Paronella Park

Paronella Park - A Spanish Castle in the heart of an Australian Rainforest!"

If you are in North Queensland then you should try to check out this lovely park right in the heart of the rainforest. It's certainly a little weird to stumble upon a Spanish Castle in the middle of this lovely park and it is worth a look.

The gardens and waterfalls all by themselves make it a good place to visit but the castle just adds another dimension.

Today the castle is a set of ruins but they are still in relatively good condition. It has been subject to flooding and other natural disasters over the years including cyclones and a bad fire.

Getting to Paronella Park and Costs

You'll find Paronella Park at Japoonvale Road, Mena Creek. It's about an hour and a half south of Cairns just south of Innisfail.

It's open every day except Christmas day from 9.30 - 4.30pm.

It costs about $36 per adult with family passes being available around $100. This includes entrance to the grounds, a chance to wander the many beautiful gardens and pathways and look round the castle ruins.

The price also includes a 45 minute guided tour that leaves every 30 minutes from 9.30am.

There is a special tour available at 6.15am where you get to see the grounds and castle by night.

What To See And Do at Paranella Park

You can easily spend 2-3 hours here admiring the gardens and losing yourself in the wonderful walkways.

The castle itself has an interesting history. You get to learn about one man's dream to recreate a Spanish Castle - Jose Paronella started building the castle in the 1920's all by himself. He was determined to create something wonderful that could be enjoyed for centuries. Indeed once built, it saw many a party and was used to entertain the locals for many years.

The best bits of the park include the following:

  • Exploring the castle itself - it's pretty much open to the elements now but you still can see where the kitchen was and the great ballroom
  • The Great Staircase - probably the most prominent and well known part of the park. From here you get good views of the park and clear water below
  • The Falls are also worth a look - Teresa Falls and also Mena Creek Falls. These are especially stunning during the wet season between October and May. Only word of caution is that to get to Teresa falls is through the Tunnel of Love which houses a set of bats - a bit creepy for me!
  • Bring a picnic or enjoy something at the nice cafe here - plenty of choice on the menu and their Devonshire Teas are pretty good if you fancy reliving an afternoon tea

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