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Your guide to Matamata
All About Matamata
Located in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island, Matamata is a small rural town famous for its alpine mountain ranges, rolling farmland, geothermal hot springs, and cascading waterfalls. If that sounds like the backdrop to a blockbuster Hollywood fantasy epic, that’s because it was.
Just outside of Matamata is the tallest waterfall in the North Island, Wairere Falls. Several great hikes crisscross the area, like the Rapurapu Kauri Track or the Hauraki Rail Trail. To learn more about the history of the town, head to the Matamata Heritage Trail, which leads through parks and historical sites, including the 1919 Bank of New Zealand building. Matamata also has a small but growing wine scene, movie-themed souvenirs and handicrafts, and ample entertainment in the form of music and farm festivals.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Matamata
Since Matamata is found in the southern hemisphere, the city’s summer runs from December to February. These warmer months offer plenty of sunlight to enjoy the numerous festivals that occur here, including the Summer Harvest Festival and the Matamata Historical Society Book Fair. The warmer months are also ideal for outdoor activities like hiking and biking. The city can experience rain no matter what time of year, so it’s best to pack a waterproof outer layer. June through August is the winter season in Matamata. Winters here are wet and cold, but temperatures rarely reach below freezing.
Top things to do in Matamata
This 500-foot waterfall cascades against boulders before plunging into a natural pool and dividing into small streamlets that flow through the forest. The walk to the waterfall is a three to four hour journey connected by a scenic hiking trail that passes over several small wooden bridges. The waterfall is surrounded by characteristic terrain of tree roots and moss-colored rocks.
Te Tapui Scenic Reserve
The Te Tapui Scenic Reserve is home to two peaks, Te Tapui and Maungakawa. The Te Tapui Loop Track climbs up to Maungakawa via a trail that passes a lookout tower that provides incredible views of the Kaimai Ranges and Firth of Thames. The entire loop is 2.5 miles and usually takes approximately four hours to complete.
Matamata-Piako District Heritage Trail
This 3.3 mile trail follows the Old Te Aroha Road, which once served gold miners and their families. The hike takes around an hour and 40 minutes, and passes through the town’s parks, gardens, and several historical sites, including the Waiorongomai Valley mines, where you’ll see the remnants of gold mining tracks and carts, the Gordon Creamery (which shut down in 1920), and memorials to the sites of a plane crash and a train tunnel collapse. You’ll also pass by a number of waterfalls and hot springs where you can take a break and explore.