No Trip to Hobart, Tasmania Would Be the Same Without A Visit to Its Most Iconic and Controversial Establishment, Mona. Before Visiting the Museum of Old and New Art, Here Are Some Things to Know Before Visiting to Make the Experience Even Better.
I am not a big fan of new art. I’m one of those old fuddy duddy Renaissance, Impressionist and Surrealist art lovers. I’m one of those people that could spend days inside the Louvre or Vatican Museum. New art is lost upon me. I struggle to find the artistic part of it all when it doesn’t involve paint and a brush.
My first experience of Mona left be disappointed and irritated. I didn’t think a whole wall of vaginas was particularly poignant… I mean, I have one! I decided to be more open minded on the second visit and I have to say I enjoyed it much more, albeit still somewhat confounded by why its necessary to spend so much time shocking people all of the time. Even Hannah found it more interesting as a 10-year-old as opposed to when she was 7. The second visit saw some learnings and here are some things you need to know before visiting Mona.
TRAVEL TIPS YOU WILL FIND:
- #01 – MONA OPENING HOURS
- #02 – HOW MUCH IS ADMISSION TO MONA?
- #03 – HOW DO I BUY TICKETS TO MONA?
- #04 – HOW TO GET TO MONA
- #05 – IS THERE PARKING AT MONA?
- #06 – EATING AND DRINKING AT MONA
- #07 – ARE LOCKERS AVAILABLE AT MONA?
- #08 – CAN I TAKE PHOTOS INSIDE MONA?
- #09 – IS MONA SUITABLE FOR KIDS?
- #10 – GET THE “O”
- #11 – OUTDOOR ART
- #12 – IS MONA ACCESSIBLE BY WHEELCHAIR?
- #13 – IS MONA EASY TO NAVIGATE?
- #14 – SHOULD YOU STILL GO IF YOU’RE NOT A MODERN ART LOVER?
- BONUS TIP #01 – RELATED ARTICLES
- BONUS TIP #2 – WHERE TO STAY IN HOBART
#01 – MONA OPENING HOURS
Let’s make this complicated.
They are closed most Tuesdays and Christmas Day.
The museum is open Wednesday–Monday from 10.00am–06.00pm in the summer months usually from the start of December until the end of April.
They are open everyday in January. Hence, “most” Tuesdays they are closed.
For opening hours in the winter months, you’ll have to check their website. When I looked in January, they had yet to announce their opening hours for the coming winter. Makes it hard to plan as its only 6 months out and you would have no idea when they are open.
#02 – HOW MUCH IS ADMISSION TO MONA?
If you’re Tasmanian, entry is free. Lucky you!
If you’re under 18, admission is also free. Yippee!
Otherwise, it’s $28.00 for adults and $25.00 concession.
#03 – HOW DO I BUY TICKETS TO MONA?
You can buy tickets at Mona itself, which is what I have done twice now. No issues and very quick process.
You can also purchase tickets online. ID will be requested upon entry.
At the time of writing, the only additional tickets you will need to purchase is if you wish to see James Turrell’s artwork at Unseen Seen and Weight of Darkness. There is limited capacity and you need to buy a ticket for timed entry at the cost of $25.00. This section of Mona is highly sought after and I suggest you purchase the tickets online to secure a spot. You have to arrive 30 minutes prior to your session and it lasts for 40 minutes.
As the artworks are highly confrontational you are required to sign a waiver before entry, art goers cannot have consumed any alcohol prior to visiting nor can you have taken any drugs of any kinds. And if you have a pacemaker, you are advice against entering. Why? Because the artwork can cause severe headaches, make you feel claustrophobic, cause hallucinations and maybe even seizures. Love that we would willingly put ourselves through this.
We did not view this section as the kids were with us and they are not permitted but I have heard some fantastic reviews!The Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart Tasmania is one of a kind! A subterranean museum built on a winery, it is contemporary, shocking, uplifting, humorous and some, just plain ridiculous. Check out everything you need to know about Mona!… Click To Tweet
#04 – HOW TO GET TO MONA
Driving to Mona
Mona is about 11kms north of Hobart and takes 20 minutes to get to. Parking is free.
Taking the Ferry to Mona
The most popular way to get to Mona is on their MR-I and MR-II ferries of which you can either book online or contact their Ticket Support directly on +61 (3) 6277 9978.
The Posh Pit costs $55.00 one way for everyone over 4 years of age. The Post Pit gives you complimentary drinks and canapés in their exclusive lounge, bar, and private deck.
