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Touch of Paradise Part 9

“What is Paronella Park?” we asked.
“Oh, you must go there. You won’t regret it.” they replied.
So we did and we don’t!
We were advised to book at least a few days in advance, so we did. Attached to Paronella Park is a small caravan park and one night’s accommodation is included in the entrance fee. The fee also includes a 2 year pass.
Paronella Park is south west of Innisfail at Mena Creek. Paronella Park is a dream realised as the result of hard work, astute investment and love. Jose Paronella came to Australia from Spain near the beginning of the 20th century to make his fortune. Having done so, he married and brought his bride to Australia and promised her a castle. He found his ideal land at Mena Creek next to a waterfall. Here he built his dream and landscaped the gardens with tropical plants, some he brought to Australia himself. He opened his ‘castle’ to the public and it was very popular. After a series of unfortunate circumstances it was eventually closed and the rainforest reclaimed as much as it could. Fire and cyclone had also damaged it to the point where it needed too much money and energy to repair. And the Bruce Hwy was redirected away from the Park and they lost the passing traffic trade.
Along came the current owners with a vision. They began renovating the gardens and found surprises at every corner. Jose’s daughter was still alive at this time and her memorabilia was a great asset in the restoration. There is still much to do and with $2million to be spent over the next three years, it is an exciting and interesting place to visit.
There are guided tours every half hour and a night tour when certain areas are lit up. There is also a small area outside where some people are able to camp if they cannot get a site. And I believe the local pub (200 metres away) puts on a good meal .
Jose’s dream and foresight have to be seen to be believed. He installed a hydroelectricity system at the waterfall which still provides power to this very day.
Paronella Park recently received the Steve Irwin award for eco-tourism.
If you are in the area – do not miss it!