Karawatha Forest Park - Karawatha

Karawatha Forest Park is 18 kilometres south of Brisbane's Central Business District (CBD), adjoining Compton Road at Karawatha and Kuraby. It is one of Brisbane City Council's largest bushland reserves, covering an area of approximately 900 hectares.

Visitors can enjoy birdwatching, bushwalking, off-road cycling tracks and using the picnic and barbecue facilities. You can also visit the Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre and nature playground.

Council will be undertaking restoration works the Dianella Track. These works are anticipated to commence early December 2023, with an estimated completion of early to mid-January 2024 (weather permitting).

Check track closed signage and use alternate trails while works are underway.

Plan your visit

Karawatha Forest track map

Karawatha Forest Park offers over 42 kilometres of walking and shared use tracks. Off-road cycling is now allowed on specific shared use tracks within the reserve. Cycling is not permitted on walking tracks. Use the track map and signage to check permitted activities on each track and trail.

To view the track types, locations, grading and length, download the:

Popular tracks

Banksia Track - 2 kilometres

True to its name, this track features a variety of banksia species. Visit in autum when the banksias are in bloom. The track begins in Frog Hollow where wet heath provides rich habitat for 25 species of frog that call Karawatha Forest home, then climbs through eucalypt forest to the crest of the hill and the sandstone boulders of Poet's Rock.

Curtisii Trail - 1.7 kilometres

This trail leads to the highest point in Karawatha Forest with spectacular views of the surrounding area. Visitors should exercise caution at the top of the track as there are unfenced cliff edges.

Echidna Track - 1.2 kilometres

This track winds through eucalypt forest littered with grass trees, descending to a footbridge across a creek and climbing again to meet the Entolasia Trail or Rocks Track. This part of the forest is home to powerful owls. You may even be lucky enough to spot an echidna!

Ironbark Circuit - 1.2 kilometres

This short circuit gives visitors an overview of the plants contained in the forest including she-oaks, ironbark-dominated eucalypt forest and fern-lined dry gullies. Look for kingfishers in the arboreal termite nests.

Melaleuca Circuit - 1 kilometre

Located on the northern end of Scrubby Creek, this track lends itself to exploring a variety of habitats including freshwater lagoons and eucalypt forests with large scribbly gums along the lagoon edge. This is a great track for birdwatching.

Rocks Track - 2.5 kilometres return

This track showcases the diversity of plants found within the forest. Sandstone ridges with woodland vegetation turn to tall open forest with a heath understorey. Small she-oak thickets on the slopes of the creeks become seasonal restaurants for glossy black-cockatoos. Scribbly gum trees dominate the forest with their unusual squiggles and ghostly white trunks.

Wallum Track - 2 kilometres

This track passes through the heart of Karawatha Forest and leads to the Frog Hollow boardwalk - the home of the green-thighed frog and wallum froglet. Explore the sub-coastal wet heath while admiring the paperbarks and broad-leaved banksia that are distinctive in wet heath areas. After rain, listen to the different calls of the 25 frog species found in the forest.

Wild May Trail - 1.2 kilometres one way

Leaving from the Illaweena Street picnic area, this trail winds along paperbark-lined lagoons. The trail is named after a beautiful shrub called 'wild may' (Leptospermum polygalifolium) commonly found in this area of Scrubby Creek.

Tip - Combine this track with the Hakea, Melaleuca and Casuarina Trails to create a circuit to Illaweena Street picnic area.

 

Special features

Frog Hollow wet heathland area

This area is a small heathland that is seasonally flooded. This area contains the greatest diversity of plants and frog species in Brisbane.

Picnic areas

There are two picnic areas in the forest which open from approximately 6am to 6pm:

  • Illaweena Street picnic area, Drewvale
    A quiet spot to enjoy a meal beside the Illaweena Lagoon. A bridge and a trail leave from opposite ends of the picnic area leading to the network of tracks
     
  • Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre picnic area, Acacia Road
    A large, open, area located beside the nature play space and discovery centre with barbecues, shelters, tables and toilet facilities. Enjoy the eucalypt forests and use this area to access the forest tracks. Note: cyclists must dismount and walk their bikes through the picnic area.

