Karawatha Forest Park
Karawatha Forest Park located 18 kilometres south of Brisbane's CBD adjoining Compton Road at Karawatha and Kuraby. The forest is approximately 900 hectares in size and is one of the largest areas of remnant bushland within the city.
Karawatha Forest Park and an adjoining corridor of Brisbane City Council managed bushland to the west form part of the largest remaining continuous stretch of open eucalypt bushland in South East Queensland known as the Flinders Karawatha Corridor. This corridor extends from the south west of Karawatha Forest to Flinders Peak in Ipswich and beyond. The corridor is 56,350 hectares in size and 60 kilometres long.
One of the most successful wildlife movement solutions in Brisbane is the land-bridge linking Karawatha Forest on the southern side of Compton Road to bushland on the northern side of Compton Road.
Visitors to the reserve can check out the new Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre and enjoy picnics, bushwalks and nature study. There are two picnic areas within the forest which are open from approximately 6am to 6pm:
- Illaweena Street picnic area - access from Illaweena Street, Drewvale
- Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre picnic area (Acacia Road picnic area) - access from Acacia Road, Karawatha (toilet facilities available).
Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre
The new Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre is now complete and is Council's third Environment Centre in Brisbane, the only one on the south side.
Enjoy the centre's interactive self-guided experiences and make use of the centre’s meeting rooms, picnic facilities, walking trails, and Queensland’s first nature play space.
Things to do
- enjoy a picnic or barbecue at the picnic areas
- walk along the bush trails featured in the track maps
- visit the Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre
- play at Queensland's first nature play space
- try birdwatching
- take a walk on a hot summer evening after rain and listen for frogs.
Illaweena Picnic Area
This is a quiet, tranquil spot to enjoy a meal beside the Illaweena Lagoon. A bridge and a trail leave from opposite ends of the picnic area leading you to the network of trails.
The shelters, tables and barbeques of this picnic area surround a large, open, green space and are located beside a nature play space for families and the new discovery centre. There are also toilet facilities in this complex. You can enjoy the eucalypt forests and use this area to access the walking tracks.
Amble up the sandstone ridges through open woodlands to Poet’s Rock, a scenic outlook over the forest, and take in the view. Scrubby Creek rises in Karawatha’s sandstone ridges and flows east into a string of lush lily-filled lagoons. Sedges, rushes and melaleucas line the lagoons, which fill after heavy rain.
A small wallum heath that is seasonally inundated. This area contains the greatest diversity of plants recorded in the forest.
Read information about walks along the Karawatha Forest Park tracks or download the track map.
The size of Karawatha Forest Park, and the variety of habitats it contains makes it a very important refuge for a diversity of wildlife, including a number of threatened or endangered species such as the greater glider, squirrel glider and rare frogs. The forest also supports rednecked wallabies, swamp wallabies and eastern grey kangaroos. Hollows in older eucalypts are nesting places for gliders, possums, bats, parrots and owls. The birdlife is the most visible in the forest – over 100 bird species have been found.
Karawatha Forest contains mainly open eucalypt forest with areas of heath, wetland and woodlands. Over 320 native plant species have been identified in Karawatha. Karawatha 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. This habitat is an important refuge for over 200 species of wildlife including the highest diversity of frog species in Brisbane and a number of rare and threatened species.
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).
View the Karawatha Forest photo gallery as a slideshow, or view the photos individually as part of Council's Flickr account.
Karawatha Forest Park was protected by land purchases through the Bushland Preservation Levy and is one of Brisbane’s major natural areas. 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.
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 were laid down in the Triassic-Jurassic age when dinosaurs, not wallabies, grazed here.