Wednesday, September 25, 2013


What an amazing place to visit.  Definitely value for money.  Admission was $40 each, but that included free overnight stay in their Caravan Park, an hour guided evening tour around the park, a 45 minute day tour around the park.  You could then send the rest of the day their wandering around to your hearts content, and then to top it all off, you got a free admission ticket to the park for the next two years.

The owners Mark and Judy were wonderful hosts,  they greeted everyone as they arrived,  Mark came and spoke to us all at the end of our tour, and the staff couldn't have been more friendly and helpful.  At the end of the tour we were all presented with a little gift as a keepsake of our visit to the park.  Would highly recommend you visiting the park.

The story behind it all is amazing.. Jose Paronella was a visionary,  although he was a baker by trade, he came to Australia to create a dream for himself and family and he definately achieved that.  The foresight and planning that went into Paronella Park was amazing.  The buildings all centred around the waterfalls.  Would definately take too much time to go into all the details, but check their web page for more details and amazing photos....

We arrived around 4pm in that afternoon,  we were given this great location to camp for the night.  Each van site is quite secluded  close to all amenities.  The amenities were great, the showers were spacious, very clean, and there was even a lovely flower arrangement in there.  Just lovely touches everywhere.  

Our campsite for the night. 
 By the time we parked the van, got set up and organised, had dinner and showers, it was almost 7.30pm.  We were booked in to do the night tour of the park at 8pm.  We had to meet in the Cafe section of the park.   We arrived and got chatting to some other lovely campers, and our guide arrived and checked us all in, and also gave each of us a torch for the tour. 

It was really good, we wandered around the park, our first stop was here.
The main waterfall all lit up.
 We received a little bit of history about the park, but the night tour was more about the plants and animals in the park.  We fed the fish and turtles., saw the glow worms, and fire flys.  They were amazing, they lit up the trees like Christmas trees.  Just wish I could of got photos of it.  We saw special glowing mushrooms or fungi... We even looked for the resident crocodile, but unfortunately he was no where to be seen on this tour.   The tour lasted an hour, and finished in front of the rest rooms which were all lit up for us, with beautiful spanish music playing.
The Refreshment rooms...
Jose Paronelli put a lot of thought into the planning of his park.   The main waterfall at the entrance was pretty much the centre of most things he built at the park.  As you look at the statue below, you look directly beyond it to the waterfall. 
Refreshment rooms with the waterfall as a backdrop. 
In front of the tea rooms or refreshment rooms, is this wonderful water garden.  Even this had a lot of thought go into it.  This water feature needs no electricity for the water to spout out like this. .. It is all gravity fed, and whilst there is running water it is always working. 
The water garden in fron of the refreshment rooms. 
We had until 10am the following morning to be out of our caravan park, but there was parking outside the park so that we could spend the day there.  We vacated our site just after 8.30am as we wanted to make sure we got a park before too many people arrived.  Paronella Park opened at 9am with the first tour leaving at 9.30am.  
Entering the Park.
We spent the first half hour just wandering around the top end of the par, a walk across the suspension bridge, we took some photos looking down unto the park. 

Steve checking out the hydro plant. 
 Jose Paronella was ahead of his time, when he built the park, he was the first in the area to have electricity which he produced himself making his own hydro electicity plant, using the water for the creek and falls. 
Steve on the Suspension Bridge
Feeling a little more secure by holding onto the rails. 
 We took a few more photos and then headed back to join our tour guide.  Todays tour was more about the history of the Park, and Jose Paronella.  His dreams for his park, his life story.... truely fascinating.
The following photos were taken from the top of the park near the waterfall... Just to give you some idea of the grandeur that was once Paronella Park.  
Walkway leading to the top of the falls.
Wishing fountain.
The water fall
Looking down onto the picnic area and further up the creek.
Looking down from the suspension bridge. 
The main castle. 
 This park is definitely worth spending time at. 
Walking to the main part of the castle. 

 The family never actually lived in the castle, it was used to bring pleasure to other people,  balls, wedding, films....
The ballroom
 This was destroyed by fire, and then Cyclone Larry did some major damage to it but knowing in one of the main walls. 
The stage area of the ballroom. 
 Next we moved down the grand stair case,  this was the first thing built as the workers need to bring the materials from way down the bottom of their land up to where they were going to build the castle. 
De-sending the stairs. 

