Naturism in New Zealand: Nude Beaches and Clubs

New Zealand beach, Raglan
Lauren Juliff

New Zealand is the ideal destination if you like skinny-dipping or sunbathing nude. With miles of coastline and a relatively small population, it's not difficult to find a secluded spot here where you won't be disturbed. Nude bathing is much more common in the summer, but New Zealand offers many lovely days in the spring and autumn—and even in winter—where being at the beach is entirely possible, even if the water is a bit chilly.

Apart from the beach, kiwis and visitors alike can enjoy being clothes-free in many other places as well. Forests, streams, rivers, lakes—they're all places where you can work on an all-over tan and feel the soft breezes on your skin.

Attitudes Towards Naturism and Nudity

Kiwis are fairly easygoing and you'll find that people generally don't have a problem if they encounter a nude person on a beach or somewhere else that's reasonably remote. But there isn't the level of tolerance in New Zealand that you might find in Europe, even for topless bathing. Topless or nude bathing would generally be regarded as acceptable if done discretely, but not on a busy beach, particularly one that's family-oriented.

Some of the better-known nudist beaches suffer from the presence of "gawkers," but these curious onlookers generally aren't confrontational and you can easily solve the problem by moving to another location. 

The majority of the known nude beaches are in the northern half of the North Island where the weather is warmer. The further south you go, the fewer nudists you'll encounter, apart from a few hardy souls.

Kiwis are a fun-loving bunch and this extends to some light-hearted nude activities as well. There's even an unofficial national nude rugby team, the Nude Blacks, which plays in Dunedin whenever the All Blacks are playing a test match in the city.

Nudity and the Law

It's not against the law to be naked anywhere in New Zealand, but it's illegal to go unclothed with the intention of being obscene or causing offense. If you confine yourself to discreet areas or "places where nudity is known to occur," you're not likely to encounter any issues with the authorities.

Official Nude Beaches

New Zealand has no official nude beaches. This is intentional because establishing such beaches is likely to attract unwanted and undesirable attention. Nevertheless, some well-known clothing-optional beaches are official in everything but name.

Most of the established nude beaches are in the North Island from Tauranga northwards. There are nude beaches in the Auckland area and there is just one known on the southern end of the island. 

New Zealand has a reputation for its ferocious sun. The burn time is shorter than anywhere else in the world, so don't forget to use plenty of high-strength sunscreen, at least SPF 30, even if it's cloudy or the sun doesn't feel all that hot. Make sure your enjoyment of New Zealand isn't spoiled by painful sunburn.

Nudist Clubs and Resorts

There are a number of nudist clubs throughout New Zealand. All of them are private and open only to members, but many welcome interested visitors from outside the region. You'll generally have to prove your interest in naturism and/or hold an International Naturist Federation membership card.

There are no clothing-optional or nudist resorts in New Zealand, but the Katikati Naturist Park at Katikati comes close. It's located near Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, North Island. Facilities there include a swimming pool, spa pool, sauna, and various sports, all in a park-like setting. Accommodations range from campsites and caravans to self-contained motel units. It's open to the public.

Naturist Accommodations

Several bed and breakfast homestays dotted throughout the country are clothing-optional. They're typically owned by naturists themselves. There are some on the North Island and also on the South Island

Naturist Associations

A number of associations are always willing to help if you're interested in finding out more about naturism in New Zealand. 

The New Zealand Naturist Federation is New Zealand's official naturist organization. And, Free Beaches NZ specifically promotes responsible naturism on beaches and arranges outings and events on beaches throughout the country.

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