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Sydney Nude Beaches
March and April 2005
In March and April 2005 I took a two month holiday to Australia, my favorite country on earth! It was my fifth trip and a combination of business and pleasure. I got a great deal on QANTAS, normally an expensive carrier. I paid USD$659. for Honolulu-Sydney return, 60 day stay! Half of normal. Unlike my other visits, I did not have the option of leaving the Sydney area. Despite that handicap, I was able to re-visit nude beaches I had been to on earlier trips, and try a couple I had not been to before. The weather gave the extra bonus as April 2005 was one of the warmest on record in Sydney. I based myself in the southern beachside suburb of Coogee, mainly for its easy access to the airport and oceanfront setting. It has lots of young people as the University of New South Wales is only one km up the road. The Coogee Bay Hotel is the biggest social magent, with sports bars, dining, and live music weekends. Numerous cafes and restaurants are in the immediate area. City bus service is frequent, easy to navigate, and some services run all night. Sydney is a city of four million, and spread out over a large area, and straddles both the north and south of its famous harbor. Cobbler's and Obelisk are on the north shore, Lady, Little Jibbon, and Werrong are south of the city. Beach weather is best in high season, November to April. Summer in Sydney can be hot and humid. Temps can be 90-95 F but high 80's F more normal. Winter, May through September, can be chilly with rain or real good. Depends.
Naturism in Australia is generally well accepted, at official or long-established places like the ones mentioned. Lady Bay was designated nudist in 1976. Cobbler's, Obelisk and Werrong later. Little Jibbon is unofficial but tolerated. Girls generally tan topfree on "regular beaches" with a thong or g-string bottom. This does not raise eyebrows anywhere.
There is a print guide called Bare Facts in its third edition that covers nude beaches Australia-wide, but that edition is 10 years old (1996). Internet resources are better. The website Free Beaches Australia, http://www.freebeach.com.au, covers New South Wales (the state Sydney is in) nude beaches well. You can email them with your questions. The quarterly naturist magazine (T.A.N.) The Australian Naturist (http://www.naturist.net.au), is high quality and available in many newsagents, including one in Mosman on the way to Cobbler's Beach. The publisher doesn't answer questions regarding beaches though, which I find less than friendly for a naturist. I am very familiar with the nude beach scene there and would welcome your emails about beach locations and general travel questions about Australia.
The Beaches. (Also visit... Free Beaches Australia Inc Website: http://www.freebeach.com.au/ ).
Cobbler's Beach is a legally designated nude beach on Middle Head which juts out into Sydney Harbour. It is a small beach. As it is on the harbour it is not a surf ocean beach like Werrong described later. Middle Head is on the north side of the harbour close to the neighborhood of Mosman, a very well-to-do area. The crowd at Cobbler's is mostly males weekdays but weekends the beach can be absolutely packed with a mixed crowd of families, couples and single girls and guys. The sand fills quickly so get there early. 10 a.m. would be good. A grassy area behind the beach can accomodate dozens of sunbathers. A visiting boat lands ashore in season and sells ice cream! It is a fun sight to see a queue of naked beachgoers with money in hand waiting their turn to buy something. Nude weddings have been held at Cobbler's!
By auto from the city go over the Sydney Harbour bridge and exit at Neutral Bay via Military Rd. (Rt. 14) Follow this to Spit Junction and continue on to Mosman Junction. Continue straight through and just after Raglan Rd. bear left onto Middle Head Rd. This turns into Chowder Bay Rd. After about 100 m. you will see HMAS Penguin navy facility on left and beyond it on left a parking area for Middle head sports oval. Walk across oval (or go around if a game on) and find trail down to beach.
By bus take bus 244 from Wynyard Station in the city. When you get on ask driver if he is going to Middle Head oval. This route does not run on Sunday. On Sunday take route 227-Mosman Junction, or less good, 230 or 243-Spit Junction. These put you two or three km away from the oval but if you are in shape it is not bad to walk. Mosman has a grocers for picnic stuff for the beach (IGA) and heaps of trendy shops and cafes to visit after the beach and a very nice public library. Bus info and help: Sydney Buses http://www.sydneybuses.nsw.gov.au Telephone 131 500.
Photo of Cobbler's Beach from Middle Head Oval
Obelisk Beach is another legal nude beach on Sydney Harbour. Follow the same directions as for Cobbler's Beach but park either in the same lot or another lot closer to the trailhead to Obelisk-on the right side as you drive down the road to Middle Head oval. The two beaches are only a couple of hundred yards apart. I've included a photo of the sign you will see. This beach is usually always guys only I am told. The day I stopped by I would guess there were 20 or so guys and one girl. Everyone was nude. A lot of small boats anchored just offshore.
