Seats on the sand

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There is something irresistible about unexpected, improvised creature comforts on a deserted beach. These chairs invite you to stop and take in the view. Perhaps some thoughtful locals placed them on Queens Head North Shore Beach. Or was it surfers, who use the spot to survey the waves?

From the stone breakwater at Port Macquarie NSW, where locals and tourists promenade, is an easy bike ride to Settlement Point, the departure point for the ferry to the North Shore. A pleasant surprise awaits as the friendly ferryman waves you on; there is no charge for cyclists. The ferry, which takes up to twenty-one cars, is surprisingly busy shuttling cars thoughout the day.

With no bridge access from Port Macquarie, the North Shore has a secluded peaceful air, just like Noosa’s North Shore. About 800 people live in houses strung out along the northern bank of the Hastings River; this little community has a real sense of itself, and even boasts a Facebook page.

Although the Queens Head North Shore Beach is only a short bike ride from the ferry stop, it seems a world away from Port Macquarie on the southern horizon. For those not deterred by a spine-jarring corrugated dirt road, a longer ride goes to Pelican Point. Here a stone groyne juts out from the point at an angle to create a channel at the entrance of the inlet where Port Macquarie lies. You look across the water to the stone breakwater.

Head back to the ferry, cross the river and pull up chair in a domestic setting for a welcome coffee at the Point Cafe across the road.

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