The ultimate guide to MONA in Hobart

MONA in Hobart

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted November 09, 2023

The Museum of Old + New Art (MONA) has quickly become one of the most famous attractions in Tasmania’s capital. Here’s everything to know for the ultimate day out at MONA in Hobart.

Few Australian galleries are on as many traveller’s bucket lists as MONA. Conceptual, controversial, captivating, and sometimes cheeky, this arts complex in Hobart features works and experiences that are truly memorable.

Ellen Wignell, Curator of Visual Arts at RACV, says that rather than just a gallery, “going to MONA is a journey. You enter a cavernous space that is a whole other world, where art, food, and architecture collide.”

RACV Members save on tickets to the Hobart City Tour with MONA Ferry & Entry, with the ferry's departure point just a short walk from RACV Hobart Hotel.

Everything you need to know about MONA

What is MONA?

The Museum of Old + New Art is an art, hospitality, and entertainment complex located in Hobart, Tasmania, within the Moorilla winery region.

The gallery is home to both historical, (or ‘old’), art such as Egyptian works and Australian paintings, as well as contemporary or ‘new’ works such as neon electronics, modern sculpture, and interactive experiences.

As the biggest privately funded museum in the Southern Hemisphere, MONA hosts nearly 2,000 works over three levels, and is famed for its somewhat mischievous and liberal themes across all facets of the complex.

Architecturally, MONA was designed to make visitors feel like that are entering a different world. There's no set path or order for exploring the museum's rooms and displays.

“The way MONA was designed is really different from other museums, and really marked a change worldwide in how artwork and museum pieces can be presented,” says Wignell. 

On site, MONA also hosts a range of eateries, bars, live music and entertainment, accommodation, a recording studio, library, tennis court, and outdoor lounge area.

The venue is also home to a range of events and festivals, including Dark MOFO, MONA FOMA, Music at MONA, and rotating music, comedy and public art performances.

Museum internal staircase. Image: Mona/Rémi Chauvin courtesy of Mona, Hobart, Tasmania

Museum internal staircase (detail). Image: Mona/Rémi Chauvin courtesy of Mona, Hobart, Tasmania

Where is MONA and when does it open?

Located 11km north of Hobart’s CBD, MONA can be accessed by ferry, car, bus or bike.

Just 10 minutes’ walk from the RACV Hobart Hotel, the unmissable MONA ferry is an experience in itself, leaving from Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier and taking around 25 minutes one way. Bookings are advised.

On road, visitors can look to hire a car (with RACV Members saving on car hire with SIXT), or bring their own vehicle if travelling from Victoria on the Spirit of Tasmania.

MONA is open from Friday to Monday, 10:00am to 5:00pm. Over certain periods in the summer and autumn months, MONA is also open on Thursdays.

How do I get tickets to MONA?

Tickets to MONA are required, and can be purchased online or onsite, although please note that MONA is a cashless venue. 

It is free to visit the outdoor grounds at MONA.

Alternatively, visitors can head on an in-depth tour around Hobart, which includes MONA entry.

MONA ferry

The MONA ferry is almost as much fun as the museum itself. Image: MONA & Jesse Hunniford

What attractions are there at MONA?

Like many museums and galleries, MONA has both its mainstay exhibits and rotating displays.

Permanent attractions include the Siloam, an underground tunnel network that leads to the Pharos wing and takes visitors past installations including Oliver Beer’s giant ear, Mona Confessional and White House by Ai Weiwei.

The museum is also home to the famed Snake by Sidney Nolan, comprised of 1,620 rainbow panels arranged to form the image of the reptile; Marina Abramović’s rice counting room; infamous installations based on the human body; and a range of constantly evolving art works that mean MONA can be enjoyed many times over.

Can I book in any experiences at MONA?

Billed as ‘Really fancy stuff to do at MONA,’ those looking for an in-house experience can book into curated activities like a High Tea for Two in the Ladies Lounge; a dedicated wine and art pairing with lunch; private winery tours; or even a MONA sleepover.

Will I enjoy MONA if I’m not into art?

There’s something for both art lovers and those indifferent to galleries and museums at MONA.

While aesthetes will adore the dedication to the creative arts in all its forms, others can enjoy experiences like Russian Moo-lette, an interactive beer vending machine; Bit.fall, a waterfall that ‘writes' the day's top word searches from Google as it falls; live music and lunch in the outdoor pavilion, and even reading the somewhat sassy descriptions of artworks that appear on The O app as visitors make their journey around the complex.  

How do I find my way around at MONA?

Rather than handing out flyers, maps, or providing physical descriptions of the work, MONA leans towards the ‘M’ in its name for its guides, with the museum’s map, artwork list, descriptions and exhibit bookings all curated within their modern and cheeky app, The O.

Visitors can simply download The O to their smartphone. It can be used to find their way to works they want to see; rate artworks they’ve seen; listen to artist interviews (bringing headphones is recommended), read further reviews and anecdotes; and look at nearby works. The O features a built in GPS, so can refer to the artwork you are looking at intuitively.

Siloam MONA

The Siloam tunnel takes you from the museum's underground galleries to the airy Pharos wing. Image: MONA & Jesse Hunniford

How long do I need to spend at MONA?

It is suggested that visitors leave at least three to four hours to explore the entire museum, although the best bet is to make a day of it.

“MONA is a place you can spend the whole day,” says Wignell.  

“Experience the many different galleries, have a long lunch, and enjoy a drink and even spend time on the lawns enjoying the view.” 

What ages are suitable for MONA?

MONA is open to all ages, although some exhibits may require parental discretion.

James Turrell’s works are in an 18+ restricted section.

Is MONA accessibility-friendly?

MONA has mostly accessible admission including lifts, accessible toilets, and parent rooms, with some limitations. For specific enquiries, visitors can contact MONA directly.

Can I take photos and video inside MONA?

It is fine to take private photos and videos inside MONA, if no flash photography or tripods are used.


MONA exterior

MONA is beautiful inside and out. Image: MONA & Jesse Hunniford

Can I buy food and drink at MONA?

There are a range of food and drink options both in and outside the gallery space.

Inside the museum, visitors can feast over baked goods, woodfire pizzas and a range of bar options at VOID, a bar and eatery located 17 metres underground, or indulge in a wine tasting at Cellar Door.

Dubsy’s provides a range of flame grilled goods like burgers and tostadas, while Manky Sally’s provides Asian-inspired pub fare.

Two restaurants are also on site, with bookings required. No outside foot or drink is permissible on site.

RACV Hobart

The RACV Hobart Hotel is a short walk from where the MONA ferry departs. Image: Supplied

What accommodation is available near MONA?

Located right in the heart of the city, the RACV Hobart Hotel is within walking distance of the MONA ferry's departure point, the famous Salamanca Market, and famed local pubs and restaurants.

The contemporary hotel features deluxe apartments with views of the Derwent river, as well as onsite dining options, from buffet breakfast to drinks in the historical onsite Cascade on Collins bar.

What else is there to do around Hobart and Tasmania?

While MONA is certainly a must-do activity, there is so much to do around Hobart and Tasmania.

From food and wine experiences to a West Coast road trip or a visit to one of Australia’s oldest cities, Tasmania provide a wealth of experiences for visitors to discover and enjoy time and time again.


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