One of the most unique museums I have ever visited is the MONA museum in Tasmania. It is Australia’s largest private museum. My friend and I had planned a trip to Tasmania only to see MONA.
NOTE: This article is not suitable for kids as there are references to sex and vagina.
Also, visit the Female Factory while you are visiting MONA.
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The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is an art museum located on the banks of the Derwent River, within the Moorilla winery in Hobart city of Tasmania. MONA was opened in the year 2011 and is owned by David Dominic Walsh, an Australian art collector. Known for its artefacts related to sex and death, the MONA museum is the largest privately funded museum in the Southern Hemisphere. It is home to ancient, modern and contemporary art.
MONA has an interesting and unusual membership program called Eternity Membership that provides access to free admission and earns the members the right to be cremated and their remains to be housed in the MONA cemetery.
How to get to MONA?
MONA is in the suburb of Berridale and it takes around 30 minutes drive (12 kilometres) from Hobart city.
- There are limited parking spaces at MONA.
There are two ways to get to MONA by public transportation.
- Ferry – A ferry ride from Brooke Street Pier in Hobart to MONA. The journey is around 20 minutes. Ferry rides can be booked on MONA’s official website.
- There are two kinds of ferries, express and normal. The express ferry is more expensive than the normal ferry.
- Note: There are around 99 steps from the wharf at MONA and the entrance to MONA.
- Bus run by MONA – There is also a bus from Brooke Street Pier in Hobart to MONA. The bus journey is around 30 minutes.
- Metro bus – There are Metro buses between Hobart city and MONA. Refer Metro website for up to date information on routes and timings.
Things to see at MONA
MONA is a single building with three storeys (one underground) with spiral staircases and each of the floor has a themed exhibition. It is believed that the museum has more than 1900 artistic works. There are many exhibits that are themed based on sex and death.
It does look disgusting but it is surely a very unique art exhibit. MONA has a poop machine that shows how the digestion happens and poop is created. It is created by a Belgian artist Wim Delvoye.
Wall of vagina
There is a wall dedicated to vagina in MONA. The wall showcases sculptures of different shapes and sizes of vagina. The artwork is by the artist Greg Taylor. This is surely my most favourite exhibit in MONA as it brings out the intimacy and showcases the strength of women.
The Holy Virgin Mary
The Holy Virgin Mary is a painting that is partially been created by elephant dung. It was created in 1996 by Chris Ofili. The painting was bought by David Walsh in 2007.
In 2015, the painting was sold at an auction for $4.6 million. This is an auction record for an artist.
MONA hosts many art and music festivals.
- The annual outdoor festival is Mona Foma that is celebrated in summer. The musical festival is held in January and has live music, food and drink and entertainment.
- There is also another festival in winter called Dark Mofo. It celebrated the darkness of the southern winter solstice. The festival displays the expensive art exhibits and has live music too.
- Both these festivals have registration and entry tickets.
- The museum is open from Thursday to Monday between 10 AM and 6 PM.
- One needs at least two to three hours to see all the artefacts in MONA.
- There is an entry fee for the museum. It is different for Tasmanians and non-Tasmanians. For Tasmanians, the entry is FREE. The entry fee for non-Tasmanians is AUD 30 for an adult and it can be purchased on their official website. You can also purchase the ticket at the entrance.
- For up to date prices and availability, check the respective websites.
- The best time to visit the museum is in the morning so one can see all the exhibits and have a nice lunch at the restaurant.
- There are many cafes and restaurants that serve very good food and wines. It is advisable to pre-book, especially over the weekends as it is very crowded.
- You can take photographs in MONA museum. Ensure not to turn on the flash or use tripods.
- There are lockers at the museum where one can keep heavy or large bags and things as they are not permitted inside the museum.
- Kids are allowed in the museum but there are certain sections where they are not permitted. So check with the security staff before entering certain parts of the museum.
- There is a self guided audio tour (iPod’s O) for the exhibits that describes the artwork. It has a GPS that can locate the artwork. The audio device can be taken at the counter near the entrance.
Safety for solo female travelers
Tasmania is a very safe state for solo female travelers. I have traveled to this amazingly beautiful part of Australia many times, and most times it has been a solo travel. I have never had any issues whatsoever. However, like any other place in the world, be cautious, especially at night.
MONA is surely one of its kind and is worth visiting it while you are in Hobart. The exhibits are very unique and bring out a different perspective. I highly recommend a visit this spectacular museum.
Have you been to MONA? Which one was your favourite exhibit? Let me know in the comments below.
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