If you like to skinnydip or sunbathe nude then New Zealand is an ideal destination. With miles of coastline and a relatively small population, it's not difficult to find a secluded spot where you won't be disturbed. Nude bathing, as with all forms of water sports, is much more common in the summer than at any other time of year. However, in the spring and autumn - and even the winter - there are many lovely days where being at the beach is entirely possible, although the water might be a bit chilly.
Apart from the beach, there are many other places where kiwis and visitors enjoy being clothes-free. Forests, streams, rivers, lakes - all places you can work on an all-over tan!
Attitudes towards Naturism and Nudity in New Zealand
Kiwis are fairly easy going and you'll find that, in general, people won't have a problem if they encounter a nude person on a beach or somewhere reasonably remote. However, there is certainly not the level of tolerance that you would find in Europe, even for topless bathing. Topless or nude bathing would generally be regarded as acceptable if done discretely, but definitely not on a busy beach, especially one which is family oriented.
Some of the better-known nudist beaches also suffer from the presence of 'gawkers'. However, they generally will not be confrontational and the problem is solved by simply moving away.
The majority of the known nude beaches are in the northern half of the North Island where of course the weather is warmer. The further south you go the fewer the nudists - apart from a few hardy souls.
- Read More: New Zealand Weather Information
Nudity and the Law in New Zealand
It is not against the law to be naked anywhere in New Zealand. However, it is illegal to be naked with the intention of being obscene or of causing offence. If you confine yourself to discreet areas or "places where nudity is known to occur" it is unlikely you will encounter any issues with the authorities.
Official Nude Beaches
New Zealand has no official nude beaches. This has been done intentionally as the view has been that in doing so it will attract unwanted and undesirable attention. Nevertheless, there are some well-known clothing optional nude beaches that are official in everything but name.
Unofficial Nude Beaches
The majority of the established nude beaches are in the North Island and from Tauranga northwards.
There are a number of nudist clubs throughout New Zealand. All of these are private and open only to members. However, in saying that, many welcome visits from interested members from outside of the region. Generally you will have to prove your interest in naturism and/or hold an INF (International Naturist Federation) membership card.
Clothing Optional and Nudist Resorts
There are no clothing optional or naturist resorts in New Zealand. The only thing that comes close is the Katikati Naturist Park at Katikati, near Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, North Island. Facilities here include swimming pool, spa pool, sauna and various sports in a park-like setting. Accommodation ranges from campsites and caravans to self-contained motel units. It is open to the public.
- Read More: Katikati Naturist Park
There are several bed and breakfast homestays dotted throughout the country that are clothing optional. They are usually owned by naturists themselves.
If you are interested in finding out more about naturism in New Zealand, there are a number of associations that are always willing to be helpful:
- The New Zealand Naturist Federation: New Zealand's official naturist organization.
- Free Beaches NZ This group specifically promotes responsible naturism on beaches and arranges outings and events on beaches throughout the country.
Don't Forget the Sun
New Zealand has a reputation for it's ferocious sun. The burn time is the shortest of anywhere in the world. So don't forget to use plenty of high-strength sunscreen (at least factor 30), even if it is cloudy or the sun doesn't seem hot. Make sure your enjoyment of New Zealand isn't spoilt by painful sunburn!
Kiwis are a fun loving bunch and that 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.
- Watch the Nude Blacks playing here: The Nude Blacks