ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting Australia & Oceania»
  • Australasia

Paronella Park - North Queensland Australia

Updated on February 6, 2015

Paronella Park - Tourist Attraction North Queensland

The origins of Paronella Park date back to the late 1920’s when a Spanish Immigrant named Jose Paronella arrived in the area and took up work as a farm hand in the Sugar Cane fields surrounding Innisfail.

Jose was extremely ambitious and after saving a great deal of money from purchasing, adding value, and selling Sugar Cane farms, he purchased 5 hectares of rainforest bordering the banks of Mena Creek.

Paronella Park - The Early Days

Jose always intended to return to Spain to wed his bride-to-be, however when he finally made it back to Spain after many years, he found that his family had thought that he had died, as they had not heard a single word from him.

Jose wife-to-be had long since married another man, so Jose chose her younger sister to be his bride and they travelled back to Australia to create his dream of building a Spanish Castle and Pleasure Gardens deep in the lush tropical rainforest of North Queensland.

Multi award winning attraction - Paronella Park, Queensland.
Multi award winning attraction - Paronella Park, Queensland.

History of Paronella Park

The early 1930’s saw Jose and his wife clearing the land and planting more than 7,000 trees which included the stunningly beautiful avenue of Kauri Pines. Jose also designed and built the first hydroelectric power station in Australia which supplied not only the park, but also the local community in nearby townships with electricity.

In its heyday, Paronella Park boasted picnic grounds, waterfall fed lake for public swimming, toilet facilities, changing rooms, ballroom, tea house, fountains, hydro-electric power, open air cinema, rainforest walks and a lovers lane tunnel.

After operating the park very successfully for many years, it was closed and left to the mercy of the encroaching tropical rainforest for decades. Finally in 1993, after 45 years, Paronella Park was rediscovered, reclaimed from the rainforest and reopened much to the delight of locals and tourists alike.

Paronella Park - Guided Tour
Paronella Park - Guided Tour
The Avenue of Kauri Pines
The Avenue of Kauri Pines

Paronella Park Today

It is now a multi award winning eco-friendly tourist attraction with unique Spanish castle ruins, tropical Australian rainforest, amazing wildlife, beautiful waterfalls, tranquil walks, guided tours, an indoor/outdoor cafe and much more.

Since Jose Paronellas death, there has been a fire on site, a cyclone which ripped through the region, and several devastating floods that have all resulted in severe damage to the park and its buildings. Each time it has been brought back from the brink and even today it remains a testament of the love that Jose Paronella had for his family and his adopted country.

A quiet place for contemplation.
A quiet place for contemplation.

Building Paronella Park

Jose's passion, resourcefulness and dedication was immense. He built his early ‘theme park’ through sheer hard work. All the concrete for the buildings was mixed by hand and he recycled disused train tracks from his sugar cane farms as reinforcement for the buildings.

Sadly, without realising it, the water that Jose used to mix the concrete contained minerals that attacked the reinforcing iron that he used, and eventually caused ‘concrete cancer’. (A condition where the concrete separates off the reinforcing iron as it rusts from the inside)

Ironically over the years, this has given much of the park a unique appearance which would otherwise not exist. It is fascinating to walk through the ruins which are largely intact but crumbling in parts, adding a quaint historic value to the picturesque surroundings.

The Grand Staircase (flood levels are marked on steps).
The Grand Staircase (flood levels are marked on steps).

When to visit Paronella Park

Paronella Park is open every day of the year except for Christmas Day. There is also a caravan park alongside for the convenience of caravanners and campers. There are also limited cabins available. The park offers both day and night visits. One ticket allows entry for both times. Highly recommended!

Mena Creek Waterfall with swing bridge leading to picnic area.
Mena Creek Waterfall with swing bridge leading to picnic area.

Paronella Park Gift Shop

Rainbow shot glasses are one of many beautiful gifts and mementos available from the Paronella Park gift shop.
Rainbow shot glasses are one of many beautiful gifts and mementos available from the Paronella Park gift shop. | Source

Please leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)