With miles of coastline and many lovely beaches and secluded bays, it's possible to find a private spot for nude sunbathing or swimming in most parts of Northland. Although there are no official nude beaches, a number have been designated as places "where nudity is known to occur". Here are some of best spots to try naturism, listed from north to south.
Be aware that nudity on a beach is not illegal, but "intending to be offensive" is. Avoid crowded beaches and when in doubt stay a respectable distance from clothed beachgoers. Kiwis are pretty tolerant as long as you are not blatant about it.
This tiny beach is just to the south of Cape Reinga. It is a popular spot for tour buses as well as private tourists. There is a campground at the southern end (to the right) which fronts the main part of the beach.
Naturists use the other end of the beach; walk left from the car park as far as you can go. It is best avoided at the height of summer, however, when the entire beach will be crowded.
This is a large and somewhat windswept beach to the north of Houhora on the way to Cape Reinga. There is plenty of room here (and usually very few people). Just be aware there are often four-wheel drive vehicles on the beach.
Ninety Mile Beach
The entire stretch of Ninety Mile Beach is very suitable for a nude swim. Sunbathing is rather more of an issue, however; the beach is an official public road and there will often be vehicles driving past. Several tour buses use the beach daily on their tour to and from Cape Reinga.
The quietest spots are to the south of Waipapakauri and to the north of the Te Paki sand dunes as these are the entry and departure points for the coach tours.
This beautiful beach, one of the finest beaches in Northland, is at the far end of the Karikari Peninsula. Although it's quite a drive to get to, it is well worth it.
There are two spots to head to if you want to shed your clothes. From the car park, the beach on the right attracts fewer people; walk to the far end of the horseshoe-shaped beach.
The other place is at the northern end of the left-hand beach, which is Maitai Bay itself. This is reached by a short walk from the car park. This is also the more popular of the two beaches so make sure you walk to the far end.
Also known as Donkey Bay, this is the closest to an official naturist beach in Northland. It is about 2 kilometers from Russell in the Bay of Islands. There is also naturist accommodation, the Waitata Bay Naturist Retreat, close by.
Ocean Beach, Whangarei Heads
Out on the coast from Whangarei City is Ocean Beach. The nude area is to the left of the main section of the beach by the car park. Turn left and head north for a couple of bays. You may see the odd fisherman, but little else.
This beach is to be found by driving to Urquharts Bay on the northern side of the entrance to Whangarei Harbor. A short walk over farmland leads to this lovely bay. The southern end (to the right) is the more secluded but there will often be no one on the entire length of this beach, particularly on weekdays.
This is the best-known and most accessible nude beach in Northland, and one of the most popular in New Zealand.
It is close to the main highway, just to the north of Waipu and about 40 kilometers south of Whangarei. The beach itself is part of the long sweep of Bream Bay, from Marsden Point at the entrance to Whangarei Harbor to Langs Beach.
There is a DOC campsite at the entrance to the beach. The accepted clothing optional section of the beach is reached by walking to the right for a couple of hundred meters. With views directly out to the Hen and Chicken Islands and the Whangarei Heads in the distance, this is a lovely place to enjoy on a summers day.