Tasmania: Hobart

As one last gesture and to see us off in good stead, Phillip opted to drive us from Launceston to Hobart.
We left at around 10am and made our way South, stopping at some of the small townships along the way- small used in its tiniest sense.

We made it to the state capital shortly after midday and had a farewell lunch together down by the harbour. Again, we are so grateful for everything both Phillip and Phillipa have done for us and for encouraging us to venture over from the mainland to Tasmania in the first place!

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Hobart

Listed as number 7 in the lonely planet’s top 10 cities we were initially a little underwhelmed by the city. This was primarily due to the fact it took us a good two hours of scurrying around the city to find any sort of accommodation for the following two days. Once we did find a place to stay, we were surprised of the lack of people occupying the city; Despite it being a Saturday, the city centre was almost deserted!
We walked around the extent of the CBD, making our way through some of the parks and down to the harbour- it was a little busier down by the harbour, but still nothing too excessive that warranted all backpackers, hostels and motels to be full to the brim! That said there were a lot of really nice coffee shops and art galleries down by the waterside.

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After our brief tour of the scarce city, we found a pub, the Shamrock, that not only served cheap pints, but also a $10 steak dinner. Furthermore they showed the tennis, which was now at the last 16 stages; we would call this place home for our next few days.
After a few drinks, we were guided back in the direction of the wharf, where we spent the duration of the night- bar-hopping between the trendy and bustling bars. It didn’t matter which bar we went it, but everybody seemed to know everybody- there was a real communal feel about the whole area. It turned out to be a pretty good night and a decent little hang out spot.

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MONA

The following day we decided to head to the much hyped MONA- Museum of Old and New Art. Had it not been talked about so much by everyone we met in Hobart or by everyone we told that we were going to Hobart then we would have totally dismissed it. The museum, only three years old, is formed on a man made dredged island, totally self- funded and requires a 30 minute boat trip to visit. The yacht set the tone for the museum- a stylish, slick, wacky, odd and very out-there concoction, bringing together graffiti laden walls, astro-turf floors, a parrot, plastic sheep that performed the role of chairs and a modern bar complete with large flat-screen televisions. It didn’t really make sense, but added a weird charm to the ride.

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Once we reached the island we were introduced to the museum labyrinth, given our own navigational Ipad, for which we could then rate each display, and then ushered 3 floors down into depths of the building.
Here, we begun our ascent, delving through the various museum rooms and specific areas. We encountered a waterfall that spelt out news headlines, light displays, taxidermic exhibitions, a scientific analysis of the digestive system, ancient Egyptian artwork, several artistic videos and some weird matrix type holograms. It was all a bit weird, but definitely a wacky adventure and worth it.
We made our ascent through the entirety of the structure, finishing outside, allowing us to marvel at the architecture of the building itself and the maze we had just conquered. Satisfied that we had seen it all, we retraced the yacht journey back to the wharf.

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MOFO

We learned that the reason for the scarceness of the city was a large Arts festival called MOFO- linked to MONA- that had encapsulated the city.
Initially, we disregarded the $50 entry fee to the festival, but as we sat at the Pickled Frog Hostel passing time, we were urged by the owner of the Hostel to attend with the promise of a once in a lifetime experience that could not replicated elsewhere in the world.
We were further swayed by groups of people heading down to the final night of the festival and then by a guy who, having been burnt out with the previous 3 days of festivalling, offered up his final night ticket for free.
We headed down with the owner of the Frog, who was not only the happiest guy alive, but a leading candidate to most patriotic Tasmanian- he was also a tad drunk.
With alcohol stocked up, we made our way to the docks and to a series of boat sheds that would form the shelter for the various stages and activities.
True to his word, it was an absolute blast and one hell of an experience.
Firstly we sat on bean bags, watching John Grant perform the final few songs of his set. We then entered a room where a robot performed a light show that reflected the movements and tones of an opera singer. Following this we then watched a trance light show that got everyone on their feet. Up next, a trip back to the 70’s and 80’s, as a couple of weird psychedelic, Pink-Floyd-esq- hippies took stage, sporting large Afros and flares. It was weird but absolutely awesome!

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Further acts followed suit and the partying continued throughout the rest of the night- It was definitely what I perceive the 80’s to be like; people were dressed in whatever was comfortable, they were loving everyone around them and were high on life and anything they could get their hands on- yet there was a real family feel about the event too- it was really bizarre. We became further involved and captivated by the variety of performances of the bands and some of the loopy members of the crowd. No act was similar and none of it made any real sense; But just like MONA there was something strangely and oddly rational about it all, that encouraged everyone just to get involved and enjoy the moment. It was well worth it!

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