Paronella Park: A Castle in the Tropical Jungle

If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise. In amongst the stunning plantlife and wildlife of an Australian tropical jungle, not many would suspect to see a grand man-made structure that is close to 80 years old. Yet close to the city of Cairns, that’s exactly what you’ll find with Paronella Park – a place brimming with beauty, history, and wonder.

Completed in 1935, Paronella Park was built by Spanish businessman José Paronella, whose dream was to create and maintain a castle structure and luxurious gardens for the public to use. Word quickly spread and the park developing into a favorite of the locals, becoming a regular location for movie nights, dances, parties, and even weddings. There was also a museum room, which housed coins, pistols, dolls, and may other interesting items from North Queensland and the rest of the world. The gardens especially are a marvel even today, with masses of stunning local flora and fauna in amongst the beautifully-crafted concrete structures. It’s easy to feel lost in time when gazing upon the waterfall and taking in the calming presence of the creek.

Even after a flood in 1946 destroyed a massive portion of the site, and José’s untimely death two years later, Paronella Park still today carries on its creator’s dream of an unrestricted sanctuary for the public to enjoy. With new owners Mark and Judy Evans, Paronella Park has flourished into a popular spot for tourists to revel in, with weddings, daytime tours, and nighttime tours just some of the great reasons to visit the site. It’s also possible to stay overnight at the park’s campsite, so worry not about cramming everything into an afternoon!

As for getting to Paronella Park, it’s safe to say that driving is the only real option – don’t expect a train station right outside the location! As the park is situated roughly 75 miles from Cairns and 174 miles from Townsville, we recommend making Paronella Park simply one of many stops along a Queensland road trip. The “Sunshine State” of Queensland is quite frankly a ginormous section of Australia, yet (time permitting of course) sticking to the eastern coast would be a fine way to see some wondrous sights of the land down under. Understandably, you’ll need access to a vehicle if you’re simply visiting this region for a limited time, so we could suggest seeing what campervan options are available to rent at a provider like Campanda. What’s more, this makes finding accommodation unnecessary when you have convenient beds in the vehicle.

As Queensland’s coast covers a whopping 4,350 miles, you’d be hard-pressed to see everything the state has to offer, but try to at least make the time for Cairns, Paronella Park, Townsville, The Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, Brisbane, the Daintree Rainforest, and The Gold Coast, to name a few.

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