As recently as 1961 it was illegal to even wear a bikini on an Australian beach. Nowadays, the laws are slightly less stringent, but nonetheless still somewhat conservative so it's a good idea to know where, when and how it's OK to shed your swimwear and sunbathe nude. Read on to find the best nude beaches in Australia.
Some beaches allow topless bathing but women may still be asked to cover their breasts – this doesn't apply to men who can bare their chest anywhere. It's technically not illegal to sunbathe topless but local councils each have their own take so it's generally up to the individual to decide whether they think it's acceptable or not. Or ask a lifeguard.
As with most things, nudity is contentious; some people are OK with it, others aren't.
If you want to get rid of those tan lines, the best way to stay within the law and out of the way of unwanted attention is to stretch out your towel on one of Australia's certified nudist beaches and bays.
Nude beach rules
- Can you wear clothing on a nudist beach? The most respectable answer is no. There are plenty of beaches where you can keep your swimmers on so if you're intending to visit a nudist beach leave your bathers behind.
- There aren't any specific rules for nudist beaches other than don't stare. Some beaches such as Maslin have a clothing end (North) and a clothing optional end (South) so just be mindful of which end you're at and dress (or undress) appropriately.
- If you're unsure whether the nudist beach you're heading to is suitable for families, chat to the locals.
Best nudist beaches in Australia
All year round you'll find a handful of nudists enjoying the views of Sydney harbour from Lady Bay (or Lady Jane Beach) in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. A 5-minute walk from Camp Cove there are steps down to the sheltered bay where mostly men, but also some women can be found tanning their hides in this relaxed and quiet bay.
Off the record, Queensland doesn't have any legal nudist beaches. In fact, it's the only state that has a total no-nudity restriction, but just 3km from Hastings Street, through Noosa National park, lies Alexandria Bay where you'll be greeted by white sand, wild seas and people sans bathers.
Known for being one of the more conservative states, South Australia is home to the oldest nude beach in Oz. 45km south of Adelaide the seas are crystal clear and perfect for skinny dipping. The rocky red backdrop makes it one of the most picturesque spots for nudists.
This 'clothing optional' beach just north of Byron Bay receives mixed reports from locals as to its appropriateness for families and was recently in the news when police were called to the area to monitor unsavoury behaviour from beach goers. But it seems the problems are now being controlled and local men and women can once again enjoy the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean on their bare skin.
1. Samurai Beach, Central Coast, NSW
Want to know where you can bring the kids and grandparents for some nude fun in the sun? Head to Samurai Beach near Port Nelson – Australia's only official nudist beach and campsite. There's a Beach Picnic Day held every February with games, competitions and prizes for all ages. Just remember to pack the sunscreen.