A Tasmanian Adventure Part Three – Mona and Salamanca Market

Hey folks! It’s time to give you more details about my time in incredible Tasmania, primarily it’s beautiful capital of Hobart. This is the final instalment in my wrap of my six extremely full days of travel in Australia’s southern most state. There will be reviews and more in depth looks coming up in the future though, naturally, but first let’s sum up how I spent the final two days in Hobart Town, a city I definitely warmed to when I was there. Pretty much immediately.

Have you heard of Mona? Mona is the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, the brain child of a Mr David Walsh, a professional gambler who made millions or possibly more from this ‘trade’. MONA is an art gallery 20 minutes up the Derwent River from downtown Hobart, or probably a little longer if you take the bus. David Walsh clearly has a vibrant outlook on life. And MONA cost $75 million AUD. Despite the odd Egyptian statue the gallery is mostly filled with modern “art” if you will. And it is some next level stuff.

Tasman Bridge from the Mona Ferry

So anyways, I didn’t know that much about it before I went other than what my cousin told me – you either love or hate it and when she was there there was a library painted completed white, the books were all white, cover and pages, even the tables and chairs. And she had sat down at the table and been told off because it was ‘part of the art’. This story will become more relevant as I proceed. Oh, also a friend at work had said that there was a wall of…. Let’s go with ‘lady parts’. So yeah, I wasn’t sure what exactly I would find but I knew it wouldn’t be the stock standard art gallery with landscapes and portraits.

The place is so rich it has a ferry service to it. Did I mention it’s one of the two most visited sites in Tasmania? And even in these Covid times it was actually rather busy. So we took the ferry from the Brooke Pier, which in itself is actually a pretty ride and you go under the impressive Tasman Bridge on the way. The Ferry was nearly full, I imagine they must has some sort of maximum capacity that’s reduced to ensure social distancing, so I can’t imagine that they are allowed many more people in there. They even have a first class section called the ‘Posh Pit’!

The ferry pulls up below MONA and there are 99 steps to negotiate which I was warned about. Personally I didn’t find it hard but a lot of people who visited were elderly so I guess they needed to take it slowly. The outside area is rather well done and the views are great too. And at the gallery entrance there was already a long queue.

The gallery is actually under a hill and it appears carved into rock in some points. There are free lockers which were helpful as I hate walking around a gallery or museum with a bag on my back. The entrance fee is $30AUD for and adult, so it’s not cheap, and the ferry is $23AUD return.

We started by walking down a spiral staircase with a cool lift in the middle to the third level below the ground which is where you are told to start. There’s a bar there and actually it might have been a good idea to have a drink or two before you delve into the depths of the gallery.

Memorable parts included a tank filled with recycled oil, a bunch of glass bottles on shelves connected to a device that was slowly pushing them over the edge (people stood and waited for a bottle to fall but I don’t think one fell the whole time we were there), a giant rock with mirrors inside and this machine which replicated the workings of the bowel – in one end they put food and out the other, supposedly, at a very slow rate, came faeces.

And yes, there was a ‘wall of ‘lady’s parts’ – I think it was called ‘Lady’s Lounge by Men’ or something. A reworking of these plasterized ‘vulvas’ which may have formed a different work of art. And there was the ‘White Library’ and completely forgetting the story told to me by my cousin, I brilliantly sat down and started to flick through a book, when I was asked to stop! Unbelievable perhaps but true.

Outside there were a few bars and places for food, and it was really really nice. Oh and a vineyard! The food was decent. The music played was… barely music. There was kids’ play equipment as well. It’s a lovely spot without a doubt and there are some great views over the water. And I think taking a ferry out there and having a meal would be a great way to spend a day. I actually think giving the gallery a miss is a decent option. Unless you really like modern art.

Inside the Narryn House

Back at Hobart I checked out an old house, the ‘Narryn House’, dating back to days of early settlement in Hobart. It was beautifully preserved and actually really worthwhile visiting.

We ate out a lovely French restaurant that night, and the next morning we headed to Salamanca Market, a famous market that runs on Saturdays. It is down at Salamanca Place naturally enough, and we had to check in in case of a Covid outbreak – which you have to do everywhere in Hobart (well most places in Australia). It’s full of bric-a-brac, some people selling second hand books, records, quite a few food stalls, loads of places selling gin and much more. It was very busy and actually quite big too. I met an author who had hitched from Tasmania to London a few years back and written a book about it. I bought it. I asked him for a quick chat for the ol’ vlog but he wasn’t interested.

And so from there after a bit of lunch up the hill in Battery Point, a beautiful historic part of the city, Hobart was just about done, and before we knew it, we were headed back to the airport. We really paced a fair bit in during our five days there. It’s a city we really loved and who knows, in a few years we might just relocate there. Anything is possible!

Thanks for reading today, take care and May the Journey Never End!

8 thoughts on “A Tasmanian Adventure Part Three – Mona and Salamanca Market

  1. Once again the question of what art is comes up, I still don’t have a complete answer, but the fact that it makes you think and react is already a positive point.

  2. Lovely market! Tasmania looks to be a unique place to explore, especially away from the Australian mainland. I’ll have to stop over should I trek over to Australia someday!

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