Just 30 minutes north of the Gold Coast lies Brisbane City Council’s Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre, and Queensland’s first nature play space for kids!
The Karawatha Forest is home to a number of rare animals such as the squirrel glider, greater glider and green-thighed frog, making it a pretty special place in south-east Queensland and it’s great to see such awesome facilities to encourage visitors to the forest.
The Karawatha Forest Park can be accessed from Acacia Road, Karawatha and is made up of the Discovery Centre, picnic lawns, nature play area and walking tracks – making it perfect for a short visit or a day trip! The Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre is architecturaly designed and sits at the top of the picnic lawn, looking out over all the park facilities and making it a great starting point for your visit. Wide concrete paths and wooden bridges wind their way through the park area, making it easily accessible for prams and wheelchairs.
When you arrive at the Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre, you’re greeted by a ‘rainforest’ entrance and an interactive floor projection of a frog habitat. Kids are immediately drawn in, trying to catch the frogs as they jump about the ‘river’ and the ‘rocks, all projected across the open floor space. The Discovery Centre works as an interactive self-guided experience, and it makes learning about the forest and all the animals that live there fun and engaging.
You can take in the forest from a birds eye view with a virtual reality experience, or check out what happens at night in the forest in the night-time audio visual experience room that includes an evening storm, clearing to a starlit sky, and feels realistic with vents blowing air to mimic the wind in the trees. Kids can hang out for ages at the Discovery Centre, with native Australian animal soft toys, reading books, bean bags, craft and activity table and a computer pod. All the exhibits are low to the ground and most have an interactive element, inviting young and old to get up close to nature.
Once you’re finished at the Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre, head outside to experience Queensland’s first nature play space which includes water play, climbing features, discovery trails and sculptural artworks. The nature play area starts with a water pump that flows down a sandy stream scattered with bronze animal sculptures. It then meets up with a bridge that you can take over to the climbing section, or jump across the wood stumps and check out the wooden tepee cubbies that have been built!
With no swings, slides or brightly coloured play equipment, the nature play area encourages imaginative play and allows children to fully experience nature – build a cubby, play in the sand and water, climb the trees and search for hidden sculptures of animals, bugs and insects across the play area.
For those looking to extend their stay at Karawatha Forest Park, there are 8 walking tracks ranging from 1km to 2.5km in length, all with an easy grade except for the Rocks Circuit which contains stairs. Free electric barbeques and sheltered picnic tables are located around the park, making it a perfect spot for lunch or a party.
Need to know:
- Address: 149 Acacia Road, Karawatha
- Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 4pm
- Cost: Free
- Toilets, including family change room, are available
- Pram and wheelchair accessible
- More information here