Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Hobart and MONA

Cascade Brewery, Hobart, Tasmania
Our other stop in Tasmania was the capital, Hobart. Hobart is a jumping off point for Antarctica, both for Australian and French scientific purposes and for tourism. As you know, we rather like Antarctica, so we had to actively resist trying to hop aboard a ship!

Hobart is an interesting mix of commerce. Aside from the Antarctica business, the port is very important for shipping, and the city has, amongst other things the Cascade Brewery and a Cadbury's Chocolate factory.

Narryna Heritage House, Hobart, Tasmania

The city feels a bit of a hybrid too. Some parts of it seem a little bit tired and generic, and have that 'declining high street' feel about them, whereas just around the corner there are some more vibrant areas, with independent shops, cafes and restaurants.

The good news is that it feels like the latter part is winning, and the city is on the way up, not down.

Battery Point, Hobart, Tasmania

We took a walk around Battery Point, which is a quiet but attractive area, with some pretty old buildings, and one of a few branches of an wonderful café called Jackson & McRoss.

After succumbing to one of their delicious cakes, we finished up in Prince's Wharf, which is one area that has certainly been smartened up.

There are plenty of places to eat, drink and shop here. Every Saturday morning, they have the excellent Salamanca market, and we had a great meal at Rockwall one evening.

Hobart, Tasmania

Hobart, Tasmania

MONA, Hobart, Tasmania
There are various museums and galleries in town where you can investigate the past, but we decided that in Hobart, our cultural experience had to be a bit more modern - with a visit to the much celebrated MONA.

MONA - the Museum of Old and New Art - is described by its imaginative owner and creator, David Walsh, as a 'subversive adult Disneyland'. It is certainly an intriguing place, not least because of the way that even getting there is part of the experience. Walsh made his money as a professional gambler, having invented a system to beat the system. While tourists have to pay to get in, locals can go for free.

MONA, Hobart, Tasmania
You can get there by road, but we took the MONA ferry, which goes from the harbour to their own jetty.

A word of warning, there are a lot of steps from the jetty to the entrance, so let them know when you book the ferry if mobility is a problem, and they will take you to an alternative jetty and shuttle you up to the entrance in a little golf buggy.

We opted to spend a bit more and go in the posh pit, where you get a little plate of nibbles and free drinks. It is more expensive, but if like us, you fit in a couple of drinks both ways, it actually is quite good value.

Bit.fall, MONA, Hobart, Tasmania

From the outside MONA looks like a single storey building, but there are actually three storeys underground, cut out of the rock. The sandstone has been left bare in parts, apparently because atheist Walsh wanted the 250 million year old rock to stand as a challenge to creationists.

You start at the bottom, and gradually work your way back up. It took us a while just to get started, because there is a bar at the start, which did some good cocktails. When you are ready to get going, there is information available on the exhibits through the I-pod you are given. It records what you look at, at you can have the record of it sent to you to look back on later.

MONA, Hobart, Tasmania

There was quite a large Gilbert and George exhibition, which was interesting, and there various other antiquities and bits of modern art.

One of our favourite things was an exhibit called 'Bit.fall', by Julius Popp. This was a huge computer controlled waterfall of sorts. It used 128 spouts to drip water in a way that forms words or phrases, which are taken from that day's news.

MONA, Hobart, Tasmania

We were less keen on the huge machine that replicates the human digestive system, literally taking in food and creating and disgorging 'poo', complete with bad smells.

The museum is sited on the Moorilla Estate winery, where you can do tours and tastings. There is also Moo's Brewery, which has some food, and the more upmarket The Source restaurant, so your eating and drinking needs are well catered for.

It is certainly an interesting place, and though modern art isn't generally our thing, we thought it was worth a visit.
Bit.fall, MONA, Hobart, Tasmania

Bit.fall, MONA, Hobart, Tasmania

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