An island off an island, a land of wilderness, a place at the edge of the world. Tasmania is all these things. But since unorthodox gallerist David Walsh opened his irreverent Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Hobart in 2011, the island-state has been placed firmly back on the tourist map.
In 2013 capital city Hobart was named one of the top 10 cities to visit in the world by Lonely Planet. Tasmania’s fertile soil, pure air and clean water guarantee top-class food and wine, from freshly shucked oysters to rich cheeses, Pinot Noir to sparkling wines. Almost a fifth of the island is a designated World Heritage site. And every season, exciting cultural events fill the calendar, ensuring that you will be well entertained, no matter what time of year you visit.
Enter the wonderful world of Mona…
Just over seven miles north of Hobart, and chiselled into an escarpment on the banks of the Derwent River, is Mona, a masterpiece of modern architecture. Described by Walsh as “a subversive adult Disneyland”, it is a must on anyone’s itinerary. Showcasing a mix of treasured antiquities and controversial contemporary pieces on three underground levels, its exhibitions are always thought-provoking.
Come for the art and stay for a Moorilla wine and Moo Brew tasting, or a delicious meal made from local ingredients at The Source Restaurant, with a side serving of beautiful views over the museum grounds.
In summer months, concerts on the lawn, the vibrant, artsy Mona Market and the Mona Foma music and arts festival in and around Hobart complement the groundbreaking museum’s year-round offerings. Want to savour the Mona experience for even longer? You can book an uber-sophisticated den for the night at the Mona Pavilions.
Then head to Hobart and the wilds beyond
The quirky city of Hobart offers much to explore, including a pretty harbour and a good selection of museums and galleries. Battery Point, one of the capital’s oldest and most historic areas, is an architectural gem – wander around on foot so that you can enjoy the splendour of its colonial buildings close up.
Hobart is a captivating city that’s hard to leave, but beyond it lies a magnificent wild world that’s waiting for you, and no visit to Tasmania is complete without venturing to those untouched, mysterious landscapes.
Head inland to the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, which is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area and an ancient wonderland of icy peaks, glacier-sculpted river gorges and moorland. The lake itself, carved out by ice during several glaciations over the past two millennia, is Australia’s deepest. Or follow the coastline towards the pristine sands and turquoise waters of Wineglass Bay, where you’ll find views to lose yourself in.