The Museum of New and Old, known affectionately as MONA, has single handedly put Tasmania on the map. It has instigated many a trip to the island.
MONA is the result of one man’s dream. David Walsh, a local collector and philanthropist, opened the gallery in January 2011 and since then it has treated Tasmanians and visitors to an ever changing art scene.
Even if you are not an art lover, a visit to MONA is a must.
Catch the MONA ferry
The journey starts from the moment you arrive at the Brooke Street Ferry Terminal. This purpose built floating ferry terminal makes waiting for the ferry easy. Local products are tastefully displayed and a few select tour companies are on hand to offer their expertise on travelling in Tasmania.
The MONA ferry is also one of a kind…incredibly spacious and very different to your usual ferries. As you wander up the graffitied steps, you will notice that you will be enjoying your trip with a few very different passengers…
It’s a pleasant thirty minute trip and a great opportunity to see Hobart from the water.
Arriving at MONA
Arriving at Mona, you first have to climb the flight of steps to reach the central piazza which is in fact a tennis court. This is the heart of the area that leads you to different parts of the complex. Large outdoor sculptures are dotted around this area
The glass door you see on your right at the top of the steps is the entrance to the gallery.
Take the advice of the uber friendly gallery staff and head down the steps to the Void, the lowest floor of the museum where you can admire the work that was undertaken to created this incredible building. The building is itself a work of art. The area, 14 metres below the ground was carved out of solid sandstone.
The art can be confronting. It is certainly eclectic. Collections of old, new, modern, the bizzare and the outlandish have given Mona its reputation.
Unfortunately I was not allowed to take photos of the artworks but they need to be seen. Stunning old works and statues that date back to 100BC stand next to huge modern installations.
Follow all the paths, take the turns and you will be led on an incredible journey.
The building spreads under the the tennis court and under the roof plaza where Amarna, an installation by James Turrell has become his most southern Skyspace installation. When the sun sets, this is the place to be.
Wander through the tunnel to the round house that is the library and pop into the Church…when you are back above ground and wandering around, you will be able to see how far the underground area spreads!
When you leave the gallery, walk up the steps from the tennis court, passing David Walsh’s parking spaces marked by the signs below and into the entertainment area.
Here you will find the Moorilla Winery. Vines have been grown on the site since 1958 and now two of their wines are produced here. We were lucky enough to be invited on a tour of the winery where Frieda, herself a winemaker, explained the process, nuances of the industry and offered tastings straight from the barrels.
The Wine Bar offers Mona’s own Moorilla Wines and MooBrew beers amongst others. Order a charcuteries plate and head to the large open green space dotted with bean bags to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
The Source Restaurant
The Cellar Door, opposite the Source Restaurant also offers wine tastings but for us it was the perfect spot for a pre dinner drink before heading into the restaurant. The french inspired meal was a winner.
If you’re here earlier in the day, breakfast and lunch are also available but I think the best way to experience it all would be to stay on one of the Museum’s eight pavilions for the night!
January would be a great time to visit when MONA FOMA, the summer festival of Music and Art takes place!
What ever you do, don’t miss seeing MONA!
MONA: Museum of Old and New Art
655 main Road, Berriedale, Tasmania
Web site: MONA
Closed Tuesday and Christmas Day
Mona is a 15 min drive from Hobart or a 30 min fast ferry ride from Brooke St Pier. Ferry tickets cost $20 pp return.
If you are arriving by ferry please note that you have to climb 99 steps. If you are unable to do his, it would be best to arrive by other means.
Entry is free for Tasmanians and those under 18 Admission.
Entry for visitprs is $25 or $20 concession
The museum is open 10-5pm in Winter (End April- End Nov) and 10-6pm in Summer
I was invited to Tasmania by TFE Hotels who arranged our stay at the Travelodge Hotel in the Hobart and our visit to MONA. My opinion of MONA was not influenced by this…it was a visit I have been wanting to make for a long while!