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Published: September 11th 2009
We are enjoying Cairns, after arriving here yesterday afternoon. We called into Paronella Park once we'd left Mission Beach. http://www.paronellapark.com.au/
A Spanish immigrant, Jose Paronella, who made money first by working on sugar cane farms, then buying and selling farms, had the dream of building a castle. He bought an acreage containing the Mena Falls, in the 1930's, built a home for his family and then got to work building his 'castle'. He was a clever man and a good worker, first building a very very long flight of stairs up the hill so he could carry his building materials up to the site. In his castle he held movies, balls in the ballroom, tennis on the tennis courts - he was quite the entepreneur. He was clever enough to use the Falls for hydro electricity and planted many tropical trees and plants in the grounds.
Fire and cyclones have all but destroyed the castle but we toured around the grounds and the ruins of the castle, imagining life in those days and the bright young things and the servicemen fighting in the war in the Pacific enjoying the dancing under the big mirrored ball that hung in the
We are at a great caravan park just south of Cairns. We were taken via golf cart (complete with big green plastic frog on the roof) around and shown all the facilities - a couple of swimming pools, tennis, open air theatre, bistro, jumping pillow (yeay!) snorkeling lessons, aqua aerobics in the pool, the list goes on. However, we have been busy being tourists and haven't used the facilities.
Today we joined a tour and caught the old train once more to Kuranda. This is something of an engineering feat - built in the gold rush in the 1880's, it climbs up, tunnels through and bridges across the very tall rainforesty mountains up to the town of Kuranda. We had lunch in town and had a look at the very touristy shops, then once more caught the sky rail back across and down the mountains, great views down to the rainforest floor and looking over canefields and Cairns to the ocean.
We spent the afternoon in Cairns - I love the tropical plants in the streets and the big Esplanade pool there. It is very popular, bodies and swimmers everywhere - the temperature was 32C so
a lot cooling off. I was wishing I had my cossie. Tomorrow we head north to lovely Port Douglas for some more of the good life.
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