Paronella Park

Paronella Park is a different attraction in Australia.

It tends to interest Australians more than European visitors, because it really is a European castle.

That said it's great and defintely worth a visit if you are travelling in the area.

paronella park

It is in a beautiful place surrounded by tropical rainforests between Townsville and Cairns in north Queensland. More exactly along the Canecutter Way - the inland road from Innisfail to Silkwood through South Johnstone, Mena Creek and Japoonvale.

paronella park entrance

The castle was built by Jose Paronella - a Spanish immigrant who, like many others in north Queensland, was a sugar cane cutter. His dream was to build a castle and he did it in a strange way - out of poured concrete and old railway tracks.

teresa falls

He obviously didn't only build a castle but also created beautiful gardens around it. There is a beautiful fish pond next to a picnic area reached by the Grand Staircase. There are a few different buildings and walking tracks between them. There are also tracks to a love tunnel, and bridges and waterfalls. In one section there are thousands of tall trees planted by the family in 1933. There are even tennis courts, a suspension bridge over Mena Creek Falls and an hydroelectric plant that was used as the power source (from 1933 and the first privately owned one in Queensland).

paronella park queensland

There is a museum that tells the story, in the house where the family lived. After 13 years as a cane cutter Jose apparently returned to Spain for a year, and came back to Australia with his new wife Margarita. Together they chose the location near the 45 foot Mena Creek Falls, and started building the house and the castle.

paronella park museum

But even better is to join one of the guided tours. Your admission ticket includes the tours anyway. The day tour takes you around in the park and tells about the different buildings such as the movie theatre, hall, ballroom, icecream parlour, and what was happening in each - the place was already open to the public in 1935, and was instantly loved by visitors.

mena creek falls

The night tour is even better and offers some great photo opportunities. The ticket also includes a free night's camping in the adjacent caravan park. There are nowadays even cabins available.

paronella park at night

There is also an eatery and a souvenir shop. Paronella Park is open 9am to 7.30pm every day except Christmas Day. And you can return with the same ticket any time within a year from your first visit.

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