Wine 3.5
🏳️🌈 LGBTQI+ friendly 👍
Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0
🎥video courtesy of aceflyernz on YouTube
Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.
Day 1 : Arrive in Waikato's East
You'll travel to the Waikato's East, either by car, coach, or by flying into Hamilton's Airport. Upon arrival you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.
That afternoon get outdoors and hike to Wairere Falls, where you can choose to walk to the relatively easy viewpoint, or climb to the top of the falls for fantastic views over the lush Waikato farmland below. Wherever your efforts take you, reward yourself afterwards with a soak in Te Aroha Minerals Spas.
Later that evening we can suggest places to dine before heading out on a kayaking tour that will take you through a river canyon where lights of glow-worms will surround you in an unforgettable experience.
Day 2 : live like a Hobbit and/or get back to nature
Some of you will be incredibly excited by the idea of visiting the movie set made famous by The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. The tours that take you through Hobbiton Movie Set are a delight, with enthusiastic guides that will banter with the most avid fans, right through to the grandparents mainly visiting to make their children jealous!
That frees up the rest of your day to get back to New Zealand's other major drawcard - our beautiful scenery. Waikato's East will take your breath away when you wander through Te Waihou Walkway and it's Blue Spring. Or take the opportunity to cycle or walk one of hundreds of kilometres that make up the Waikato River Trails.
After your day, we've arranged for you to delight in dinner and celebrate your last night in this region at one of our favourite restaurants in the area, or if you've timed it right, we can have you feasting like a hobbit at The Green Dragon where you'll need a decent appetite for the banquet.
Day 3 : Depart Waikato's East
Depending on the direction you're travelling, you could break up your journey via some quirky retail therapy at Tirau Village, or get up close to some of our wildlife at Sanctuary Mountain. We'll let you know the best way to get from this region to the next part of your New Zealand trip, wherever you want that to be.