Cathu State Forest
Facilities and activities
Along the rugged Clarke Range behind the Whitsunday coast is Cathu State Forest. Forests and woodlands range from distinctive poplar gum Eucalyptus alba woodlands and exotic Caribbean pine plantations on the creek flats to dense rainforest, hoop pine plantations and tall wet eucalypt forest along the range. The rainforests were selectively logged during the 1960s and 70s.
Following Tropical Cyclone Ului in March 2010, HQPlantations have undertaken extensive harvesting operations to recover the Carribbean pine devastated by this cyclonic event.
Cathu is west of the Bruce Highway, 72km or one hour north of Mackay or 51km south of Proserpine. Jaxut camping area is 12km off the highway. The access road is rough and unsuitable for caravans but conventional vehicle access is possible in dry weather conditions. High fire danger and wet weather can close the roads.
Registered vehicles, including motorcycles, trail bikes and bicycles may be driven or ridden on roads in this forest. A special permit is not required unless it is a commercial activity, an organised event activity or a competitive event. The road to Clarke Range Lookout is 4WD access only.
Conditionally registered vehicles are not permitted. The driver must hold a valid licence to operate the vehicle.
Visitor facilities update after tropical cyclone Debbie
Tropical cyclone Debbie has damaged natural areas and some facilities within this state forest. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is working to open visitor facilities as quickly as possible. Check for current status of facilities before your visit.
This is a quiet retreat for people who like to relax and enjoy the bush. Go wildlife watching. See Ulysses butterflies, whiptail and agile wallabies and northern quolls. Take your binoculars and go birdwatching. More than 100 species of birds have been seen in the forest.
Picnic or camp beside Pandanus Creek at Jaxut camping area.
Go for a scenic drive beyond the camping area. Enjoy spectacular views over the beautiful Whitsunday coast from the Clarke Range Lookout, 7km from the camping area. From Windy Point, you can see Eungella National Park to the south. Mountain bike riding and horse riding is allowed in the forest.
Saddle-up and explore Cathu State Forest on horseback. Horse riding is permitted on open roads and tracks in these state forests.
Please remember to ride safely and minimise your impact on these special natural areas. Take note of weather conditions before you set out and avoid traversing over wet or muddy soil to reduce the spread of weed seeds.