The Grand stair case
 We were taken for a stroll down lover's lane to the Tunnel of Love. 
Tunnel of Love
A bit about the tunnel
The tunnel
 The tunnel now is home to colonies of bent wing micro bats, and we got to go in and see them in their colonies. 
If you were to walk through the tunnel of love you came out to this courtyard in front of Theressa's Waterfall.  This waterfall is not connected to the other waterfall at all or to any creek.  It just springs up from underground, and by named by Jose after his daughter.
Teressa Falls
Some more random photos of Paronella Place.  
Day View of the Refreshment rooms
During the day you can see the waterfall behind more clearly
Changing Rooms (on the outside of the Refreshment rooms)
Water fountains ( all fed by gravity. 
 One of the other special places at Paronella Park is Kauri Avenue.   The centre feature of this walk is also the waterfall.  You walk straigth down the walk to the waterfall. 
The Kauri Avenue
Walking down the Kauri Avenue
 Another area that caught our fancy were the Golden Bamboo walk.  This was probably the coolest part of the forest...
Strolling through the Golden Bamboo garden. 
 In 2006 Cyclone Larry did a lot of damage at Paronella Park, destroying one of the walls of the ball room, and uprooting many trees. 
This is some of the evidence of this damage. 
Steve in front of some of the trees that came down.  They caused a lot of damage
After this we headed back to the Picnic area.  the sun was fully out so we were able to get some good photos of the falls. 
Sitting in the picnic area admiring the view.
The falls.
Picnic area has a gorgeous view of the falls.
Steve enjoyed feeding all the fish and eels. 
Thousands of fish and turtles all come in to be fed daily
Although Jose Paronella was a very wealthy man, he and his family lived in this very humble home on the property. 
The Family home is now a museum
One of the highlights for me at Paronella Park was seeing these beautiful butterflies flying around the gardens.  They were really quite spectacular. 
The Ulysses Butterfly
 We finished our stay at the park by having one of these.
Steve with his rum and raisin ice cream
Enjoying every mouthful of mine too. 
 We loved our stay here and as I said before, would highly recommend a visit to Paronella Park to anyone.

We left Paronella just after 1pm and headed into Innisfail.  We were a little hungry for lunch and were looking for somewhere to park the car and van near a park ( not an easy thing to do in town), anyway the long and the short of it all was that we ended up over the river and our GPS told us we were on Flying Fish Rd.  The funny thing was, my friend Jannett had commented on my facebook page the day before that the only to things she could really remember about her trip to Innisfail, was a visit to Paronella Park and also another place called Flying Fish Point.  So once we found out we were on Flying Fish Road we decided to head out further to see if we could find the point. 
We did and it was beautiful, and we had no trouble parking the van and car, so this became our lunch stop. 
Our lunch stop
Plenty of room to park the car and van...
Spectacular views...
Steve enjoying his lunch ( who wouldn't with a view like this)
Time to finish it off with a cuppa
enjoying mine
Sad to leave....
 Thanks Jannett Humble... it certainly is a beautiful spot and we enjoyed your recommendation. 
After lunch we headed through to Babinda, where we are staying for a couple of nights with our friend Paul.  (His lovely wife is back in Rocky, recovering from a very badly broken shoulder).  Hopefully we will catch up with her next week before we leave.  Paul and Elaine spent a week on the houseboat with us earlier in the year. 
After setting up our van in their back yard, Paul took us for a drive to visit his canefarm. 
They have resident crocs their, the male one almost 6mts long.   There was no way I was getting out of the car.  They couldn't see him today... I felt rather releived.  I am torn, I would love to see a big croc, but I certainly don't wamt tp get too up close and personal to it.
Steve and Paul looking for the Croc.... there was no way I was hopping out of the car.

 They also have a lovely nature reserve on the farm, so we went down for a drive to take a look.  it is this beautiful rainforest jungle, with a lovely babbling brook running through it.  Perfect place for a picnic and relax, 

Nature Reserve
Checking out the creek. 
 I must admit,  these took my fancy..
Growing wild. 
 These flowers were growing wild on the farm... they were everywhere but they looked so b eautiful I just had to photograph them of course.

That was pretty much our day yesterday.... I am so far behind... Today we spent on the road checking out all the waterfalls and some other places of interest.  I am still to edit those photos, so I guess you will be waiting another day for today's update,  We did the waterfall circuit today,  Truly spectacular, and I have hundreds of photos to edit.  We didn't finish it all today, so still need to visit some more falls and the Babinda Boulders tomorrow before we head to Cairns.  Hopefully we will have a little bit of free time tomorrow afternoon, so I might managed to catch up once again.  Heading to bed.... it has been a long day today. 


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