Walking Home

reveries of an amateur long-distance hiker

In Tasmania Day 13 Hobart

January 27th, 2020

In Tasmania Day 13 Hobart

A day to organize— booked hostel in Launceston, bus travel there and transport to trail head on the 31st, my Overland Track start date. Then took a boat up the Derwent to the Museum of New Art (MONA), a magical, bizarre and disorienting experience. On the ride up I saw Jo and Pippa, two friends from the South Coast Track. We got separated by a day when I hiked on in bad weather, so I’d despaired I wouldn’t see them, but we got to wander much of the museum together— it is a maze so eventually we got separated, just like on the trail.

MONA was built by a Hobart native who apparently dropped out of school and made a fortune playing cards. The complex is on an island with long stairs winding up to the cliff top and a series of stone and steel building, all generally one story. There is a chapel and a vineyard along with a playground, but when you enter the mirrored sliding glass doors (the first of many mirrored surfaces) you soon find yourself in a warren of round bore holes cut deep into the sandstone. A cylindrical glass elevator takes you to the depths, and you then wander about amongst high tech installations, colossal light environments, following a logic all its own (a Bond villain would feel right at home). They have an in-house brewery and vineyard, with restaurants suddenly appearing at the end of a tunnel, only to be lost in later wanderings. I ended up tracing most of the paths, just missed a few exhibits with long queues.

It’s a national holiday so there were crowds. A midday pint of Moo Brew (yep, that’s their beer) coupled with the disorienting tunnels did me in, so I hopped the ferry back to Hobart, ran a few errands, and filed my taxes (which consumed much of the late afternoon). Then I strolled down to to waterfront to meet Jo and Pippa. Those two are exactly why trekking is great. You meet such good-hearted people who share both experience and attitude. It makes you feel as if you have known them forever. A good day.

T. Hugh Crawford