Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art is responsible for Hobart ending up on Lonely Planet’s hottest destinations for 2013, and the man behind Australia’s largest museum is David Walsh — a card-counting gambler who decided to show off his private art collection in a big way. On our last day in Tasmania, we decided to have a peek at the wonders of MONA.

MONA vineyard, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
We pass through a vineyard on the approach to the museum. The MONA site grows grapes for its boutique wine label, building on the legacy of the former landowner who planted his vines in 1958.

Parking at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
We park very close to the museum's main entrance. I'm not brave enough to claim either God's or God's Mistress' parking space.

Today we had to re-enter the world of time schedules, so I’m watching the clock from early in the morning. I know what time we need to leave Hobart in order to make our ferry in the north of the island, and early on I decide to just let the girls leisurely explore the grounds without trying to drag them past the inside exhibits in a hurry.

MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
The construction is primarily concrete (with a bit of sandstone) and rusting metal walls. It's raw and startling, especially against the vista of the Derwent river and the huge Tasmanian sky.

Playing at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
The girls are attracted to these hand-stools (as opposed to foot-stools, hmmm?) and use them as for their toys' games.

Rusting filigree cement truck, MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
A rusting filigree cement truck rests permanently on the forecourt.

Rusting filigree cement truck, MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
The details in each part of the truck — like this wheel — are so fine!

Playing at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
I follow the girls as they explore the pathway that leads down to the ferry dock.

Pyramids at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
We discover some more permanent exhibitions on the top lawn. Three elongated pyramids invite us to enter.

Pyramids at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
The first is draped with seaweed (kelp?) that is slowly drying in the sun.

Pyramids at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
Sea urchins ring the base, and these are rotting with the heat.

Pyramids at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
Inside, more sea urchins are suspended from the roof-line.

Sweep by Jenelle Mendham, MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
A woman's figure is also suspended from the top of the tipi. It's a statement about the Greek goddess Hekate who was associated with the death.

Pyramids at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
In stark contrast to the first structure, the second tipi contains a dried flower arrangements that smell comforting and delightful.

Pyramids at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
Tasmanian native flora and fauna are honoured in this exhibit.

Pyramids at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
The third pyramid contains an homage to the animals that are killed for sport and food.

Pyramids at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
Paper knives hang from the walls, flimsy juxtaposes of the hard metal that cuts through flesh.

Playing at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
The girls love to play on the pink beanbags that also decorate the lawn. They use them as stepping stones to cross the green.

Playing at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
A container garden contains herbs which we seek to identify.

Sculptures at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
A collection of recycled garden tools form a small flock of birds in flight.

Playing at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
The girls treat this bottle sculpture as the air-bending training tool from The Last Airbender series.

Playing at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, February 2013
The peacock catches our eye for only a short while until we spot the peahen feeding in the nearby bushes.

And that was our short introduction to MONA! We drove back north, picked up our friend Nirmala and continued onto the ferry. A surprise for us was when our travelling friends the Lethbridges pulled in behind us at the dock. Aisha and Lily enjoyed a terrific time playing together on the boat, and this was the highlight of the day for her!

The Gifted Gypsy driving onto the ferry, February 2013
As we drive away from Tasmania, it's with the sincere desire to return later this year.

Farewell, Tassie. You have been so good to us. We look forward to exploring you again in the future!