“It’s…interesting” This is the phrase I most commonly heard as the follow up to, “What’d you think of MONA?” In fact, the general backpacker consensus around the hostel was that it was an alright thing to do one day since you were here, but didn’t extend much past that sentiment. This surprised me, since MONA is a world renowned museum responsible for one of the main attractions of not only Hobart, but the whole of Tasmania. Because of these pessimistic views, I almost forewent my plans of going. Then I decided that there wasn't anything else I had planned for the day, so why not?
I’m glad I went. The entrance to the museum is simple an unassuming. So unassuming, that it’s overshadowed by the restaurants, and cafes, and your attention is caught by the trampoline overlooking the bay before you can figure out where the entrance even is. Oh, it’s those sliding doors with the security guard standing in front. Ifthat guy wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have thought to go through.
MONA is built into the ground, you take the steps all the way to the bottom, and work your way up to the top. Let me just say, this place is huge! By being underground, you’re unable to get a grasp on surroundings and how far the rooms stretch out, so you wander through the maze of exhibits, constantly surprised that yes, there’s another room this direction!
The first, and my favorite, exhibit. The words are comprised of water drops!
Typically, I don’t like writing, or reading, reviews on museums and galleries and such because I feel that the point of art is to experience it for yourself and make your own judgement. This is even reinforced by every backpacker in my hostel saying they didn’t think it was quite worth it if you had other plans, whereas I fully enjoyed my experience and being privy to the openness and creative exhibits that MONA housed.
With that said, I will give you the basis of what you need to know, in case you are looking for information on HOW to go over SHOULD you go. Entrance fee ranges from $20-$28 depending on the season. They also offer student/concession prices of $25 with a valid ID. My hostel, The Pickled Frog (an amazing, welcome-home feel complete with two resident huskies!) offered a free shuttle to the museum, or you can take the MONA ferry for $22 or the bus for $4.50. (Again, student/concession rates are applicable throughout Tasmanian transit.)
The Cellar Door is a wine bar on the property which offers $10 tastings of 9 wines, or you cant taste 3-4 wines for free. The views, as with any spot in Tassie, are spectacular, and if the museum isn’t to your satisfaction, you can still end on a nice note of wine tasting and lunch overlooking the bay. My suggestion would be to be open and enjoy yourself. Don’t try to understand or listen to every explanation of each exhibit, but wander with curiosity and don’t be afraid to try and see some new things.