Being a liberally minded country, New Zealand doesn’t have any laws directly forbidding public nudity so it’s not surprising it’s now regarded as one of the world’s top destinations for a ‘nakation’ holiday. It is voted #1for a naked vacation in a recent report published in Australia’s Daily Mail newspaper.

With 15,000km of coastline and a relatively small population, it’s not difficult to find a secluded spot for nude bathing anywhere around New Zealand. There are no official nude beaches because it’s believed they would likely attract those who would go to perv. However, there are 24 beaches in the North Island and 14 in the South Island listed on the New Zealand Naturalist Federation website where it is safe to be naked without being harassed by those who object to the natural state of a fellow human.

Typical New Zealand Beach (Lonely Planet)

Apart from the beach, nudists can enjoy many other places including forests, streams, rivers and lakes. If you want to be with fellow naturalists, there are 9 Sun Clubs dotted around the country, most close to main centres. These places have seen increased membership over the past few years as more young people try the lifestyle they provide.


Kiwis are easygoing and pretty open minded so generally don’t have a problem if they encounter a nude person on a beach or somewhere else that’s reasonably secluded. However, Kiwis don’t have the same level of tolerance found in Europe, even for topless bathing.  Some of the better-known nudist beaches suffer from “gawkers,” but they generally aren’t confrontational and you can easily get rid of them by moving away from them.

On my last trip to Fiordland, I came across three German lads who wanted to experience the New Zealand wilderness without clothes. They had done a nude tramp through the Waitutu Forest and planned to do another one along another forest track. They said they liked the feeling of freedom they experienced and also the fact there were no poisonous insects or wildlife as found in Australia. They knew it was not against the law to be nude in secluded public places and this gave them added confidence to wear just shoes and a backpack as they enjoyed the peace of the beautiful New Zealand bush.


Free Beaches NZ Inc is designed for nudists who like to attend specific events. Some arranged for this year include “A Day Without Togs” a January day to celebrate family nudity on various beaches around the country. In February and again in March they have the popular “Skinny Dip Down a Moonbeam”. This event invites people to go to a beach as the moon rises and to strip naked and enjoy the sand by the light of the full moon overhead. They also organise the New Zealand version of the international “World Naked Bike Ride”. To celebrate mid winter, they invite people around the country to strip naked and run into the sea with the “Polar Plunge”. This event draws the biggest crowd in Dunedin, a university city full of students who like to do a number of crazy things in the nude.

There are just two nudist resorts in New Zealand both in a park-like setting. Accommodations range from campsites and caravans to motel and cabin style units. There are several bed and breakfast home stays dotted throughout the country that are clothing-optional and owned by naturists themselves.


The majority of New Zealand’s established nude beaches are located in the upper part of the North Island, where the temperatures are generally the warmest. Uretiti Beach, 38 km south of Whangarei, is a very popular beach in Northland for the clothing-optional crowd. The Department of Conservation (DOC) runs a campground just behind the beach, making this a popular holiday spot. St. Leonard’s Beach on Auckland’s North Shore used to be one of New Zealand’s most popular nudist beaches, until a few individuals began displaying some indecent behavior which caused the local council to crack down on nude bathers. Tensions have eased and naturists can again be found there. Pohutukawa Bay is one of Auckland’s most-frequented nudist beaches, a 20 minute walk north of Long Bay. The beach is named for the pohutukawa tree that spreads its beautiful long branches over the sand to provide plenty of shade in the summer. Ladies Bay is another popular nudist beach in Auckland.

Pohutukawa Bay (

Across the harbour on Auckland’s island suburb of Waiheke the beaches are very popular places for both locals and visitors, and most of them have a clothing-optional attitude with Little Palm Beach being the most popular.

5 Mile Bay is located on the shore of Lake Taupo in the middle of the North Island and is just 5 km from the town center and is a popular place where people usually bathe nude.

In the Wellington region, Peka Peka Beach is recognized as being the first in the area to be known for skinny-dipping however, Breaker Bay, located in the suburb of Seatoun, is Wellington’s most popular nudist beach. This isn’t a strictly nudist beach, but a large portion of it is commonly used by naturists. Located in the sunny Bay of Plenty, Tauranga’s Papamoa Beach is one of New Zealand’s oldest and most popular nudist beaches.

The South Island, with its cooler climate doesn’t have as many nudist beaches to offer. However, they can be found in the larger cities. Many beaches in sunny Golden Bay are suitable for naked activities, but Milnthorpe Bay is one of the most popular. Spencerville, North Beach and Waikuku Beach are popular skinny-dipping spots near Christchurch and Snails Beach is the place Dunedin nudists spend a sunny day.

Apart from beaches, secluded sections of many rivers attract nudists, with the Clutha River in Otago being a draw card for nude sunbathing over the hot summer months in that part of the country.

It’s no wonder New Zealand has become such a popular destination for a ‘nakation’. With liberal attitudes, plenty of secluded locations and a temperate climate, I would think more and more naturists will be putting this country on their list of places to visit.

Ceidrik Heward


  1. Hi,

    If I were to give all appropriate credits and a link to this page, would you mind if I shared this piece of writing ‘Naked New Zealand’ over on my website at ?

    Kind regards,


  2. michael j cadello says

    are the nudist beaches accomodating to gay and bi-sexual beachgoers ?

    • From my research, most of the nude beaches are gay friendly but you need to be aware that not all those on the beach would be happy with any overt displays of gay affection.

    • A person’s sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with swimming or sunbathing at a beach. New Zealand’s beaches are as “gay friendly” as our shopping centers, cinemas, sports stadiums, streets, or any other public space. Whether you are naked or wearing a swimming costume, it should make no difference. How can others tell you are gay or bi in any case? You don’t look any different to any other person, do you?

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