While the most iconic castles in the world mostly reside in Europe, Australia isn’t totally devoid of drawbridges and baroque towers. Here are seven stunning castles you can visit right here at home.
Bishops Palace, Ballarat, Victoria
Ballarat is a city built on gold. The wealth of the gold rush era is still evident today in the grand buildings and wide tree-lined streetscapes, and Bishops Palace is one of the most opulent dwellings of this era.
Built in 1877, but recently renovated, this stunning palace offers everything from a grand library to an eight-person deluxe spa bath.
This grand residence is of architectural, aesthetic and historical significance to Victoria.
It retains many of its original features, including lead stencilled paintwork, cornices, ceiling roses, fixtures and fittings. The four acres of impressive heritage-listed gardens are a must-see.
Thorngrove Castle, Stirling, South Australia
This magnificent residence is officially known as Thorngrove Manor Hotel, but I think it looks like a castle fit for a Disney princess.
Located just 20 minutes from Adelaide CBD, this romantic hotel will transport you to a world of decadence. The architecture is similar to what you will see in central Europe and the surrounding greenery is simply stunning.
A stay here will allow you to indulge in a romantic picnic for two in the Thorngrove garden, while listening to classical music courtesy of a string quartet. Or partake in an afternoon tea packed with fluffy scones with cream and jam, delicious sandwiches and a glass of bubbly.
Paronella Park, Mena Creek, Queensland
In the early 1900s, former pastry chef José Paronella set sail for Australia after seeing an advertisement for cane work.
His dream was to build a castle. He chose a special part of Australia in Far North Queensland and created Paronella Park on five hectares of land beside Mena Creek Falls. The castle opened to the public in 1935 and now amenities include a delightful picnic area next to the falls, tennis courts, bridges and a tunnel all enveloped in an amazing range of 7500 tropical plants and trees.
Iandra Castle, Greenethorpe, New South Wales
This heritage-listed masterpiece is a unique part of Australia’s history.
At one time the property was home to more than 19,000 sheep and in one year produced more than 10,000 tonnes of wheat with the assistance of up to 600 men, nine steam chaff-cutting plants, 23 carting teams and about 700 horses permanently kept on the property.
In the 1950s, it was sold to the Methodist Church and used as a home for delinquent boys.
Now, Iandra Castle opens its doors to the public a number of times a year. Visitors can explore the homestead, surrounding buildings and gardens to get a slice of history.
Amigo’s Castle, Lightning Ridge, New South Wales
In outback NSW, a peculiar stone fortress known as Amigo’s Castle stands tall. Although incomplete, the 15-metre-high structure stands proudly in the dusty outback.
This magnificent castle is based on Italian ruins and was built on a mining lease by Vittorio Stefanato, known locally as Amigo. He was disenchanted with opal mining so decided to build his own castle from ironstone boulders he collected in the area.
The castle became the subject of a legal battle as it was technically being built illegally. Amigo threatened to bulldoze the castle and it was hastily heritage listed to secure it as the tourist attraction it is today.
All Saints Estate, Wahgunyah, Victoria
All Saints Estate Winery is a family owned wine company originally built in 1864 by Scotsmen George Sutherland Smith and John Banks. Not only does the cellar door present a large range of award-winning wines, but the grounds feature an impressive heritage-listed castle. The building was based on one of the Queen’s castles – the Castle of Mey – and sits at the heart of the vineyards.
Kryal Castle, Leigh Creek, Victoria
Kryal Castle is a little different to the others on this list. It’s Australia’s only medieval adventure park allowing you the opportunity to step back in time and experience more than 1000 years of medieval history. A whole land of myths, legends and medieval adventure lies within the castle walls.
A visit here will introduce you to a world of knights, wizards, princesses, jousting events, medieval murder mystery dinners, knight school workshops and more.
Have you visited any of these beautiful Australian castles? Which is next on your travel list? Let us know in the comments section below.