José Paronella built a castle, a picnic area by the falls, tennis courts, bridges, a tunnel of love and planted 7,500 tropical plants and trees. Paronella Park opened to the public in 1935. Today people marvel at the achievements of this visionary man.
We found the site well managed. Entry and exit was through a quality gift shop, where I purchased unusual and well-made handcrafted gifts. We dined in the restaurant, and while I don’t recall what we ate, I do remember the venue, and the surroundings all added to the pleasant experience.
We went on the educational guided walks and were impressed that an overnight caravan stay was included as part of the cost of some activities. We intended to return for the nighttime guided tour and to see the waterfall and castle lit by the hydroelectric scheme.
Without a doubt, I consider Paronella Park worthy of the international acclaim and awards it has received.
Situated at Mena Creek, North Queensland, and a short drive inland from Innisfail.
We visited the park with younger friends and their young boys and found all age groups were impressed and entertained by the surroundings.
http://www.paronellapark.com.au Phone (07)4065 3225
I’ll not dwell at length on the history of the park as this is shared during one of the guided tours and is also available in most tourist brochures and websites on this area. I’ll share with you the pleasure that Reg and I and our friends and their children had while exploring the park in order to give you a different and more personal experience than you would obtain from those brochures.
Privately owned and maintained, Paronella Park is a unique part of Australia's heritage. It was created by José Paronella in the 1930s as a Spanish-style castello at Mena Creek in tropical north Queensland.
José Paronella surrounded his buildings with thirteen acres of exotic gardens set amongst the natural, lush tropical forest, freshwater streams and cascading waterfalls.
The buildings have been ravaged by time, flood and cyclones, which in our opinion added to the history and charm of the place.
Paronella Park has won many awards. In 2004, Paronella Park was named Queensland’s premier significant attraction by Queensland Tourism. It was also a joint winner in the “Emerging Business” category of the Reconciliation Awards for Business (2004), awarded by the Queensland government. In 2009, Paronella Park was voted the RACQ number-one must-do attraction in Queensland by over 150,000 people from over 150 countries.
Buzzfeed, a popular entertainment website, produced a list in 2014 of the top fourteen places in Australia to get married and included Paronella Park on the list.
While we were there, we saw a wedding taking place on the lawn in front of José Paronella's dream castello and agree that it is a wonderful place to get married.
By day, visitors are charmed by guided tours including such fancies as the Tunnel of Love, the entrancing gardens and the picnic area beside the wide waterfall. By night, the park presents a dramatic evening tour. If you would like, you can stay over at the caravan park and camping grounds that are part of the park, which is now powered by its fully restored original 1930s hydroelectric generator.
Paronella Park bustles with visitors during the daytime. There is so much more to see than the old Spanish-style castello. The place is abundant in natural beauty. Visitors arrive from far and near to admire the gardens and rainforest creatures.
There are easy-grade walks as well as the more strenuous ones at Paronella Park.