Cattana Wetlands

Cattana Wetlands started out as a sugar cane farm and sand mining quarry and has since been rehabilitated to form an enjoyable 80ha nature conservation park with a 420m boardwalk through feather palm forest, freshwater and salt water lakes and abundant plant and birdlife.

Opening hours: 5.30am-7pm daily

Facilities: bbqs, picnic areas, toilets, bird hides, boardwalk

Location: Dunne Road, Smithfield, about 20km from the Cairns CBD. Access from Yorkeys Knob Road or McGregor Road

Prohibited: dogs are not allowed


Originally a sugarcane farm owned by Franco Cattana, the site was used as a sand mining quarry resulting in several fresh and saltwater man-made lakes.

The land was purchased by the then Mulgrave Shire Council in 1993, primarily to protect the 30 hectares of lowland rainforest on the western end of the site. This forest, described as the Feather Palm Forest, is a remnant of a once extensive forest type that is now confined to only a few remnant patches in the Cairns region.

Council has planted over 70,000 native plants and undertaken extensive weed removal enabling existing water bird populations to flourish.

As part of the 150th anniversary of Queensland celebrations, Council and the Queensland State Government each committed $1.5 million to the rehabilitation of the site. The works program included the construction of boardwalks, walking tracks, bird hides and viewing platforms, picnic areas, interpretative signs, car park, access road and toilet facilities.

In addition to the amazing wetland habitat, Cattana Wetlands also harbours an impressive range of north Queensland wildlife and significant plant communities. For more information about what you may find at the wetlands, refer to the related links and documents area.


Cattana Wetlands Jabirus meet at Cattana each Tuesday from 9am until noon and are involved in general maintenance of the wetlands such as weeding, planting and revegetation.

If you are interested in joining our dedicated band of volunteers, please contact the Botanic Gardens Volunteer & Public Relations Officer on 4032 6648 or 0429 983 252.


Council approved a range of improvement to Cattana Wetland in 2017. Improvements proposed include new walking trails, new viewing areas, new wetlands and improved signage. Work for this project will be ongoing with the main improvements occurring in 2018/2019.

For download

Last updated: 10 January 2018