Castles are probably not on ones mind when looking for things to do in Cairns, yet Paronella Park is more than just a castle. It’s the remnants of an old love story and of one man that dared to dream.
José Paronella arrived on Australia’s shores from Catalonia Spain with a romantic vision. To build a castle of great beauty and spend the rest of his days in it with the love of his life. In 1935 that dream became a reality and Paronella Park was opened to the public.
Located 90 minutes drive South of Cairns, Paronella Park is set on 5 hectares of lush tropical gardens and sitting right beside the beautiful Mena Creek Falls, is a site of great beauty and inspiration. Impressive, when you consider that the castle has been through a devastating fire, multiple cyclones and flash floods.
Explore the nostalgic ruins as you tour the grounds and surrounding gardens, or sit by the waterfall and enjoy the beautiful falls that lay beyond the castle. Although not ancient, the architectural harmony and grandeur of the castle ruins leave plenty of room for the imagination to envisage what the castle looked like in its prime.
Want a detailed history of the castle and grounds? Guided tours are held by knowledgeable and passionate staff, providing a very organised and in depth insight into the history of the castle and of José Paronella himself. Night tours are also available, providing impressive photographic opportunities.
As a multi award winning location, Paronella Park has been praised by media and the tourism industry, winning several awards in ecotourism, heritage preservation and general awards of excellence as a top QLD and Cairns attraction.
Due to its popularity and stunning scenery, the grounds have also been featured on a number of Australian TV shows, are frequently used as a wedding venue and the park has even had a theatrical play written about it called “The Impossible Dream”.
The venue also provides the ‘Cafe on the Deck’. Open daily and serving fresh food, the cafe is a great option if you’re after a bite to eat, although it is possible to have your own picnic on the grounds themselves if you wish. Paronella Park is open every day of the year (excludingChristmas Day) from 9 am to 7 .30 pm.