The Standard tickets where you can sit on sheep and tigers, costs $22.00 one way for everyone over 4 years of age.
Children under 4 are free, but you will need to phone Ticket Support to make a booking.
Should you wish to change the return time on the ferry, you can do so up to 15 minutes prior to departure via email, phone or simply speak with the employees at the ferry terminal or information desk at the museum.
Weather does not affect whether the ferry operates or not. It is undercover so you’ll be fine.
The ferry leaves from Brooke Street Pier. If you’re travelling and have luggage with you, there are lockers at Brooke Street Pier where you can store them.
Taking the Bus to Mona
If you’re not up for taking the ferry, there is a dedicated Mona Roma bus option that also leaves from the Brooke Street pier.
There is also an airport express option that takes you from the airport to Mona.
The cost for both options is also $22.00 for everyone over 4 years of age.
Best to book online so you can pick the best times to suit your itinerary.
Cycling to Mona
If you’re up for a bike ride, you can hire bicycles at the Brooke Street Pier for $25.00
Taking Public Transport to Mona
Metro bus numbers 510, 520, 521, 522 and X20 pass Mona. Check their website for the timetable.
#05 – IS THERE PARKING AT MONA?
Parking at MONA is dismal, albeit free. We arrived at 10am on a Thursday and we struggled to find a car park. The original car park is by no means sufficient of which there is one section dedicated for guests at their onsite accommodation. Drive further down and you’ll come to an open space for parking, unbefitting in my opinion for a museum of this calibre.
There is an overflow car park near the entry to the estate. Again, its just an open space with dirt roads. We were extremely lucky to have found a space after circling for a good 15 minutes. Not sure what we would have done if we couldn’t find a park as here are no other alternatives.
If you’re driving, I recommend that you arrive well before they are open or perhaps come after lunch when hopefully people have finished and are on their way out.
#06 – EATING AND DRINKING AT MONA
There are plenty of dining options at Mona.
- Museum Café – Family friendly café just after the entrance. Perfect if you’re just looking for a quick bite.
- Wine Bar – Good grazing option of cheese and charcuterie accompanied with a good drop of wine or a refreshing craft beer.
- Faro – Only open for dinner and is located inside Pharos. Unfortunately, kids are not permitted. Date night perhaps?
- Source – If you’re up for a nice sit-down option, head here for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- Cellar Door – Good to drop in if you’re looking to taste their Moorilla wine and Moo Brew beer.
Food and drinks are not permitted inside the museum.
#07 – ARE LOCKERS AVAILABLE AT MONA?
There is a limit to the size of things that can be brought into the museum. If anything is larger than 30cm x 40cm, it must be placed in the free lockers provided located next to the ticket counter.
Whilst you’re there, put your jackets and cardigans in the lockers. It is warm inside the museum and you won’t need it.
#08 – CAN I TAKE PHOTOS INSIDE MONA?
Yes, you are. Just no flash photography or tripods.
Most parts of the museum however are quite dark so its hard to take a good shot on the phone or even a camera unless you have a high aperture lens.
#09 – IS MONA SUITABLE FOR KIDS?
The only section children are not permitted in is James Turrell’s artwork at Unseen Seen and Weight of Darkness of the museum. That’s 18+ only.
The rest of the museum is free for children to roam around although I would have to say some exhibits and artwork are definitely R-rated. The museum staff can show you which section to avoid.
Artwork or installations such as a wall of vaginas entitled “c&%… and other conversations”, Cloaca Professional, a machine that transforms food into faeces or the hanging carcass of a horse might cause some nightmares! When I took Hannah when she was 7, some parts of the museum freaked her out. Second time round at 10 years of age, it was less confronting albeit still disturbing, which is the whole purpose of most of these exhibits.
#10 – GET THE “O”
The “O” is your audio guide for the museum and you need this because Mona does not provide text on the wall. So, without the “O”, you wouldn’t have a clue about any of the artwork.
It is free to use and easy to navigate.
It picks up the artwork you are closest to automatically upon refreshing, so you don’t have to search for it. Just press the refresh button.
Some of the art also has a kid’s version on the “O”.
If you wish to retrieve the information after you visit, you can do so by hitting “Save your visit”.
You can also download the app on your iPhone. Just remember to bring your headphones.
You will also need the “O” if you wish to join a queue for a specific exhibit or installation. It gives you the amount of time left on the device for your turn, so you can wander the museum and come back at your appointed time slot instead of wasting your time queuing.
