Point Plomer Precinct Revitalisation

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service plans to revitalise the Point Plomer Precinct in Limeburners Creek National Park.

This project aims to preserve the low-key coastal camping experience the site is known for whilst protecting the site from further degradation.

Point Plomer is a much-loved place for campers and day visitors in Limeburners Creek National Park on the Macleay Coast. The laid-back beach camp culture is one of the most attractive aspects of this park and is something we want to maintain. A family-friendly beach, excellent surf break, and great fishing are all reasons we see visitors return time and time again.

Limeburners Creek National Park also has significant cultural heritage values and is an important place for connection to Country for both Birpai and Dunghutti Aboriginal peoples.

What has prompted this project?

Visitation to Point Plomer is growing each year. On average visitation is growing 5-10% year on year, with 2020 alone seeing a jump of 20%. Additionally, the Hastings Macleay strip of coast has the highest search rate in the state for campgrounds on the National Parks and Wildlife Service website. Factors leading to this sustained growth in visitation are a domestic tourism boom, rapid population growth in Port Macquarie, hardening of access roads and tourism marketing of the area.

We have witnessed increasing visitation place pressure on the carrying capacity of Point Plomer and a subsequent deterioration in the condition of the campground. We seek to ensure the experience continues to be positive for visitors into the future. Rather than encouraging an increase in visitation and use, the proposed improvements are required to create a sustainable and quality visitor experience. The low-key visitor facilities will remain, and careful planning is required to address overcrowding issues and maintain the laid-back rustic style.

This concept plan has been developed with landscape architects, and we will build on these plans based on feedback from the community. Please read the following planning considerations in combination with the concept plan.

The draft Point Plomer precinct revitalisation plan was on exhibition from 10 December 2021 to 20 February 2022. Public consultation for the draft plan has closed.

Planning considerations

We want to preserve the unique feel of the campground whilst making it more sustainable into the future. Ongoing issues for the precinct include:

  • overcrowding
  • sewage system capacity
  • drainage
  • uneven sites
  • competition for space between day users and campers
  • lack of carparking
  • dust and safety issues associated with existing road entrance.

The precinct plan has been developed with the following objectives and to cater for the challenges of now and for the next 20 years:

  • preserve the laid-back low-key coastal camping experience and visual amenity
  • improved drainage
  • providing clear delineation between camping and day use areas
  • providing bookable camping sites
  • providing a variety of camping options
  • improving road layout and campsite levelling.

The project is not proposing to increase camp sites in the precinct. Due to the carrying capacity of the sewage system, camping will be limited in the future to 90 sites.

The plan proposes a variety of camping options, including a walk-in group site, drive-through sites, double sites, and standard single sites. A single site will have the minimum dimensions of 10x10 m, which will allow enough room for their camp set-up, car, or boat on their site. Additional group camping will be allowed on the double sites, minimum 20x10 m, where 2 set-ups will be allowed on the one site. Dimensions of sites on the precinct plan are indicative only and will be refined during construction. Campers can book their site 180 days before staying to enable them to plan their stay.

Implementing numbered campsites will provide visitors assurance before their arrival with the dimensions of the site and a photo available on the booking system. Numbered corner markers will define the campsite. These markers will be low visual impact markers on the ground similar to a paver. The sites will not be marked out with lines, but visitors will be able to identify their site by the number painted on the marker and the site's boundary by lining up the corner markers.

Shade trees will be reinstated throughout the precinct. Additionally, larger vegetation areas will be planted as shown on the concept plan, including restoring the frontal dune to minimise erosion and reduce wind impacts within the camping area. The project will plant approximately 5,000 plants back into the precinct.

Many campsites are uneven due to wear and tear over time, high use, and inadequate drainage. Correcting drainage will give the site a better use of usable space, giving campers a wider selection of sites to suit their camping set-up.

One area of particular interest is the campground's eastern end, commonly referred to as the 'swimming pool'. We propose to rectify this by installing appropriate drainage and importing clean fill to level the site for improved camping sites and experience.

Point Plomer also has a large number of visitors that come just for the day, either for a picnic, beach day or for surfing and fishing. Currently, the day-use area isn't clearly defined, and often the allocated day-use car parks are also used by campers. This plan aims to better define areas for day use versus camping and allocate appropriate open space. Improved access points onto the beach throughout the site will reduce coastal erosion.

Tables and low-key viewing areas will be used throughout the site to allow the users to sit back and relax to enjoy the views of the bay or the iconic surf break.

The project proposes a new road entrance and check-in office. The new entry road will separate campers and entry traffic which will reduce dust and make it safer for children. It will also involve positioning an office and check-in bay at the entry to the precinct. This allows some campsites to be enlarged and levelled out to where the old road was.

The project will be upgrading existing gravel roads, and the new alignment design will provide better usable space for camping. The intention is to continue the 'low-key' gravel road system, ensuring greater durability, improved drainage, and minimal ongoing maintenance.

Vehicle turning and manoeuvring will be considered to ensure ease of access to all campsites.

Day visitor car parks will also be changed to allow nose-in car parking to create additional parking spaces and to remove day visitor parking encroaching into campsites.

Point Plomer is an important cultural site for Aboriginal people. There are many Aboriginal sites and artefacts recorded in the area, and it remains an area of spiritual connection to Aboriginal people.

All works conducted on the campground will ensure minimal ground disturbance, with site levelling undertaken by building sites up with fill rather than ground excavation.

An Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment has been undertaken in consultation with Birpai and Dunghutti people to ensure measures are implemented to protect cultural heritage values on the site.

Through consultation with local Aboriginal people and to safeguard impacts on cultural heritage, camping will not be allowed next to the boat ramp.

Signage will be installed in this area to interpret Aboriginal connection and heritage.

Public consultation, cultural heritage and environmental assessments, in the form of a review of environmental factors, have been completed.

Small-scale works have commenced in the precinct, including fencing, pedestrian pathways and vegetation plantings.

The new access road construction is planned for May to June 2024. During this work, visitation to the precinct will not be impacted.

The larger works in the camping area and day use area are planned to commence on 1 August 2024, with completion of the works on 15 December 2024. During this time, camping will not be permitted.

However, we aim to facilitate day use access to the beach during work hours. Access to the Point Plomer Holiday Cottages will be maintained during the works.

Artist impression - Plomer office

Sketch of new entry and office.