On our last trip up north to Cairns, we decided we needed to visit the Winner of #1 Must do in QLD, Paronella Park and it does not disappoint.
There is something magical about the ruins of a castle, covered in vines. This is the perfect spot to explore, imagine and daydream.
Feed turtles, walk through gardens and get lost in the imagination of what it would have been like in its heydey.
Jose Paronella had a dream, a dream to build a castle.
And 120kms south of Cairns In 5 Hectares just behind Mena Creek falls, that is what he did.
He not only built a castle but tennis courts, bridges, picnic areas and over 7500 tropical plants and trees.
Back when it was an operational castle it also had a movie theatre which on the weekend would be transformed into an amazing space for live music, complete with a giant ball of mirrors.
For many years the Paronella’s invited the public to join them in their Spanish inspired castle complete with North Queensland’s first Hydro Electric pump, that powered the 13-acre site. The public enjoyed visiting the Castle from 1935 when it opened until 1946.
When tragedy struck.
Upstream from the park work was done and lots of trees and bushes were cleared, when the wet season came, all those logs and debris went down the river, and piled against the railway bridge destroying it. This became like a domino effect, sending the bridge, the trees, logs all down towards the castle.
The Paronella’s were upset to find the Hydro damaged, the refreshment almost destroyed, and the Theatre and foyer damaged. But they were not broken…. They began to rebuild.
The rebuilt Park stayed in the Paronella family until 1977. When they sold it.
In 1979 tragedy struck again with a fire that devastated the castle, followed by significant damage in 1986 by Cyclone Winifred, A flood in January 1994, Cyclone Larry in 2006, and Cyclone Yasi in 2011.
This has all contributed to the ghostly shell of the castle you see today. Something so magical to see.
When the current owners purchased the park in 1993 they too had a dream…. A dream to rebuild the legacy of the park and put it back on the map as a must see Tourist attraction.
They have restored the Hydroelectric system (Original 1930’s). They are preserving the castle, without rebuilding.
Paronella Park… the dream continues.
Make sure you check out some of our other favorite places we visited.