The dream of Spanish immigrant José Paronella was to build a Catalonian style castle along the meandering banks and lovely water cascades of Mena Creek Falls near Innisfail. Building began on his countryside dream in the early 1930s and by the time he and his devoted workmen were finished, he had himself a gorgeous creek-side oasis unlike anything Far North Queensland had ever seen.
Paronella Park, near Innisfail. Picture: Getty Images
With that, Paronella Park opened to the public in 1935 for movies, dances, swimming and refreshments. Today, after unfortunate years of neglect and natural disasters, it is in the process of being restored – the grand vision of José Paronella is still evident and a joy to see.
Paronella Park acts as a museum, historic site and lush botanic garden. Hidden stairways decade-old, built by Paronella himself, lead to spectacular lagoons with crashing waterfalls, while tranquil trails take visitors through the verdant rainforest and around the historic castle grounds. Since restoration began several years ago, the park has become a popular site for weddings and other events with its stunning natural settings and castle-style qualities make for a romantic environment.
Extend your stay with an eco-chic retreat
Newly built cabins for overnight stays have recently been added on the park grounds offering an inviting modern look, with either queen size or king size beds. As an eco-friendly award winning site, this is the perfect escape in a spectacular North Queensland setting.
Paronella Park is about 120 kilometres south of Cairns. Past Innisfail, follow the signs to Mena Creek on the Old Bruce Highway. Coming from the opposite direction, the park is approximately 280 kilometres north from Townsville– turn off the Bruce Highway at Silkwood, following Canecutter Way to Mena Creek.