Paronella Park – a castle in the middle of the rainforest in the middle of nowhere. Another destination where we know you will have all seen the photos and added it to your bucket list! It is definitely on ours. Lap it Up submitted the most amazing photo of Paronella Park in our Travelling with Kids Calendar Comp, so we asked Jade to tell us all about her adventure.
Let me introduce myself, my name is Jade Cox, Mum & creator of Lap it up. You’re probably wondering who is Lap it up? We are a young family of 3, myself 26, my Husband, Jamie 27 & our little man Chad 2, from the Central Coast of NSW. We gave up the everyday life (stay at home mum & Formwork Carpenter) & are currently travelling around Australia. We have been on the road since the end of May after we sold our family home last year. We had plans to upgrade our home or to build but it didn’t feel as “exciting” as it should of & we didn’t want to just go with the flow. So, here we are, travelling our beautiful country in the meantime & nothing has ever felt more right!
We visited the beautiful Paronella Park recently & can honestly say it really is something special!
Paronella Park was one of those places that I spotted scrolling through Instagram when we very first decided to travel Australia. The thought of a castle, in the middle of a rainforest, basically in the middle of nowhere was so intriguing to me & the pictures I had seen were just, wow! I knew it was a place we had to get to & after seeing it for myself, I can say for certain that it absolutely is a must-see!
Located at Mena Creek in Queensland, Paronella Park wasn’t too far out of the way for us on our drive heading North up the East Coast. Now, if you’re like us & try to limit the amount of “paid attractions” on your travels then I can say that this is well worth it for more reasons than one. We were undecided at first, especially Jamie, I mean, what sort of bloke wants to go & visit a “magical, fairy tale-like castle”?! Well, let me tell you, he is glad I didn’t let up on this one & it is now up there as one of his favourite places as well.
You get great value for money with your ticket purchase at Paronella Park. First of all, your ticket is valid for 24 months, just make sure you collect your pass from reception. You get free camping for 1 night, make sure you book ahead! Especially if you require a powered site as these are limited. We left it a bit late to book so we didn’t get a spot right next to the park (where all amenities are located) but we were more than happy with our spot behind Mena Creek Hotel. A very well-kept campground with very spacious, mostly drive-through spots & it is only about 400 metres from the park. They also run a free shuttle bus to & from the campgrounds here to get you to the Park, how’s that for service! All tours at the park are included & we highly recommend you take advantage of these.
Upon entering the park, you can feel & see the magical wonder around you. But it’s not until you do the tours that it really takes you back in time & gives you a better understanding & appreciation for not only the beauty around you, but for the man Jose Paronella himself, who was a man well & truly ahead of his time who brought his dream to life by building these castles back in the 1930’s. The day tour (The dream Continues Tour) is a 45minute guided walk & it really sets the scene for the rest of your time at the park as they tell the amazing story of Jose & his park. It’s an easy one to catch as they run this every 30minutes. The night tour (The Darkness Falls Tour) is yet another must! An absolutely incredibly, magical experience that just takes the park & the whole experience to another level. This one goes for about an hour at 6:15pm. One tour we didn’t do was the Hydro tour. Jose Paronella installed North Queensland’s first river-driven Hydro Electric Generator that is still running to this day & provides all the power for the park, Chad understandably wasn’t allowed on this tour, we understand there is also some height requirements.
We only stayed our 1 night here but we absolutely loved our time at Paronella Park. When we arrived, we jumped straight into the day tour, which, understandably they ask you don’t focus on taking photos during the tour so you can really focus your attention & immerse yourself in the story of Jose Paronella & his park. After our tour, Chad was hanging to feed the fish & turtles with the food our tour guide provided & didn’t he love this! The amount of turtles & fish (& a few hungry eels) rushing to the surface for a feed was something else.
Well & truly ready for his nap by this stage we held off on photos & headed back to the caravan. Once Chad woke up we were straight back to the park to capture the beauty of the park through the lens of the camera (although it truly is something you need to see for yourself) We enjoyed walking through the park again just really taking our time to take it all in, I don’t think you could ever get sick of walking around here to be honest. Once the camera was full… kidding! But honestly, it’s that kind of place, you (or the hubby haha) has to stop you clicking away at some point! We spent some time in the little museum & then headed back for some chill out time & dinner & then back again for the night tour. It sounds like a lot, but you don’t hesitate one bit to head back & fourth. The night tour was brilliant. Such a spectacular experience & just a whole other world when the sun goes down. We can’t give all the secrets away but seeing the castles lit up was something else. They give you a torch each… including the kids & Chad thought that was pretty cool!
All in all, our Paronella Park experience was really something else & I can’t think of a negative thing to say. I would best describe this place as a Magical Adventure! A place you can’t miss on your travels & something you really need to see & experience for yourself. It’s an amazing experience for the whole family & we know you’ll love it, so add it to the list!
NB: If you don’t love it, don’t blame us haha! But we know you will!You can follow our adventure around Australia on Facebook & find out more about us & our story – or Instagram!
THANK YOU so much Jade – we can’t wait to make our way to Paronella Park and experience the MAGIC!!
Caravan inspired gifts that the whole family will LOVE!