A frolic among the hobbit holes could be just the thing to inspire romance this Valentines Day, after a major US reality-TV romance show used the Waikato tourism destination as a love location.
Over seven million Americans tuned into The Bachelor this week with the show, which features a bevy of love-hungry women vying for an eligible man, visiting Matamata's Hobbiton film set and the sights of Taupo.
The episode was shot in October.
Hobbiton continues to boost the profile of Matamata on a global scale following the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, but Matamata folk believed it was more than just the lure of creatures with large hairy feet that made the town a perfect Valentines location.
"We always have loved-up couples in here," Redoubt Bar and Eatery proprietor Jacob Henderson said. "Bookings are received weeks in advance."
This year the restaurant was running a "Pash for Cash" promotion aimed at increasing the level of affection between couples in the town.
Taupo florist Bloomin Flowers was preparing roses long in advance. In October they supplied the show with seven of possibly the most famous roses they will ever prepare.
Sally Coxhead said unfortunately they didn't get to meet any of the stars. She described it as being "all secretive".
Floatplane owner Neil Kemp was in on the big secret, flying the bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis in his aircraft to make it look like he had arrived in Taupo on it.
Mr Kemp said he flew the bachelor into Orakei Korako, with the plan originally being to fly the bloke and some of the girls. However, the weather did not play ball.
Mr Kemp said Galavis was "really nice" and said he had heard from friends in the US who had seen the episode that while his plane featured, he didn't think he himself had made the cut.
- © Fairfax NZ News