Taking in the lofty heights of Oxley Wild Rivers and the secluded beaches of Point Plomer, this touring loop shows off some of New South Wales’ best off-road scenic highlights.
|Difficulty||Easy - 4WD Touring|
|Gear Required||4WD, Tyre Gauge, Air compressor|
|Track Inclusions/ Features (Descriptive)||Remote Locations, Dam, Creeks, Gravel Roads, Falls, Rock Formations|
|Points of Interest||Chaffey Dam, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, Apsley Falls, Georges Junction, Point Plomer, Delicate Nobby|
|Things to Do||4WD Touring, Swimming, Wildlife, Surfing, Camp Cooking|
|Need to Know||Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is remote, locked by gate and key, limited vehicles can enter via permit each day.|
|Track / Trip Length||3-4 nights, 900-1000km round trip to Newcastle, NSW|
|How to Get There||Clockwise 3-4 hours drive NW from Newcastle, NSW to Chaffey Dam Counter Clockwise 3hrs North of Newcastle, NSW to Point Plomer Campground|
|Best Time to Go||October- April, Warmer Weather, After Rainfall for Waterfalls|
Just Packing and Heading out
NSW is full of variety, no matter your touring favourites, so there will always be something for yourself and the family. You don’t always have to travel to the most remote corners of the country and nor do you have to find the hardest tracks for an excuse to load up your 4WD to hit those dusty roads. In NSW, it’s not uncommon to be sinking bevies in a prime freshwater river, dipping in the surf along the east coast or scouring the landscape for hidden waterfalls all in the same day. Many great spots have remained unnoticed or as locals’ secrets. Taking good care of these areas will help keep them open for families and avid travellers to enjoy and explore for generations to come.
On this trip TJM Hunter Valley rallied up some troops, consisting of Michael the store owner, his keen employees, customers and friends. It is always great to travel in a convoy because there are so many positives: sharing the load around, planning, extravagant camp cook ups, knowledge and repairs if things go south, two-way radio chat and you are always guaranteed to make new friends along the way. Heading up to our first overnight destination of Chaffey Dam just SE of Tamworth, we were presented with rolling green hills and dirt roads heading up the back way via Moonan Flat to Nundle. A quick pit stop at the Victoria Hotel at Moonan Flat is definitely worth the detour for some light refreshments. The campsite, which has some good amenities, has bucket loads of wide-open campsites perfect for groups of campers, with enough space to set up away from everyone. Waterfront views don’t get much better than this and it really makes the trip out worth it.
Locked by Gate and Key
Heading further north towards the township of Walcha for something that is unknown to many, NSW has its very own taste of High Country touring. Tight ascents and descents with switchbacks deep within the remote Oxley Wild Rivers National Park provide secluded and clear mountain views . Locked by gate and key (but a permit can easily be obtained at the right time of year from Walcha), just get in early as the permits are limited. This national park lies within the Northern Tablelands and also features the spectacular Apsley River and Apsley Falls. The absence of rain leading up to our trip wasn’t enough to get the falls going but the river was moving quickly and was perfect for us to refresh ourselves after a great day.
Riverside Campground was a well set out campsite and wildlife was quite abundant from lack of recent visitors. From here, we cut a detour through the national park from Yarrowich to Bellbrook, taking in the mountain sights. The driving is fairly easy but can be greasy in the wet, so while you won’t be lifting wheels or using diff locks any time soon, it’s advisable to prepare for the worst in case the mountains turn on some wild weather. You can pick up some basic supplies at Bellbrook, including fuel, or stop for a quick counter lunch at the Bellbrook Hotel. From Bellbrook we pushed further west to Georges Junction, with another exhilarating drive in thanks to a rugged cliff drop on one side with the beautiful Macleay River beneath, which towards the end opens up to an unexpected and incredibly wide grassy campsite along the river bank. The campsite has river access, a 4WD crossing and also a couple of little low range 4WD lines; these aren’t very hard but are still plenty of fun. Enjoying the last of our summer weather nothing could hold us back from treating ourselves to a dip in the Macleay to wash the dust off. Being secluded and far enough away from civilisation means another thing: the night stars come out to play which was a great way to end the day around the campfire.
What Are You Waiting For? Time to hit the beach.
Blasting back though Kempsey and topping up for last minute supplies sees us down near Crescent Head, ready for the dirt on our mission back down south through the Limeburners Creek National Park. Our first proper stop was an interesting one, Delicate Nobby, which was just a few kilometres short of our night’s stay at Point Plomer.
Delicate Nobby is a series of rock formations heading out off the beach front right into the ocean. From there, we soldiered back down to Point Plomer, picked our spot, parked the cars and got straight into the water for another great refreshing swim.
Once again, a great team effort cookup was had - camp oven pizzas - taming the wildest of hungers. We then finally headed back home, enjoying the company of travelling with a convoy of like-minded individuals within the industry and 4WD adventure scene whilst making some new mates along the way. Also, it must be said that this trip truly delivers diversity, both in landscapes, tracks and experiences, all within a short loop that shows off some of the best parts of New South Wales.
Blog by @aaronoffroader fb: aaronoffroader
If his name hasn’t already given it away, Aaron lives and breathes off-roading. Catch him scouting for Australia’s next best, off-road gems in his TJM Equipped 2018 Toyota Prado Kakadu and sharing his experiences on our 4x4 blogs