Australia Travel/holiday

Hey Mona!

(If the title of this post doesn’t mean anything to you, it’s a lyric from Craig McLachlan’s song Mona).

Hobart loftAnyway, Alex and I went to Tassie! We flew to Hobart mega-cheaply, and even wangled emergency exit seats AGAIN! We stayed in yet another amazing Airbnb place – this time a nice family’s garage converted into a funky loft studio.

The location on Liverpool Street was great – a short walk to the CBD, shops, coffee shops, the ferry to Mona (more on that later), a bus that takes you to Cascade Brewery/Mt Wellington, Battery Point and more.

On our first day we decided to walk up the aforementioned Mount Wellington. We hadn’t gone far when the rocky ground beneath our feet turned to snow, and the air temperature dropped to ‘very chilly’. At one point the map told us we were underneath the magnificent Organ Pipes, but in actual fact all we could see was cloud! After climbing over some boulders and essentially wading through a stream, we reached a picnic spot called the Chalet (at 1000m) and stopped for a much-needed cereal bar. We then decided to head back down along the road, rather than risking a slippery climb up the final 270m to the Pinnacle – mainly because we knew there wouldn’t be a view from the top (and it seemed silly to clamber up there just so we could tell people we’d done it!).

The view from Mount Wellington
The view from Mount Wellington

Even though we didn’t complete the climb, it had still been pretty good exercise, so we rewarded ourselves with dinner at Hobart’s best BBQ joint, Crumb Street Kitchen, that evening. It was mmmmm tasty good.

Cascade Brewery
Cascade Brewery

The next day we walked along the Hobart Rivulet (rivulet: noun. 1. a small stream of water or another liquid) to Cascade Brewery for a tour with tastings! Our tour guide had a big beard and was very funny, and it was cool to see all the current beer making equipment housed in the original brewery building dating back to 1824. After our tastings (4 for Alex; 3 for me) the rest of the day was a write-off! We went home, had a nap, and then ordered takeaway food (Crumb Street Kitchen again) for dinner! In our defence, it was incredibly stormy and rainy outside, so a cheese burger, a glass of wine and a DVD were just what we needed.

The pièce de résistance of our Hobart trip was our day at Mona, the Museum of Old and New Art. It’s the largest privately funded museum in Australia, and all the pieces are from millionaire gambler David Walsh’s collection. But this is no Tate Modern. Walsh has described the museum as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland’ and that sums it up pretty well!

The Mona ferry
The Mona ferry

To get there we hopped on Mona’s very own ferry for the 30 minute journey along the River Derwent. None of the artworks have labels, so all visitors are given iPods which use GPS to figure out where you are – and then you can read all about the painting/sculpture/poo-machine (more on that later) that you’re standing in front of, as well as listening to some commentary. One of the first pieces we saw was bit.fall by Julius Popp, which takes words from information sites on the internet and briefly ‘translates’ them into drops of water as, in the artist’s own words, ‘a metaphor for the incessant flood of information we are exposed to’. It was amazing, and we could easily have stood in front of it all day. One of the words I saw was ‘MH17’ – very topical seeing as a memorial for the victims of Flight MH17 was taking place at the same time back in Melbourne.

bit.fall by Julius Popp

For me, the highlight in terms of interestingness (but lowlight in terms of smell) was definitely the installation Cloaca Professional (2010) by Belgium artist Wim Delvoye – also known as the poo-machine. According to the Mona blurb, the ‘gastro-intestinal’ machine works like this: ‘It is fed and maintained at body temperature while food travels through a kind of mechanical and chemical assembly line involving ‘organs’, enzymes necessary for digestion, farting and a smelly solid end product. Cloaca is a work of art that produces works of art’.

The smell really is horrendous.

Anyway, here are some more photos from Mount Wellington:

Clockwise from top left: A tree in the way!; Snowball fight!; Snowman; Visual representation of being stuck between a rock and a hard place
Clockwise from top left: Oh no, there’s a tree in the way!; Snowball fight!; Visual representation of being stuck between a rock and a hard place; Snowman (‘s head)!