When I'm not out and about you'll find me working from home, deep in the bushland of Sydney's infamous Galston Gorge. My virtual home is www.tallstory.com.au. Come and find out what else I've been up to.
Published March 14th 2012
WHY? Try something different, or be forewarned and avoid a rude shock.
It can be a real eye-opener to discover that the beach you've decided to explore over the weekend is in fact populated almost entirely by naked people. Once the initial shock passes, it may be possible to carry on with one's preferred beach activities regardless. Some might stumble across a nudist beach and embrace the opportunity to be naked somewhere other than at home. While others may run, screaming, back in the direction from which they came.
What is a nudist beach?
A nudist beach, free beach, or 'clothing optional' beach is a stretch of sand predominantly used by those who favour a naturalist lifestyle. It may be the pleasure of an over all dose of vitamin D, the freedom of swimming without soggy, baggy bathers, or a desire for social interaction that attracts punters to these places.
Werrong Beach: One of five legal nudist beaches in NSW
Some nudist beaches have legal status, a larger proportion are classed as 'unofficially' or 'traditionally' nude. Nude bathing is a contentious issue and the legislation surrounding them is historically shifting sands. Queensland – despite having an ideal climate for nudity - remains the only state or territory which does not legally allow nude bathing on any its beaches.
Unless a beach is officially classed as 'clothing optional', nude bathers can be fined, issued a formal warning or even a risk a charge for an offence such as willful and obscene exposure. Talking to regular beach users can be useful in assessing the likelihood of a patrol being carried out.
Can you get fined for wearing clothes on a nudist beach?
This map of Australia provided by the group Aussie Naturists pinpoints both legal and unofficial nude bathing spots.
Who are they for?
Families, women, men – any one can use a free beach, although men are often over represented at nudist beaches.
If you decide to take the plunge…
Free Beaches Australia (FBA) is one of the country's peak organisations for nudists, and they have an informative website www.freebeach.com.au. The FBA use the expression 'nude not lewd' and it's an important reminder that good behaviour does not get stripped away along with the clothing. Basic courtesies apply; respect other's personal space, avoid staring (this gets easier after the first five minutes) and don't take photos of others without permission. And wear plenty of sunscreen.