One of the most surprising things about nude beaches is that people will come and talk to you.
Unlike a regular beach where folks often keep to their own towel and stay head down in a book, nudists like to meet other nudists. So if you're new to nude swimming spots, be aware that you'll likely be met with strangers who genuinely want to know you.
However, as with any publicly nudity in a country that generally keeps its clothes on, if you're a woman you're also highly likely to attract unwanted attention from men. Yes they will stare and if you confront them they'll usually fob you off and say they were looking at the ocean.
But nudist beaches can be family friendly so don't be put off, just keep your wits about you and speak up if you feel uncomfortable.
And if you're in the vicinity of Melbourne, you have three to choose from.
425 The Esplanade, Torquay
Along the Great Ocean Road in Torquay lies Point Impossible – a famous Victorian surf break. What you might not know is it also houses a 1km stretch of beach that's 'clothing optional'.
To get there you have to drive along roughly 2km of corrugated road so keep your clothes on until you get to the naked beach as, well your bits will be bobbing around and you don't want to end up with a bruised thigh or raw cheeks (think about it…)
Once you get to the car park it's a short walk through the dunes. Public toilets are at the back of the beach and keep an eye out for creepers. As with many nudist beaches near Melbourne (or anywhere in Oz), the area tends to attract men who lurk in the bushes with binoculars but rest assured the beach is regularly patrolled and perverts are moved along.
Distance from Melbourne: 106km (1 hr 30 minute drive)
Sunnyside North Beach
Sunnyside Road, Mount Eliza
Port Philip Bay houses another of Victoria's top nudist beaches. This one's a bit more rugged and narrower than Point Impossible but since the new track was laid it's easier to get to.
The north end is where single men gather, and the middle to south end is more family and couples-friendly. Being as this is the closest nude beach near Melbourne the car park can get full on hot days so aim to get there early if you want an easy park.
You can enter via the south or north end but both involve tracking over some rocks and at his tide you will get wet feet. But once you're there is a lovely bay for a swim.
Distance from Melbourne: 66km (1 hr 5 minute drive)
Jarosite Road, Bells Beach
If you head south west out of Melbourne and travel along the Great Ocean Road you'll get to Bells Beach. Just past Bells take the Point Addis turnoff. The naked beach area runs 1km north of Point Addis to Southside.
The nude area isn't signposted and you'll have to clamber a bit to get there but once you arrive it's shielded from the wind and beautifully secluded. However, be warned: the beach disappears at high tide so time your visit accordingly!
Southside is a large, open and beautiful stretch of beach and if you're lucky you might see some great surfing!
Distance from Melbourne: 108km (1 hr 30 minute drive)
Nude Beach Etiquette
First off, having sex on a nude beach is a big no go. In fact, so is exposing yourself in a lewd way.
The Summary Offences Act 1988 states that a "person shall not, in or within view of a public place or school, wilfully and obscenely expose his or her person" so that means you can de-robe but sexual activity in public (including masturbating or unauthorised photography) is illegal.
Other (Basic) Nude Beach Rules
- Be nude not lewd
- Don't take photos of people unless you ask them
- Don't wander past the (often invisible) parameters of the nudist area without clothes on
- And very importantly, use sunscreen –everywhere!