Into the Wild: Exploring Cradle Mountain Hotel’s Wilderness Gallery | By Kate Butler
Opposite Cradle Mountain Hotel reception is the gift shop and Wilderness Gallery. As I made my way into the warmth of the gift shop one morning, I sensed the rustic vibes I had been feeling throughout the hotel, following closely at my heels. The ground beneath me began to soften and rustle and glancing down, I realised that the entire floor of was made from fake grass! A little further on and I found myself in the first room of the Wilderness Gallery, where the atmosphere couldn’t be any more different. The feel is minimal, bright and clean, letting the images hung neatly on the walls speak for themselves, in pops of colour and character.
There are a total of ten rooms in the gallery (nine of which were open during my visit), each showcasing some truly beautiful imagery of Tasmania’s wilderness and wildlife, as well as further afield, such as Joshua Holko’s ‘Colours of Iceland’, my personal favourite.
Room 1 & 2 – Wild Island by Wolfgang Glowacki
Having explored a lot of Tasmania, this two room exhibition really felt quite familiar to me, as I had stood in some of the exact spots presented in front of me. The images are bold in colour, making you feel a real appreciation and admiration towards the beauty of Tasmanian nature and I especially liked the incredible detail in the close up studies of dew, lichen, bark and moss.
Room 3 – Wild Tasmania by Rob Blakers
Another exhibition illustrating the vast, raw state that is Tasmania. These pieces are printed on large canvasses, vibrantly filling the room. I liked that many of the images come in the form of beautiful native trees, varying in size, colour and shape.
Room 4 – Colours of Iceland by Joshua Holko
My personal favourite, perhaps because visiting Iceland is high on my to-do list. The colours in these images could be described as moody and dreamy. Water is the main focal point, be it flowing in beautifully cascading waterfalls, frozen into bizarre, other-worldly shapes or simply sitting in invitingly tranquil pools.
Room 5 – Retrospective by Richard Bennett
The majority of images in this room focus on the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race over the years. There is an emphasis on stormy seas and the danger the competitors face with the weather and enormous waves. Just looking at the sheer size of the ocean compared to the vessels gave me shivers, especially the photograph with an orange flare being fired from one of the yachts; this made my imagination run wild.
Room 6 – Peter Dombrovskis
This room is dedicated to Peter Dombrovskis, who tragically died doing the thing he loved best. His love of the Tasmanian wilderness and efforts to photographically record endangered areas is evident around the room. You can also take a chair in the theatre and watch a short documentary about Peter, his life and inspirational work.
Room 7 & 8 - Platypus- World’s Strangest Animal by David Parer & Elizabeth Parer-Cook
These rooms were incredibly relevant to me, seeing as I had sighted a platypus at Ronny Creek just days before. The images depict the life of the platypus and each one comes with information about this elusive little animal, including the food they eat, their features and how they survive. For more information, there is a documentary to enjoy on one of the comfortable sofas. There is also photography of other native wildlife, including the Tasmanian devil and numerous birds.
Room 9 – Fluid Tasmania by Andy Chisholm
The final room is quintessentially Australian; a blue blur of sand, sea and surf. The images study waves from an array of angles, some looking directly through a breaking wave, others beneath the water, each making you feel like you are actually there in the ocean. I really enjoyed looking at the size of the surfers compared to the waves they were riding. For me, this is action photography at its best and most interesting.
With free entry, the Wilderness Gallery is open daily from 9am-7pm. I would highly recommend paying a visit, so you too can feel a warm appreciation towards this beautiful world and its wildlife.