If you want a good day trip to the south, them there’s a lot going on in the farming district. Matamata, 75min from Miranda, is a nice country town, with ample walks and things to do. Start at the Matamata iSite Centre
Hobbiton Movie Set
Allow 90 minutes drive from Miranda. The Hobbiton Movie set was a significant location used for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and The Hobbit film series. It is situated on a family run farm about 8 kilometres west of Hinuera and 10 kilometres southwest of Matamata, in Waikato, New Zealand, and is now a Tolkien tourism destination, offering guided tours of the set.
Matamata Heritage trail
The 5.3km Matamata Heritage Trail meanders through the town’s parks, gardens and historical sites. The 1 hour 40 minute circuit leaves from the i-SITE on the main street and takes in highlights including the 1919 Bank of New Zealand building and the Railway Plantation from 1855.
The 153-metre-high Wairere Falls are one of the highest in the North Island. The falls offer breath-taking views over the Waikato region and a walk through lush native bush. The 3-4 hour return journey to the top takes you through groves of nikau, puriri and kohekohe, while the shorter journey to the bottom of the falls offers equally rewarding views.
Swimming spots & hot pools
Small wooden bridges take you across the stream at several points along the Wairere Falls track, affording lovely views of little cascades and providing opportunities to cool tired feet in the refreshing water. On the outskirts of town the Opal Hot Springs offer even more swimming options in their outdoor mineral pools.
Kaimai Cheese Factory
Housed in a replica of a historic 1920s butter factory, Waikato cheese-maker Kaimai Cheese has a wide range of cheese available from camembert to blue vein. Enjoy a meal in the café, view the cheese-making process through picture-glass windows in to the boutique factory and sample some of the some of the best cheeses the Waikato region has to offer.
Built in 1882, the Firth Tower is a stone’s throw from Matamata’s town centre. The tower sits on lush park-like grounds that are perfect for picnics, weddings and other functions. Built by Josiah Clifton Firth as a lookout and fortification, the 13 buildings on the grounds now hold a treasure trove of museum displays. Take a stroll through the peaceful grounds, or pay a small admission fee to enter the historic building, with tours available.
Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville
Borne out of a passion to showcase local art and artists, the Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville houses the most comprehensive collection of contemporary New Zealand art in existence. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, the gallery offers inspiration and insight into New Zealand’s impressive art scene.
Dalton’s plantation just out of town boasts 10 acres of beautifully designed gardens along with an elegant café; find a spot to lose yourself among the weeping silver pear or kauri trees. These gardens hold the smells and colours of the Waikato region. Dine at the café t, open seven days a week, or host your own private function at the plantation’s elegant homestead.