Review of Paronella ParkNov 23, 2020
This local attraction near Innisfail (about 1 hour south of Cairns), is a small 13-acre park. But this is not just any park. It was built in the 1930’s, by a man named José Paronella. His dream was to build a castle, and that is exactly what he did. He then turned his castle and surrounding land into a park for tourists to visit, with tennis courts, refreshment rooms, and a museum.
The castle and many of the other historical buildings within the park are now in ruins, due to floods and cyclones. However, this is what I think makes the park so beautiful. Seeing all the old stone weathered and overgrown by nature, seems so natural to me.
The park is built next to Mena Falls, a spectacular waterfall which only adds to the beauty of the park. This waterfall was also used to create the first hydro-electric plant in Far North Queensland, which is still running today. When the park was first opened visitors would swim in the water at the base of the falls, nowadays we are not allowed to because of the risk of crocodiles.
Although small, this is a park which you will want to spend more than just one day exploring. There is a small caravan park on site and staying here you get 24-hour access to the park. This is great because in the evening there is a light show, which really brings the place to life.
Nighttime is also when the wildlife comes out. We only walked through a small part of the park at night but found multiple frogs, many different types of insects and a bandicoot. This park is not just about the things which you see but is also about the story of how it came to be. The current owners of the park are doing an amazing job of sharing this with their guests, through 3 different tours, and many information boards around the park. What I have talked about in this blog is only a tiny part of the story as I do not want to ruin your experience. You can learn more about the park on their website.