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Text and photos by Julie Moir Messervy.

A year ago, my family and I traveled to Tasmania to visit the wonderful Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Here’s an example of an innovator’s museum—where a wild and crazy collector, David Walsh, created a completely new version of what a museum can be. Opened in 2011 and built around collections based on sex and death, MONA is built as a place of pleasure—aesthetic for sure, but also culinary, physical, and sensory pleasures. Enjoy!


camouflage-painted ferryboat to MONA

When visiting MONA, you can choose to be ferried on a camouflaged catamaran in Hobart or drive out to northern suburbs. Great food and drink on the ferry make it a fun way to start your MONA journey.


people sitting on sheep-shaped seats on ferry deck

Once on the ferry, you can choose to perch at one of three bars or look out onto the Derwent River from sheep benches located on the back deck.


people descending high stone staircase

After a half-hour ferry ride, you alight at a grand staircase cut into a huge hunk of sandstone. Fun awaits.


person jumping on trampoline

At the top of the stairs, you may want to jump on a huge trampoline that overlooks (overjumps?) the Derwent River on which you just traveled.


people enjoying MONA museum grounds

A world-famous winery, a brewery, and an outdoor pizzeria provide all the food and drink you could ever want. You can even stay overnight on the grounds.


indoor stone stairs with art installation

The museum is cut five stories down into the earth, immersing the visitor in the artwork. Words drip in cascades of falling water (this one says “Brands”), creating a dynamic focal point as you enter. Leipzig artist Julius Popp’s BIT.FALL features terms from the current “stream of news”on the internet. Each drop represents a pixel or bit.


Carpet appears to melt in streams of color.

Artist Faig Ahmed creates traditional Azerbaijani rugs that appear to melt right down the wall.


Glossy red, strangely bulbous sportscar

There are so many fascinating and fresh works of art to consider here. “Fat Car,” this soft, fat Porsche Carrera by Austrian sculptor Irwin Wurm, gleams in the dark shadows underground.

Take the time to visit Tasmania and MONA—it is completely worth the trip!