Cathu State Forest Mackay | Whitsundays

Photo credit: HD -Xposure © Queensland Government

Visiting Cathu safely

    Getting there and getting around

    Cathu State Forest is 4km west of the Bruce Highway via the Cathu Oconnell River Road and Cathu Forest Road; 72km or one hour north of Mackay or 51km south of Proserpine. Roads in the State forest are rough and unsealed, access maybe difficult for caravans. The road to Cathu is only suitable for 4WD vehicles.

    HQPlantations conduct harvesting operations in the State forest, drive with caution as logging trucks share the public access road.

    Contact the Department of Transport and Main Roads to find out about road conditions and the Bureau of Meteorology for weather reports and forecasts.

    Wheelchair accessibility

    There are no wheelchair-accessible tracks or facilities in Cathu State Forest.

    Staying safe

    • Avoid recreating during weather extremes. Explore the forest in the cooler times of the day to avoid heat exhaustion. Remember tracks can be slippery, especially after tropical rain.
    • Notify someone of your plans and advise them of your safe return.
    • Take plenty of drinking water, food and wear suitable clothing. Carry a first-aid kit and know how to use it.
    • Bring at least one form of communication equipment. Satellite phones and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) are effective in this area. Do not rely on your mobile phone, coverage is limited.
    • Take heed of safety advice. Signs warn of potential dangers and are there for your safety.
    • Snakes, spiders, stinging plants and insects are common, so know how to respond. Remember, all wildlife in the State forest is protected.
    • Other vehicles — including logging trucks, use the road. Take care and respect other forest users.
    • Observe and comply with all regulatory and closure signs.

    For more information, please read the guidelines stay safe and visit with care in parks and forests.

    In an emergency

    For all emergencies call Triple Zero (000).

    We recommend you visit the Triple Zero website before visiting the national park. You can also download the free emergency+ app before you leave home, the GPS functionality can provide critical location details to emergency services.

    Before you visit

    Essentials to bring

    • Bring a camera and binoculars for wildlife viewing.
    • Pack a first-aid kit, communication equipment, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellent.
    • Adequate drinking water for your visit.
    • Sturdy rubbish bags.
    • Bring clean-milled firewood such as untreated mill off-cuts. Fuel stoves are recommended.

    Opening hours

    Cathu State Forest is open 24 hours a day, all year round. The forest may be closed at times during high fire danger, extreme weather conditions or for management activities. Check park alerts for information on park and forest conditions, access and closures. Check HQPlantation Plantation Closures for public access information.

    Permits and fees

    Camping permits are required and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your campsite.

    Permits are required for scientific research, commercial or organised group activities. Contact us for further information.


    Domestic animals are prohibited in Jaxut camping and picnic area. However, domestic dogs are allowed on the public access road during the day and must be kept on a leash and under control at all times.

    Climate and weather

    Cathu State Forest has a mild subtropical climate. Summer temperatures can be very hot and humid. It is best to visit during the cooler months of April through to September.

    Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

    Fuel and supplies

    The nearest fuel and supplies are at Mackay, Proserpine or Bloomsbury.