Karawatha Forest Park | Brisbane City Council

Karawatha Forest Park

Karawatha Forest Park is 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.

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 Karawatha Forest Park can enjoy birdwatching, bushwalking and using the picnic and barbecue facilities. You can also visit the Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre and nature playground.

Walking track information and track map

Karawatha Forest Park has a range of walking tracks and trails. Download the Karawatha Forest Park track map (PDF - 1.49Mb) to see a map of the wetlands, track locations, grading and length of the tracks.

Alternatively, you can download the accessible version of the Karawatha Forest Park track information (Word - 94kb).

Special features

Picnic areas

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) 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.
  • Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre/Acacia Road picnic area (access from Acacia Road) has picnic shelters, tables and barbeques in 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.

Poet’s Rock

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.

Frog Hollow wet heathland area

This is a small wallum heath that is seasonally inundated. This area contains the greatest diversity of plants recorded in the forest.

Flora and Fauna

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.

Due to the large size of Karawatha Forest Park, and the variety of habitats it contains, this forest is a very important refuge for over 200 species of wildlife, including a number of threatened or endangered species such as the greater glider, squirrel glider and rare frogs. Karawatha has the highest diversity of frog species in Brisbane and a number of rare and threatened species.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. 

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).

Karawatha Forest video

You can view a video that shows Karawatha's beautiful forest, its history and the continual work to improve and preserve this natural area. 

Photo gallery

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.

27 November 2017