8 rea­sons to visit Cairns

The city’s best attractions re­vealed

Paradise - - Contents -

Wedged be­tween the Great Di­vid­ing Range, World Her­itage wet trop­ics rain­for­est and the Coral Sea, Cairns is no shrink­ing vi­o­let when it comes to nat­u­ral beauty. While the Great Bar­rier Reef needs lit­tle in­tro­duc­tion, north Queens­land’s trop­i­cal city is the cen­tral hub in a many-spoked wheel. Here are some of our top rea­sons to visit Cairns.

1 PARONELLA PARK

Un­cover a ro­man­tic tale be­tween Span­ish cane farmer Jose Paronella’s and his beloved wife Mar­garita at Paronella Park, south of Cairns. Af­ter pur­chas­ing vir­gin scrub in the 1920s, Jose cre­ated a pleasure gar­den for Mar­garita, later ex­pand­ing it and open­ing the five-hectare park to the pub­lic. Pow­ered by an in­no­va­tive hy­dro­elec­tric sys­tem pump­ing wa­ter from Mena Creek, Paronella has won nu­mer­ous awards. Ris­ing from the for­est, stair­ways and paths glide past elab­o­rately con­structed walls lead­ing to a Span­ish-style cas­tle. Draped in lichen and moss, struc­tures are shaded by a mag­nif­i­cent stand of kauri trees planted by Jose al­most 100 years ago. Stay for lunch at the cafe or overnight in a small cabin.

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