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Published: April 20th 2018
I sit here in the complete warmth in our tiny cabin, locked away in the complete wilderness of Tasmania. It’s wet, cold and dark outside, but for a couple that don’t really like being away from civilisation, we find the Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat to be very nice.
Waking up this morning to a bright and sunny Hobart was a bit disappointing. Our only full day yesterday had been wet and miserable, so of course the day we were due to leave there was hardly a cloud in the sky.
It was a slow start, as we weren’t entirely sure what we were going to do today. We knew the drive to Cradle Mountain was the longest of the trip, yet at the same time, there was still some more of Hobart to see.
Debating over breakfast and then back in our hotel room, we eventually settled on taking a trip to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). We’d never heard of this museum until yesterday when our tour guide mentioned it to us. It is the biggest attraction in Tasmania (even ahead of Port Arthur) and the reason a lot of people come to the island state.
A taxi driver from last night also recommended it, so after two locals telling us it was a must see, we checked out and made the 20 minute drive to the museum.
I admit, neither of us knew what we were expecting from this museum, but we could both safely say, it wasn’t what we saw. When I picture museum, I generally think of artwork on walls, maybe some sculptures, and depending on the type of museum, some interactive things as well.
Well, MONA had all that plus a whole lot more. Upon arriving, it was almost a maze to find the entrance. Out the front is a tennis caught, a trampoline looking over the Derwent River for the kids and some very intriguing sculptures to investigate.
It’s $28 to enter the museum, but it’s money well spent based on what is inside.
When you enter, you are already on the top floor. There is a spiral staircase leading down to the museum (as well as an elevator for those unable) and it goes on for quite some time. The majority of the museum is situated underground, where the walls are stone, making
for an interesting first impression.
One thing that makes this museum stand out from the rest is that there are no writings by the art to explain it to you, or tell you what the art is about. Upon reaching the ground floor, you’re given an iPhone like device and some headphones. Alternatively, you can download the app onto your phone. Each room you walk into, you can update the app and it will tell you what artwork is in that room, along with information and audio on some.
Our first room was one full of short films made by the same artist. Although these looked interesting, it was unfortunately difficult to follow due to coming in before it started. Most seemed to deal with darker themes, however.
The level above was possibly the most interesting and bizarre level of the whole museum. It’s difficult to explain in detail exactly what we saw, but in summary, some of the art on display included a collection of 77 sculptures of female genitlia, paintings and robotics involving sex acts, a red bubble car, devices that tracked your heartbeat through a lightbulb, a machine that was designed to work like
the digestive system called the ‘defacting machine’ or something similar and a living, breathing man called Tim who was covered in tattoos. He apparently sits there daily between 10 and 4:30 in the same position. The only reason we realised he was alive was because we could see him breathing! He will only be there until the end of the month, though.
And, if you’re still wondering, the poop machine is quite legitimate based on the smell upon entering the room.
Next, we had to leave the museum and enter the following exhibition from outside. In the future, there’ll be an interior entry, but they are currently in the process of adding to the room, so we are required to enter via the exterior, which is a short walk away.
This exhibition is called the ‘Pharos’ and it’s theme is light. There are some things in there that require separate booking prior to visiting the museum, though we were unaware of that. Instead, we were able to go into a complete white space that changed colour. It was very interesting, as the whole room turned the one colour, meaning knowing where the walls were, was
Confused, but satisfied with such an odd museum, by midday, we were finally on our way to Cradle Mountain for two nights. The drive to our destination was about 4 hours, but after a few stops, it took us near five.
We weren’t entirely sure what to expect of a wilderness lodge, though we did have Freycinet Lodge to go off. However, after it took us 20 minutes to drive 5kms, winding through mountains on a gravel road just to reach the lodge, we knew it wasn’t going to be the same.
Lemonthyme is definitely more remote and more out of the way. It is far away from most things, though is incredibly beautiful and peaceful up here. Upon checking in, we made a dinner reservation in the dining room and then rested up until dinner.
We were greeted by immediate warmth upon entering our cabin, as they already had the heater (a fake log fire) going which was a nice change from the bitter cold outside.
Dinner was a quiet affair, with couples, families and larger groups enjoying their meals in relative silence. The main lodge is warmed with real fires and
had a real woodland feel to it.
Wifi and general reception is limited here, the wifi technically only being reachable from the main lodge. However, if I sit in the right spot at the right angle, we are able to reach it from our cabin.
Tomorrow, we wanted to go horse riding, but unfortunately it was booked out, so we have a few plans for tomorrow, which we are excited for.
I’m hoping I’ll be able to get this blog up on time, but if it’s a few days late, it’s because of bad connectivity.
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