NATURIST BEACHES: AUSTRALIA
The Mornington Peninsula shire might be worried about an influx of nudists from the City of Wyndham, but councillors don’t have much say. Sunnyside North in Mount Eliza is designated as a legal nudist beach under an act of Parliament, the Nudity (Prescribed Areas) Act 1983. Your biggest infringement fear here is a parking ticket. Don’t go scaring the locals by disrobing at Sunnyside beach by the car park. Keep your shoes on and clamour over the rocks to Sunnyside North. The Free Beaches Australia website warns followers to watch out for rocks in the water. Skin might be your largest organ, but it’s susceptible to stings, scrapes and sunburn, though hypothermia may be the biggest problem in winter. Don’t forget to slip, slop, slap those vulnerable bits in summer.
Warnbro Beach, about 53km south of Perth, is considered one of the west coast’s best nude beaches, with a clothing-optional section about 900m long and shielded by sand dunes. Rockingham City Council reviewed its status in 2007 after concern it had become a pick-up joint, but a one-vote majority allowed it to continue as a brazen haven. “Warnbro nudies are usually very friendly and chatty if you stop when someone says hello - otherwise say hello and keep walking if you are a private person and no one will think you rude,’ Ryan advises on the Naturist Directory website. Great white sharks have been spotted here, but there’s no research on whether they prefer nudes over surfers in wetsuits.
Maslin Beach in Adelaide is home of the event formerly known as the Nude Olympics. Rather than let the International Olympic Committee sue the pants off them (no point, really) organisers changed the name to the Pilwarren Maslin Beach Nude Games. The designated “unclad” area is at the southern end of the beach, about 800m walk along the sand from the main entrance. Once here it’s best to follow suit (or not) and wear a hat, smile and little else. The 1997 movie Maslin Beach - “a naked and hilarious search for the meaning of life” - distinguished itself by having no costumes and the action contained within real time.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Lady Bay Beach, with its view of Sydney’s skyline in the distance, is Australia’s oldest nudist beach. Some of the beachgoers with their leathery skin look like they’ve been here since nudity was legalised in 1976. The beach is hugged by two rocky outlets, making it private, except for a lookout at the top of the cliffs where the curious can take a sneak peek. The beach is only about 100m long, with calm waters and no surf, and can get crowded. Make sure you observe the basic rules of all nude beaches: don’t stare, don’t take photos, don’t do anything suggestive, don’t wander outside the designated area without clothes on, make sure you apply sunscreen, and cover chairs with a towel before you sit down.
Queensland is the only state without a legal nude beach, but people keep challenging the Vagrants Gaming and Other Offenses Act. Many a backpacker has been happy to cop a $100 fine for the sublime art of sunbathing au naturel in the far north. Aussie Naturalists and Lonely Planet both recommend Cow Bay in the Daintree area, with its shady tropical trees. Cape Kimberley also tops some lists. But be warned. These beaches are beautiful and remote, but take your clothes off and you might as well cover your body with seasoning rather than sunscreen because those cruising crocodiles aren’t just sightseeing.