So you are heading to Tasmania for a weekend of great food, amazing scenery and delicious wine. You are struggling to squeeze everything into your already adventure and gourmet gorge fest itinerary. The question has been posed – should you visit Mona? It’s an Art Gallery, sure… but it’s in Tasmania… is it really worth giving up some valuable wine tasting time for??
The short answer is: Yes! Hell Yes!
If you are a spontaneous person and need no more encouragement, I suggest you stop reading now, jump online and purchase your ferry tickets to Mona. If however, you want more a more detailed analysis behind the “hell yes” then keep reading!
What is Mona: It is the Museum of Old and New Art hat was created by Tasmanian Millionaire David Walsh who is a professional gambler with an extreme love of art. The Museum is primarily stocked with pieces from his own collection and is the biggest privately own and run art museum in Australia. But it’s not just an art museum – on the site there is also a winery, an outdoor theatre and restaurants – it’s basically a one stop shop for all of your cultural needs.
But what makes it sooooo special? Mona is a complete experience. Every part of your journey to, through and from Mona is incorporated in art. This is what really sets it apart from other museums – the complete emersion in the design of the concept.
Start with the ferry ride from the central Warf in Hobart – a giant catamaran painted in camouflage colours sports a bar that sells delicious wine from the Mona winery. Sit back and relax with a glass of wine while looking at some of the art pieces that are gracing the ferry’s decks. The fun has started before you even arrive.
Spend some time exploring outside before you head through the Museum. There are loads of great pieces dotted around not to mention some great views of Hobart. Then get in the elevator and descend through the levels to start exploring the exhibitions.
When you first emerge from the elevator it takes a while for your eyes to adjust. It helps that there is a bar selling delicious wine right there – I suggest grabbing one, if only because the wine is delicious and heightened by the artful atmosphere. I also strongly suggest you grab one of the audio tour devices – they are great and they completely change, expand and enrich your whole experience.
Take your time where you need it – with Mona I think its important to linger over the pieces that are speaking to you, that grab your attention. Plug into the audio tour and relax as you take it in. Some of the exhibits are fun hands on experiences, don’t be afraid to take your shoes off and jump on the chimed trampoline.
Some pieces are dark and powerful while others are playful and light. Some I just didn’t understand and others grabbed me like a powerful jolt to the stomach. There are paintings and sculptures, performance pieces and statement pieces.
Lunch is a complete continuation of the Mona encounter. The menu is vast and full of fresh local produce. Everything that comes out of the kitchen will set your tummy grumbling. There is also a great wine list with loads of local wines to sample. If its warm sit outside with the chickens and the ducks that roam the yard antagonising your fellow art lovers. If its cold then definitely sit near a window to admire the view and to still be able to see the previously mention chickens.
If you have time before your ferry home then take a rest and enjoy some sweets and some more wine at the Mona Winery. There is usually a hens do or two happening so there is plenty of people watching for those who appreciate their macaroons with a side of the absurd.
Finally relax on the ferry back to Hobart – watch the sun set over the sea and sip that final glass of wine before you head home to dream of blank TVs and model cars!