Poet’s Rock

Poet’s Rock has a scenic outlook over the forest. Scrubby Creek rises in Karawatha’s sandstone ridges and flows into lush lily-filled lagoons. Sedges, rushes and melaleucas line the lagoons, which fill after heavy rain.

Forest safety and responsible park use

Before visiting this reserve, read our safety tips below.

Learn more about caring for our bushland reserves through responsible park use. Council compliance officers undertaken regular patrols of bushland reserves to improve safety for visitors and ensure native plans, wildlife and habitat are protected.

General safety

  • Enjoy the forest with a friend. Don't go alone.
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen and carry water.
  • Wear comfortable footwear when bushwalking.
  • Make sure you let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Exercise caution on the tracks. Some tracks cross creek lines and are unsafe to cross when flooded after heavy rain.
  • Take a track map or use your mobile phone to download a map.
  • Carry a mobile phone. In an emergency dial '000' or '112' or text '106' if you have a Teletyper device. Full mobile coverage may not be present in all areas.

Off-road cycling safety and courtesy

  • Follow the track map and signage.
  • Don't go off-track or ride on walking trails.
  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Give way to pedestrians.
  • Slow down for corners.
  • Keep left and let others know you are passing.
  • Control your speed and avoid skidding.

Getting there

To get to Karawatha Park Reserve:

  • by car, access the Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre and picnic area at 149 Acacia Road, Karawatha.
  • on foot, enter from surrrounding streets. Refer to the track map.
  • by public transport, catch the train to Trinder Park station. Visit the Translink website or phone 13 12 30 for more information.
  • by bike, use Cycling Brisbane's interactive bikeway map to plan your trip.

Flora and fauna

Karawatha Forest Park and and other bushland reserves to the west, form part of the largest remaining stretch of open eucalypt bushland in South East Queensland. The area is known as the Flinders Karawatha Corridor which extends from south-west of Karawatha Forest to Flinders Peak in Ipswich and covers 56,350 hectares.

Due to the size of Karawatha Forest Park and the diversity of habitats it contains the reserve is an important refuge for over 200 species of wildlife. This includes a number of rare and threatened species such the tusked frog, wallum froglet, glossy black-cockatoo, powerful owl and the endangered koala and greater glider.

As well as having the highest diversity of frog species in Brisbane, the reserve is home to wallabies and kangaroos. Hollows in older eucalypt trees are habitat and nesting places for a large number of species including gliders, possums, bats, parrots and owls. The reserve has nearly 120 bird species, making it a great place to go birdwatching.

The Compton Road land bridge connects Karawatha Forest and Kuraby Bushland, allowing wildlife to move safely between these reserves. The land bridge is an example of a wildlife movement solution that helps keep native animals safe from busy roads.

 There are over 320 native plant species in Karawatha. The area contains a variety of habitats from freshwater lagoons and sandstone ridges to dry eucalypt forests and wetlands. It also contains some of the last remaining wet heathlands and melaleuca wetlands in Brisbane. Bailey’s stringybark and Planchon’s stringybark, which are uncommon in Brisbane, grow on the sandstone outcrops. Look for the flush of wildflowers in spring.

The primary weeds in Karawatha Forest are groundsel bush (Baccharis halimifolia), Easter cassia (Senna pendula) and ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia).

History

Karawatha Forest was protected through Council's Bushland Acquisition Program and is one of Brisbane's largest and most significant bushland reserves. Council has also acquired land to the south and west of Karawatha Forest, ensuring that vital bushland links with Greenbank are maintained to preserve our significant flora and fauna for the long term.

The forest’s infertile soils and sandstone ridges were formed by continual cycles of mountain building and erosion over many millions of years. Some of the sandstone outcrops are from the Triassic-Jurassic age when dinosaurs, not wallabies, grazed here.

Last updated: 20 November 2023
Topics: karawatha

Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.