I'm a dental hygienist, pyrography artist, avid gardener, writer, vegetarian, world traveler, and many other things!
Well, you could say the sheep have been there longer than Hobbiton itself. Alexander Farm, the site of "Hobbiton" in the Lord of the Rings movies, is actually an active sheep and cow farm.
Back in 1998, Peter Jackson discovered the farm while taking an aerial tour of Matamata, New Zealand, on the North Island. Correctly, I think, he felt Alexander Farm matched the description of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth remarkably well. Luckily the Alexanders were open to negotiations, and soon 37 little hobbit houses were nestled into their hillsides.
Now just 17 of the houses remain, open to the sheep--and also tourists. You can crawl into Bag End, but the movie props have been removed and now it's a minimalistic concrete slab. But judging by some of the pictures I've seen, it still has a wonderful view of the Party Tree. It's an absolutely beautiful place. The sheep have it pretty good--they just don't know it!
Hobbiton Movie Set And Farm Tours
After finally settling on the location of Hobbiton, it took 3 months of work to create the hobbit holes and get everything ready for filming. Filming took another 3 months, and afterward the hobbit holes were stripped of their props and became shelter for sheep. The sheep shelter in the hobbit houses in the winter, at night, and when it's raining.
If you had any questions about whether Alexander Farm and Matamata are benefiting from these films, it's your lucky day. You can take a two-hour guided tour around the Hobbiton movie set for US$53 per adult on the low side, to US$360 on the high side. From what I can see, the basic tour is shorter and might not include Bag End.
Unfortunately their tour site is kind of difficult at first glance, so if you're interested in a visit, I recommend thorough research!
© 2011 Kate P
Eranofu from Europe on December 03, 2012:
Haha, amazing... Thank you for this hub.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on January 07, 2012:
Thanks for the comments; I'd love to visit this pastoral scene some day!
Haley from Baltimore, MD on December 12, 2011:
Interesting hub, I always have loved the LotR books and movies as a child, and I had forgot about them as I grew older. Voted up and interesting!
Tiger Mom from New York on November 26, 2011:
The Shire looks very different on screen! The sheep condos are definitely the most humane I've seen. What sheep wouldn't like living behind round openings cut into a bucolic hillside? It keeps them sheltered from the elements and is lovely to behold. Thanks for this very interesting hub. I am now a follower. The Hobbit LIVES!
shamanismandyou from USA on October 30, 2011:
I always wanted to build and live in a hobbit house. :O) Fun Article!
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on October 29, 2011:
Thanks for the amazing comments! :) I wonder if the new Hobbit movie will be using the same props or building new ones. I assume it's going to be filmed on Alexander Farm; does anybody know?
KateWest from Los Angeles, CA on October 26, 2011:
krosch on October 22, 2011:
Very Cool, I wonder when they shoot the Hobbit Movie if they will build new sets or if they will reuse some of those. Peter Jackson sure did pick out a cool area to do the shooting of the movies though.
JT Walters from Florida on October 22, 2011:
Very nice informative hub.
R. Brady Frost from Somewhere Between a Dream and Memory on October 22, 2011:
This was a very interesting hub! I loved the LotR books growing up. The Hobbit remains one of my all time favorites. Thank you for writing this hub, I had no idea that this place existed and available for tours to boot!
Vanessa McKay on October 22, 2011:
Lucky Sheep! Beautiful photos, thank you for sharing :)
Brandon Lobo on October 21, 2011:
Your hub is nice. Its different!!