Doffing Our Duds Down Under
In 1988, Sharon and I had been AANR (then ASA) members for less than 10 years, and we decided to go on our first nudist-related vacation. Her cousin had emigrated to Australia and married a local there. Having been invited to visit, we started preparations for our trip. Twenty-seven years ago, there was no internet, so it took us months of mail research, utilizing International Reply Coupons, which are virtually unknown today, to correspond with clubs and resorts in Australia and New Zealand, as well as reading sections of Lee Baxendall's "World Guide to Nude Beaches and Recreation." We then made all of our international and in-country flight reservations and built up a small stack of flyers and maps to take along.
Arranging a six-week vacation took several years of saving unused time and arranging it not to be in the busiest vacation time of the year. We ended up going in late-September, returning in early November. Our first stop was Sydney and several nights at the cousin's place, getting acclimated to the time change and left hand driving patterns and doing local touring. To acclimate to the time change, we went to a nearby topless beach and laid out next to the "Beware of crocodiles and sharks" sign.
We flew to Alice Springs, then to Ayers Rock, bussed back to Alice Springs and drove for a number of days to Darwin. At the Katherine Gorge, we took a boat tour up the gorge and could swim at the top. It was very strange that you had to wear a suit but each group of tourists changed clothes in the open, mostly without covering up. At the Mataranka Hot Springs, a large hot lake, you had to wear a suit during the day, but could remove it in the water in the evening. We went to the Casarina nude beach at Darwin, which was made out of many billions of little tiny seashells. Unfortunately, the "stingers," or deadly poisonous jellyfish, had come in early (it was early spring, but 106 degrees) so there was no going in the beautiful warm Indian ocean.
We flew from Darwin to Cairns on the east coast and rented a small campervan for two weeks for our drive back to Sydney. We stopped at SunLeisure and the Three Bares (two nudist clubs) and numerous nude beaches (Noosa, Alexander Head, et al) on the way down. Once back in Sydney, Sharon's cousin and her husband drove us to a nudist club north of Sydney (River Island) where we spent the day. We flew to Victoria, rented a car and visited a nudist resort north of the city (River Valley). A number to the south were not open because it was still early spring. We flew back to Sydney and then on to Auckland, New Zealand, where we rented another campervan for our five days there.
We reached the Auckland Outdoor Health Club, which was the largest nudist club in the southern hemisphere, in time for their Spring Festival, did some touring and then went to the Rotata nudist club in the geothermal area. They share a lake with the Orakei Korako thermal park, which is like a small version of Yellowstone with all its features. This was our first international nudist adventure. Since then, we have gone on several of the Bare Necessities nude cruises. Our ASA (now AANR) membership card made the clubs very open to us, and all the people we met were very friendly