Drive through the fields of Sugar Cane, Banana Plantations and pop into the lush rainforests of Far North Queensland for a magical experience like no other. Find yourself a hidden gem of Australia, filled with surprises and beauty! Pack a picnic and get ready to explore a fairytale paradise. This heritage-listed, hidden Spanish Castle in Cairns is truely extraordinary. It's no wonder Paronella Park is Cairns No.1 must-see attraction!
Paronella Park - The Hidden Spanish Castle in Cairns, Australia
Opening Hours: 9am - 7:30pm every day
Admission Price: $45 per adult OR get the combined ticket for Mamu Rainforest Skywalk and do both for $62 per adult
The Park Provides:
Included in your ticket is attendance to any of the 45 minute walking tours, Umbrellas, A Map, Flora & Fauna Guide book, Bookmarks, A small souvenir of the park itself, Fish & Turtle food & free reign of the park all day long.
Amenities at Paronella Park include toilets, picnic areas, a cafe and Paronella Park Caravan Park is right next door. You can easily make an entire day out of this park.
Paronella Park Tours
You can roam the park freely, with a map, taking your time to really absorb every detail.
Or, as we did, join one of the free 45 minute guided walking tours, which run every 30 minutes from 9:30am - 4:30pm.
Our guide, Mandy, was a wonderful story teller and really put into perspective the enormity of Jose's life mission. It was nice to get all the information behind every structure and imagine the glory days of dinner parties, tennis matches and theatre nights.
The Darkness Falls Tour: These tours go for 1 hour, every night, from 6:15pm. The Park lights up and you are treated to a special insight as to what the Park was originally designed for. We've heard this is an extra special experience, so if you can make the time, head over for a fantastic night out!
History of Paronella Park
The rugged 1930's sets the scene for a Spanish family, beginning their life in Australia. Jose, the father, was determined to build something spectacular amongst the rainforest. A place for his family, friends and community to come and enjoy.
Everything was created and built by Jose himself. The park includes multiple castles, stairways, bridges, tunnels and over 7000 plants, all constructed by one mans hands.
Over the years, the park has endured and survived fires, hurricanes and floods. It's incredible to see just how much still stands, beautiful as ever, after all these events.
Tip: Take your time, enjoy the coolness of the rainforest. But do remember to bring some bug repellant. With a lot of water in and around the park, mosquitoes will become your new frenemy. We recommend Bushmans over Aerogard. It is stronger, as it uses DEET. Though this is a very strong ingredient, be sure to test your skins sensitivity before lathering in it. Also be careful with jewellery as it can make bracelets etc. go green if put directly onto them.
Wildlife of Paronella Park
Because the park is built inside a rainforest, following the curve of natural waterfalls, the abundance of wildlife is incredible! Wandering through the trees, then suddenly sneaking a peak of something bright flying high above is so magical.
We saw Brush Turkeys, Turtles, Eels, Ducks, Fish, Spiders, Lizards, a rainbow of different Butterflies, and an array of birdlife. Keep your eye out for Kangaroos, Cassowary's, Snakes, Bandicoots & Flying Foxes!
Even with so much life around, it was remarkably relaxing and quiet. At times, even deep into the trees, all you could hear was the running water of the falls, with the occasional tweet overhead.
I even saved a Turtle! Somehow Mr. Turtle had ended up at the very top of the main staircase next to the waterfall. He was either going to have a very bumpy roll down the hill or a very very long walk back to the top river.
I've heard that Turtles pee when picked up (obviously as a defence system, I mean, you would probably wet yourself too if some random giant lifted you off the ground). So you can imagine how heroic I looked with arms outstretched as far away from my body as possible, holding a teeny innocent creature, while clambering down slippery steps, whilst also awkwardly holding him by only 2 fingers incase he outstretched to bite me..... The things I do for nature.
He happily swam down the river, towards the turtle feeding area. Hopefully to live a long, undisturbed, well-fed life!
Feeding The Wildlife at Paronella Park
On your tour, your lovely guide will provide you with a free packet of fish & turtle food. This is to be used at the large picnic area by the main waterfall, and down at the Turtle Nesting & Feeding area.
The Brush Turkeys will hear and smell it from a mile away, so don't be afraid if you suddenly feel pecking at your feet while feeding the marine animals (I may have.... and I may have also squealed like a little schoolgirl and jumped 4 feet into the air). The Brush Turkeys are harmless and if you don't feed them, they'll eventually just leave you alone.
Do remember to take all your rubbish with you and place it into the bins provided. This park has survived so long due to the preservation efforts of ordinary people like us. Please don't disrespect all they've accomplished. The wildlife doesn't need to be munching on your muesli bar wrapper.
Paronella Park Is A Photographer's Dream
Sit still for only a few minutes and you'll see just how alive this Spanish Castle in Cairns really is. Birds and Butterflies galore! Small marsupials, Lizards and Brush Turkeys running among the leafy floor. Take your time and capture the beautiful native creatures of Australia!
Top Photography Spots: Kauri Avenue, The Picnic Area at the Main Falls & The Lower Refreshments Rooms (in front of the Tennis Courts - best when the flowers are in bloom to get the specs of bright pink and orange)
Mamu Tropical Skywalk
Use your combined ticket to explore another top Cairns attraction. Mama Tropical Skywalk lets you walk through lush, untouched rainforest, finishing with the Rainforest Skytower. The Tower stands 37m above the ground, on the edge of a valley. The views of the surrounding rainforest canopy, mountain range, valley and rivers is incredible! It is definitely worth the 100 steps. There are regular sightings of Cassowary's in the area, so have your camera at the ready!
Check out my ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CAIRNS, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA - For more great things to do, where to stay, and where to eat in Cairns.