Sign to Obelisk Beach
Lady Bay Beach (sometimes called Lady Jane Beach) is yet another legal nude beach on Sydney Harbour. It was officially designated a nudist beach in the 70's and is one of the first in Australia. This beach is on the south side of the harbour within a short walk of the trendy Watson's Bay with it's famous Doyle"s Seafood Restaurant. The day I visited, the crowd was more mixed than Obelisk (some Spanish backpacker girls were there) but less mixed than Cobbler's. 90% nude. This beach reminded me a little of Baker Beach in San Francisco not for the beach itself certainly, but for the harbor views and large ships coming and going to sea very close to the sand. The beach itself is disappointing, as there is very little sand and when big ships do go by at high tide, the waves wash up t o the rocks. There are not many places to put down your towel that the sand is not damp. Access by bus from Bondi Junction to Watsons Bay. Then walk about 10-15 minutes through the national park walking track to South Head. The stairs to Lady Jane will be seen on the left. I included photo of the sign so you can find it easily. Multiple bus routes run to Bondi Junction from the city center. The Junction has a couple of large indoor shopping centers with food courts and a large Borders, the American bookseller. A perfect way to wrap up the afternoon apres beach. Sydney Buses: http://www.sydneybuses.nsw.gov.au Telephone: 131 500
Sign to Lady Bay Beach
Little Jibbon Beach is an unofficial clothing-optional beach within the northern part of the Royal National Park, the second oldest national park in the world, after Yellowstone in America. It is much closer to Sydney than Werrong Beach, described elsewhere. From Sydney it is reached by taking the train south to the beachside town of Cronulla. From the dock at Cronulla a ferry takes you across Port Hacking River to a village called Bundeena. From there a short walk past some expensive homes with million dollar views of the bay and city in the distance comes to Jibbon Beach. Walk along Jibbon Beach east until it ends and you see a walking track into the bush. Little Jibbon is unmarked-it is easy to walk past it but if you keep looking to the left side as you walk, toward the ocean, you will see a spot where the trail does down to the sand. It took me less than 10 minutes walk from leaving Jibbon to get there. When I was there there were two nude males and a nude couple from Massachusetts (where I was raised) who of all things know someone on Nantucket Island I know!!!!! What are the chances??!! No facilities of any kind. Bring ample water and food. No shade.
CityRail train (Illawarra Line) from Sydney Central station to Cronulla. Distance of 34 km. Return fare weekday is $8.80. (Note: all prices are 2005 prices and may change). Weekend, discounted "off peak" return fare is $5.40. Ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena is $4.80 single and leaves hourly. On hour from Bundeena, on the half hour from Cronulla. Last boat from Bundeena is 7:00 pm! Verify all train and ferry times before setting out.
CityRail: http://www.cityrail.nsw.gov.au Telephone: 131 500
Cronulla Ferries: http://www.cronullaferries.com.au Telephone: (02) 9523 2990
Miacomet on Little Jibbon Beach
Werrong Beach. A second nude beach is in the southern part of Royal National Park, a huge preserve of bush and undeveloped beaches about 50 km south of Sydney. There is train service from Sydney through the park with a couple of stops actually in it. One of those is the hamlet of Otford. The name of the the legal clothing-optional beach is Werrong Beach. Upon exiting the train platform and station at Otford go up a footpath that climbs the hill next to the station. Follow this paved path up more until you come out to a road with views of the ocean. You can decide here if you need provisions or not. If so, there is a restaurant and takeaway to your right down the road. Make sure you have plenty of water. There are NO facilities of any kind in the park or beach. The beach is to the left (north). Carefully walk along the road and cross when you see a parking area/overlook. Locate the trail (there will be signs) and start hiking. It took me 40 minutes to get on to the beach from the carpark and I hike fairly fast. It is a good workout which discourages most from going. The beach of golden sand is set in a steep ampitheatre of green hills. Breathtaking location. Only seven others were there when I arrived, 3 nude males and 4 nude females. That was it. Bracing cool water. It is an east facing beach, so it is only good in mornings and until 2 p.m. latest. The hills are so high behind the beach the sun is lost early.
CityRail train (Southern Line) leaves from Sydney Central station at 7:37 am weekdays gets into Otford at 8:35 am. Weekdays leaves Otford at 4:06 pm arrives Sydney at 5:06 pm Distance is 52 km. Weekends leaves Sydney Central 8:42 am arrives Otford 9:40 am. Weekends departs Otford 4:18 pm arrives Sydney 5:14 pm. Weekday return fare is $12.00. Discounted weekend "off peak" fare is $7.40.(Note: all prices are 2005 prices and may change). These services are the only ones that will get you there for enough sun time as sun disappears so early. Check times by phone or website immediately before your trip. Schedules can and do change!!
CityRail: http://www.cityrail.nsw.gov.au Telephone: 131 500.
National Parks Website: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au Phone: (02) 9542 0648.
Miacomet on Werrong Beach
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