#11 – OUTDOOR ART
Mona is filled with outdoor art and that part took up a substantial amount of our time so make sure you allocate a good 30 minutes to an hour.
It is however always so windy out there and can get cold so make sure you bring a little jacket or cardigan, even in summer.
Danser La Musique, the outdoor trampoline can get very busy and you have to queue to have a go on it. Listen to the bells chime as you bounce away. The backdrop is stunning and makes for a great photo opportunity. All other art pieces do not require queueing.
#12 – IS MONA ACCESSIBLE BY WHEELCHAIR?
The only areas not accessible by wheelchair in Mona are Unseen Seen, Weight of Darkness, the Pausiris gallery, and the Round House. All other areas are ok.
Motorised wheelchairs are permitted.
You can also borrow a wheelchair at Mona should you need one and its available at the visitor information desk. They are however a first in best dressed scenario and unfortunately you are unable to reserve them.
Accessible parking is also readily available.
#13 – IS MONA EASY TO NAVIGATE?
Mona is somewhat of a labyrinth and you’ll find yourself just wandering around with no real sense of direction. After awhile I got confused exactly where I was and what area I had or had not seen. At one point the teens in our group wandered off and when they told us where to meet them we had a hard time finding their exact location!
So, if you are one of those people who would like to see everything and scour every inch, get the map to help you with your bearings. For us, we will go back to Hobart time and time again, so we were happy to just meander through the museum and enjoy whatever we came across.
#14 – SHOULD YOU STILL GO IF YOU’RE NOT A MODERN ART LOVER?
Contrary to popular belief, modern art has been around for more than a century. It essentially is a contemporary way of interpreting the modern world in various art forms such as media, architecture, installations etc….
I find modern art somewhat aloof and even irritating. It annoys me when artists think by creating shocking and confronting pieces of art that it is deemed to be ingenious or a cultural masterpiece.
However, despite my dislike for modern art, I didn’t hate everything. And more importantly, I still enjoyed Mona. I just had to ignore the pieces I knew would annoy me and focus on the things I felt were poignant or just plain cool. It is also an architecturally stunning building and should be visited at least once.
Moral of the story, just get over it and enjoy it for what it simply is.
David Walsh, creator of Mona is either a complete nut case or artistic genius. Whatever it may be, he has contributed greatly in putting Hobart on the map. For those who are travelling from afar and perhaps will only get this one opportunity to visit this museum, we certainly hope we have covered all the things you need to know before visiting Mona.
BONUS TIP #01 – RELATED ARTICLES
BONUS TIP #2 – WHERE TO STAY IN HOBART
4.5 Star Hotel – Hotel Grand Chancellor
This is the most popular hotel in Hobart and is somewhat of an institution. This hotel is located on the pier and has panoramic views of the harbour or Mt Wellington. It is also around the corner from Salamanca markets and surrounding restaurants. The rooms are very spacious, and we were very comfortable as we had a room with 2 queen beds, great for a family of 4. Service was excellent, and we were able lucky enough to have a very early check in. As it is the best hotel to stay in Hobart, make sure you book early so you’re not disappointed.
Book Now Pay Later – Check Prices Here
Apartment Hotel – The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel
If you’d like to stay in a bit of Tasmanian history, look no further than the very affordable Old Woolstore hotel. The old woolstore used to be a wool storage and treatment facility around the turn of the 20th century. Now they have spacious apartments very suitable for families including one, two and studio apartment styles. Location is also fantastic with short walks to major attractions, cafes and restaurants.
Book Now Pay Later – Check Prices Here
2 Star Budget – Brunswick Hotel
Brunswick Hotel is a fantastic option for families on a budget. The Brunswick Hotel is housed in a historic building, built in 1827 by the convicts of Hobart so you can be part of Tasmanian history. You can get a private room with facilities or get bunk beds. Location is fantastic with very short walks to major attractions. Facilities are good and a great communal area if your teen needs a break from you!
Book Now Pay Later – Check Prices Here
4 Star Property – Ibis Styles Hobart
Located in the heart of vibrant Hobart CBD, it is only a 10-minute walk to the famous Salamanca markets. The hotel has an indoor pool, friendly staff and very comfortable beds. They also have an inhouse Asian style restaurant if you’re too lazy to head out. Location is convenient, and they also have car parking facilities should you need it whilst n Hobart.
Book Now Pay Later – Check Prices Here
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