Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published October 11th 2012
Get naked this summer
The legality of nude bathing is a tricky topic in Australia. Because of conflicts between federal law and state law, not to mention local tradition and council decrees, it can feel sometimes like you need an attorney on retainer to figure out whether you can strip off at a particular beach or not. Fortunately, the legal situation in Victoria is clear: there are exactly four 'clothing optional' beaches available for nudists. Sunnyside North, Southside, Point Impossible and Campbell's Cove. How do you choose between those four options?
Well, you can probably dismiss Campbell's Cove out of hand – despite being Victoria's first legal nude beach, there's little sand, dirty water, and worse company. Still, that leaves three other nude beaches, starting with...
Sunnyside North Beach
Sunnyside North Beach is in Mount Eliza, a little past Frankston on the Mornington Peninsula. It's the closest of our three top nude beaches to Melbourne, but you might have to hunt a bit – like most nude beaches, it's hidden and out-of-the-way. Take the Nepean Highway and look for the turn-off, then make your way from the car park. Unless you're going in winter for some reason, finding a park might be tricky, since Sunnyside North Beach is a very popular location. It's popular for a reason, too: the family-friendly, relaxed atmosphere makes it a safe option for people looking for their first nudist experience.
Southside Beach is a little further away on the other side of the bay. It sits halfway between Torquay and Anglesea and, if you look a little closer, between Southside and Point Addis. Historically, the nude area of the beach has bounced between those two points – first right in the middle, then closer to Point Addis, but now it's up the other end, right next to Southside (which makes sense, given the name). Take the Great Ocean Road past Torquay and turn into Bells Boulevard. Southside Beach is sheltered from the wind, and if you spend any length of time there without the protection of a wetsuit, you'll come to appreciate that. For this reason it's a good beach to visit in the colder months. A word of warning: the tide comes a long way in, leaving only a thin strip of sand, so be careful where you set up your beach gear.
Point Impossible Beach is close to Southside Beach. It's on the other side of Torquay, though, and instead of a thin strip of sand it's a wide expanse, sloping up to rows of low sand dunes. Unlike many nude beaches, Point Impossible is well signed and has a large car park. Toilets are available but, unfortunately, no showers. If you're worried about sand collecting on your, ah, skin, you'll have to make other arrangements. Still, for more outdoorsy types, it's hard to imagine a better place to lie on your back on the sand - or float in the gentle swell - and commune with nature. Just you and the huge blue dome of the sky, with no plastic bathers getting in the way.
These are the best legal beaches near Melbourne. Do you know any better beaches that aren't quite as legal? Share their locations in the comments – we'd love to have a hypothetical discussion about them.