Photographs and Adventures

Paronella Park – one man’s dream

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has visited my blog recently, especially today when I have put up several posts to try and catch up with myself. We have been out of reach of internet for most of the past several weeks while we were traveling in the outback and far north Queensland, so I have a backlog of photos that I want to put on here. Thank you also to everyone for their kind words and encouragement.

The intriguing first glimpse of Paronella Park.

I had heard from friends that Paronella Park was a place we shouldn’t miss when we travelled to north Queensland, but we really had no idea what to expect. Paronella Park came to exist through the dreams and imagination of Jose Paronella, who arrived in Australia from Spain in the early 1900’s and through sheer hard work in the cane fields, together with his vision and determination, managed to buy 5 hectares beside Mena Creek Falls and build himself a castle. He also built a theatre/ballroom, refreshment rooms, bridges, tennis courts, a tunnel to a secret garden with a spring-fed waterfall, a picnic area, and planted over 7,500 tropical plants and trees. If that was not enough, he also installed the first hydro-electric plant in northern Queensland. The complex opened to the public in 1935 and since then has had several catastrophies including floods, cyclones and a devastating fire. Today the ruins of the dream make a fascinating place to visit.

The ruins of the theatre/ballroom still have an air of a fairy-tale palace about them.

The lower refreshment rooms have a haunting atmospheric presence, especially when lit up at night. The fountain in front of the ruins is gravity fed from the waterfall and runs continuously.


This photo was taken from the picnic grounds overlooking the waterfall. The waterfall still runs a hydro electric plant, supplying more than enough power to run the whole property.

This is the view from the suspension bridge, looking over Paronella Park and the pool below the waterfall, where people used to hire pleasure boats and swim. You can see the picnic area beside the lake, still with the original cast concrete picnic tables and seats.

The tropical gardens and details such as the wishing well in front of the ballroom show the amount of attention that went into the planning of this special place. I would certainly recommend a visit to Paronella Park if you get the opportunity.

I saw this leaf in the gardens of Paronella Park. I am not sure what has been eating this plant, but I liked the lacy pattern the holes make in the leaf.







10 responses

  1. Amazing Photographs!

    September 4, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    • Thank you. It is truly an amazing place. And it is wonderful they are still keeping the dream alive, just in a different way.

      September 4, 2012 at 11:26 pm

  2. Pretty amazing though..

    September 4, 2012 at 11:29 pm

  3. That’s a pretty cool place. Looks like nature is winning this particular battle… Reminded me a little of those temples that are unearthed from the South American jungles from time to time

    September 5, 2012 at 1:17 am

    • Funny you should say that. For around 15 years Paronella Park was deserted, and in that time the rainforest took over. The current owners didn’t know half the stuff was there when they bought the place. It was only when the Jose Paronella’s daughter came to visit that they discovered the secret lover’s tunnel and Teresa Falls, as well as an avenue of giant Kauri trees, and many other features of the park. I love the mossy, overgrown look.

      September 5, 2012 at 7:56 am

  4. What an amazing place! Would love to visit it one day. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    September 5, 2012 at 11:21 am

    • You are very welcome! I hope you do get the chance to visit one day, it is even better in real life. And it is the visitors who come from all over the world who make it possible to keep the dream alive.

      September 5, 2012 at 11:45 am

    • Hi Nic, nice to hear from you. It is definitely an amazing place, put it on the to-do list.

      We are still in Bowen (blowin’ Bowen Phil calls it). It gets windy in the afternoon. We have just been for a lovely kayak, and dad tried a snorkel but the water was not clear and very salty so that didn’t last long! Soon we will go into Bowen and buy some prawns to eat on the beach for lunch. Yummmmmm….

      Hope you are having a good day. Love mum & dad

      Rhonda Buitenhuis

      September 5, 2012 at 11:48 am

  5. Hi!

    I absolutely love your photos from this post. I would like to use one for the homepage of the website I work for – so please contact me

    Thanks for the consideration 🙂

    July 24, 2014 at 7:56 am

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