Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Paronella Park 11 August 2015

The weather has been fantastic this past week and we have enjoyed our 2 week break at Wongaling Beach. We went for a final swim, cleaned up the house, said goodbye to Jeff and Helen and then headed off through the cane fields and banana plantations to Paronella Park. It was lucky that Peter booked a camp spot, as it was chockers! Paronella Park is an amazing place with most of the work carried out by a single person in the 1930’s - Jose Paronella. He was a Spanish migrant who got a job as a farm labourer around Innisfail.
He bought a sugar cane farm and slowly bought up other farms until he had enough money to build his dream. He had an obsession to build a series of villas and ‘castles’ all set in 13 acres of tropical gardens. While some people come expecting to see magnificent Art Deco buildings, in reality most structures are now in ruins. Unfortunately over the years it suffered from a series of savage floods, fires and cyclones, which have decimated the buildings and reduced them to a collection of scenic follies.
We enjoyed a night tour with all the buildings dramatically backlight, which made an eerie sight. The next morning Peter got up early and took some photos in the morning light and then we went on a tour that explained the background to the Park. We were amazed at the vision, drive and passion of one man who turned his dream into such an incredible fantasy.
While still very beautiful, we would have loved to have seen it in its heyday, with people enjoying balls, theatre, lawn tennis, rowing and afternoon teas by the lake. We also enjoyed the variety and profusion of tropical plants, both introduced and native. We had an entertaining time here and the staff were infectious in their enthusiasm and the attention they paid to us.


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