Our final day in Mr Van Diemen’s land was spent driving back to Hobart. Yes, we booked a return flight to Hobart but it would have been much more convenient to fly into Hobart and depart from Launceston. Nonetheless, Cradle Mountain was not originally in our itinerary when we booked the flight so instead we endured more exciting driving.
Back through Sheffield, then Railton. No new topiaries to report. We skipped the coastal route by driving inland and made it back to Hobart after four hours of lonely road tripping. Our first stop was at the ever-so-famous Museum of New and Old Art (MONA). Well, our first stop was actually the pub across the road from the MONA because we hadn’t eaten since breakfast. Pub meals are always meaty so I bought a cheap chicken parma and poor Alex had my hot chips for lunch. We watched horse racing while we ate. Good times.
We drove across to the MONA and found the last car space. Actually, I think it was more of a throughway but we made it a space. It was a Sunday so it was very busy indeed. We wandered around the large estate the museum sits on, which is home to vineyards, picnic areas, sculpture gardens, a magnificent view of Hobart city, cafes and lots of other elaborate goodies. The museum itself seemed a tiny room. Confused, we entered and then realised the whole museum had been built underground. We noticed there was an entry fee for “foreigners” (i.e. non-Tasmanians) and Alex was reluctant to pay as we’d already spent so much money on entering national parks. I guess Tasmania relies heavily on tourism for national income. I told Alex that we came all the way from Cradle Mountain for this museum and we were paying the entry fee. Plus, there was nothing else open in Hobart on a Sunday, and we’d heard so much about the greatness of the museum. After parting with our money, we were each handed pre-programmed iPhones which served as a personal tour guide. The artworks didn’t have information plaques as all the information was on the iPhone. This was actually really infuriating, as to see the name of an artwork you had to scroll through the iPhone for a while to find it rather than it just being there right in front of you. I felt like I was phubbing the museum.
So the museum was indeed a museum of old and new art. Some pieces were interesting, many, not-so-much. The juxtaposition of Egyptian sarchophagi with pretentious experimental art didn’t really work for me. My favourite piece was a video of Sohn Kee-Chung winning the marathon at the 1956 Berlin Olympics. It was incredible to see this race against the backdrop of Europe just before the war, as well as to further understand the conflict between Korea and Japan at the time. I was also very intrigued by a piece regarding albinism in Tanzania, where albinos are often sought to be killed, as their body parts are used by witch doctors. This particular artwork (or, news article) mentioned that there were extreme security measures in place in order to protect these people.
My not-so-favourite piece was obviously the “poop-machine”, which is, exactly what you think. It’s a machine that makes poop very similar in appearance and smell to real human poop. I’m not a fan of this type of experimental art.
We were done. We relaxed our tired tootsies with a coffee. We then left the museum and spent time exploring the impressive museum grounds. The biting wind encouraged us to hasten with our photo taking and head back towards the car, but not before rolling our eyes at the car spaces of the museum’s humble owner and his gal… sigh.
We had many hours to spare until our flight later that night, so we headed to Hobart city for a look. Being a Sunday night, everything was closed. We wandered around for a bit, looking at tourist attractions that we would have liked to have gone to. The city is small so after an hour we were done, and we thought we would head back to the airport two hours early. Then our plane was delayed one hour. Two hours. We returned to Melbourne at 1am and proceeded to collapse, but not before setting our alarms for work the next morning.