We decided to do something a little different and visited Paronella Park. It’s a heritage listed visitor attraction and with your entry price there is free camping! What a great concept!
We arrived at 10am and were met by Hannah who immediately welcomed us and went straight onto our pitch for the night, nestled within the rain forrest. There is a toilet and shower block, water and power for the 20 sites located at the back of the park, as well as additional camping on the front lawn which is unpowered.
You are only a few 100m from the entrance to the park and so once you have your wrist band on, you can come and go as you please.
There are three tours to do here which all tell the story of Jose a pastry chef who came to Australia from Spain and his dream of building a castle. The tours were fantastic as the guides here are so passionate about Paronella and bring it to life. Devin was our tour guide and he was excellent, as I walked around I had so many images of what this place must have been like in the 30s and 40s through his descriptions of each building.
The rainforest setting is stunning, we loved the dramatic row of Eastern Kauris trees, the bamboo trail and all the little paths and bridges. There are hundreds of fish in the pools as well as eels and turtles and you can feed them with the little tub of fish food you get given.
We also went on the hydro tour, which I will be honest is more Richards thing, but I loved heading down all the steps for views over the waterfall and Rich loved the history and technology.
While we were waiting for the hydro tour we had lunch in the cafe which was excellent, the savory scones were divine.
But the highlight for me was night tour at 8pm, where armed with torches Hannah took us on a journey through the park, telling us stories and accounts of Paronella. The waterfalls and castle lit up are just stunning.
We had dinner in the pub across the road first which was excellent! You cross the suspension bridge to get there! As it was a lovely warm evening we sat out on the deck.
We would definitley recommend this to anyone traveling in QLD, it’s located 120km south of Cairns so a stay is well worth it.