Paronella Park is a magical gem hidden in the rainforest of Tropical North Queensland. Built by Spanish migrant Jose Paronella in the 1930s, the castle was designed as a pleasure garden and recreation centre for the public. The park has won numerous tourism awards and is considered one of TNQ’s premier tourist attractions, and it’s easy to see why.
THINGS TO DO
The park features a grand old concrete stairway, ferns and vines spilling on to the steep and narrow steps from the lush tropical rainforest that has slowly reclaimed the crumbling ruins of this old Spanish castle. At the base of the stairs, you will find a charming disused picnic area, with concrete tables and chairs built into the tiered patio overlooking the vast natural pool into which the powerful Mena Creek Falls tumble. A 40-minute guided tour is included in the admission price, and will sweep you away in the quirky romance of the place.
We’d arrived at Paronella Park from the Atherton Tablelands’ town of Millaa Millaa. The journey from Innisfail south to Mena Creek, known as the Canecutter’s Way, unsurprisingly took us through endless sugarcane fields and industrial towns like South Johnstone near the river of the same name, a tiny heritage town complete with sugar mill and a tramway upon which sugarcane is transported down the main street.
Paronella Park has a caravan park adjacent, and a night’s camping is included in the admission price. Capitalising on this means you can also enjoy the nighttime tour of the park. Visit www.paronellapark.com.au for more information.
Entry to the park is $50, which includes a 40 minute guided tour.
For information on TNQ drive itineraries, visit www.drivenorthqueensland.com.au
Check out the full feature in issue #87 April 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine.