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Our drive from Port Macquarie to Point Plomer began at the Point Settlement Punt.
The punt runs frequently. A small charge is incurred for vehicles using the service.

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Here we see half the team pondering the short punt trip across the Hastings River.

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Port Macquarie from the northern breakwater.

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Unexpected happenings are a part of the adventure when you're off the beaten
track. There could be native animals, livestock, stranded vehicles or one
of many other obstacles. On this occasion it was a fallen tree branch.

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These 'dips' fill quickly during heavy rain and there are lots of these dips.

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Even the sandy sections are easy work for the Range Rover Sport.
Ideal conditions existed for our journey - a scenic environment,
a great car, dry weather and an experienced team.

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A permit is required to drive onto the beach. Such permit must be displayed
as indicated. No services are provided by council to beach permit holders.
Permits are readily available at several locations in Port Macquarie.
Check on the local council web site www.pmhc.nsw.gov.au for further details.

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It may even be possible to find a deserted stretch of beach!

Great Drives:   Point Plomer Road

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by Stephen Walker

23rd March, 2015

Hugging the coastline north of Port Macquarie NSW is a little used track leading to Point Plomer.

The unsealed narrow road is not a dedicated public road and it is not maintained.

The local council indicate that the road is in poor condition. The council is correct!

For our drive, we drove a Range Rover Sport which the team was reviewing on a long distance road test that commenced in Sydney travelling up north to Port Macquarie and back to Sydney.

Suitable for 4x4s only, Point Plomer Road is a relatively easy drive for a moderately experienced '4-wheel driver'. There are numerous sandy sections which may challenge inexperienced drivers. Following heavy rains the track quickly fills up with too many mini-reservoirs to count. Inexperienced 4-wheelers should not go near the place after heavy rains. Experienced 4-wheelers should use extreme caution following heavy rain exercising the typical precautions in this type of environment. You're on your own out there, even though you're only minutes out of the north side of Port Macquarie.

We had no telephone reception along the Point Plomer Road but service is available if you have to walk back to town!

The beauty of the track is the numerous opportunities of pulling off the track and walking to the unblemished sands of the beach between the Hastings River in the south and Point Plomer in the north.

The road itself is an interesting mix of hard surfaces and soft sand in places. The conditions were dry during our visit.

About the road

Point Plomer Road is unsealed and it is not maintained between North Shore (Port Macquarie) and Point Plomer. This road is approximately 12 kilometres long. In dry weather conditions it shouldn't be hard on your 4-wheel drive vehicle. It is an appropriate learning ground for inexperienced licenced drivers who have an experienced 4-wheeler on board and an appropriate recovery plan should you get bogged in the many sandy spots.

As with all public facilities, the use of motor vehicles requires the appropriate registration and roadworthiness requirements on the Point Plomer Road as it quite rightly does elsewhere.

What about services along the road? There are none!

Once you arrive at Point Plomer there is a caravan park and from there northward the road is maintained by the local council. the road then continues onto Crescent Head.

Motor homes and caravans

During the Next Car excursion, there was no problems with overhanging tree canopies that may restrict a 4x4 motor home from traversing the road.

Caravans being towed by a 4x4 would require off-road type ground clearance to be taken along this road. There are not many potential turning spots for caravanners along the Point Plomer Road and two spots that we did notice have low tree branches.

Like everyone, recreational vehicle users should expect the unexpected on this type of road - especially during or soon after heavy rains.

On the beach

The local council sells beach driving permits, currently priced at $28 per annum. Such permit will permit the vehicle to be driven on certain beaches in the area if the permit is displayed appropriately.

Further details are on the council web site: Forms-Permits/Community-Land-Use/Parks-Reserves-Beaches.

The beaches off Point Plomer Road are not patrolled. Hence, the typical precautions are required if you consider entering the water.

Domestic animals

National Park rules apply to some of the area along Point Plomer Road. As such, domestic animals are not permitted in the Limeburners Creek National Park.

About the punt

The Settlement Point Punt operates 24 hours per day every day of the year, other than a spell for its scheduled monthly maintenance. Occasionally, other factors may interrupt services for limited times of course.

It is a short crossing and the punt operates on a continuous basis rather than a timetable. It's an excellent service, in my opinion.

One vehicle trip currently costs $3.30 each way, it is the same charge for a trailer or caravan. Trucks and motor homes over 2 tonne GVM cost $6.30 each way. There is no charge for pedestrians. The fee is paid as you board the vessel.

Check the punt charges and times on the council web site: Waterways/Ferries.

The Next Car team commend the efficient and friendly crew who operate the vessel.

Before and after Point Plomer Road

Travelling from the south to the north, we had a drive on the northern break wall of the Hastings River - as you would if you were a typical tourist. It's a nice scenic spot to commence the drive north to Point Plomer.

In the north, we concluded our trip with a late lunch at Crescent Head. Following our meal we returned to 'Port' (as it is known by the locals) via a recently opened sectioned of the Pacific Highway which by-passes Frederickton - an excellent piece of toll-free highway.

For those staying in the Port Macquarie area I recommend taking a picnic lunch to Point Plomer and then return to 'Port' via the 'road' for a second go on this this great drive.

About the Range Rover Sport

The admirable qualities of the Range Rover Sport are always easy to accept. On a drive such as Point Plomer Road, the suite of advanced technology that is a standard component of the Range Rover Sport isn't even required. This particular road isn't too difficult to manage, hence it is a breeze for the superior qualities on offer with the Range Rover.

Even in rough spots, the Range Rover makes the kidney shake, rattle and roll a pleasure!

Conclusion

This short adventure on a rough road is an easily managed drive for a moderately experienced 4x4 driver. It is also a suitable road for an inexperienced driver to upgrade their skill level - providing due diligence is exercised.

If you enjoy being close to nature that isn't far from town then the Point Plomer Road is just for you. There isn't much traffic on this road so remember the usual personal qualities - offer assistance when necessary and accept assistance if required. Enjoy the beauty of the area and leave it as you found it please.

Happy motoring!


E&OE.


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