The last destination of our weeklong roadtrip was a visit to one of Hobart’s, and Tasmania’s, most renowned attractions, the Museum of Old and New Art – MONA. This is Australia’s largest privately-funded museum, essentially the personal art collection of Tasmanian millionaire David Walsh. MONA showcases antiquities, contemporary, and modern art with a fun and provocative attitude – something that is clear throughout the museum experience.
The adventure begins the moment you board one of MONA’s catamaran ferries at Brooke Street Pier on Hobart’s waterfront. The ferry service (especially luxe if you opt for the “Posh Pit” VIP class) takes you up the River Derwent to Berridale peninsula, a beautiful 30 minute cruise north of the downtown area. The museum grounds, located within Moorilla winery, also contain boutique hotel accommodations, a restaurant, and a brewery.
The building itself is a bit of an architectural attraction – ostensibly only a storey tall, it is actually three levels deep built into the cliffs of the peninsula. Starting your visit feels like descending into a dungeon, and there are intentionally no windows in the exhibition space.
Displaying some 400 works, many of the installations are whimsical, provocative, and occasionally disturbing – reflecting a dark, subversive, and cheeky sense of humour. It’s not for everyone, but as far as contemporary art museums go, MONA is certainly world class and, for me, very enjoyable. Definitely worth a visit if you are in Hobart.