Paronella Park is midway between Mission Beach and Innisfail on the beautiful inland ‘Canecutter Way’, and is an amazing and fascinating place to visit.
Jose Paronella built his ‘fantasy creation’ back in the 1930′s, a Spanish style castle complete with an entertainment centre, a grand staircase down to the river and a park for family and friends. Today the buildings are in ruins, but still retain their beauty, covered in moss and surrounded by stunning gardens with paths and tracks to follow. We joined one of the guided tours so we didn’t miss out on any of the history or the highlights of the park.
The Tunnel of Love is now home to a colony of micro bats, fresh water eels live in the stream and bream, perch and turtles live in the lake. Jose created the beautiful gardens planting over 7000 trees, and walking through the ‘Kauri Avenue’ looking up at the magnificent trees towering above us must have been what Jose had visualised in his dream.
We had lunch sitting outside enjoying the view over the lake listening to the calls of the many birds who inhabit the park. Just outside the park is a suspension bridge which you can walk across and from which you have a marvellous view over the park and gardens.
Our entrance fee was valid for a year and also included the night tours when the buildings are floodlight and must look wonderful, there is also an overnight caravan park so you can stay close by.
We had a brilliant day at Paronella Park and can see why it has won so many prestigious tourism awards.