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Free Beaches in New South Wales.

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Sydney

Lady Bay (Lady Jane Beach) - Designated free beach (NSW Government)
Lady Bay is perhaps Australia's oldest and most publicised nude beach, well used by naturists long before being granted legal status in 1976. But this too was rescinded with the introduction of the new Local Government Act of 1993. Since then however the Woollahra City Council has voted to erect signs and give it legal status under the new laws.
Lady Bay is about 12 km north east of the city at Watsons Bay. From the city head out along New South Head Road (Route 76) which runs into Hopetoun Avenue and on to Watsons Bay. Turn left into Military Road and then drive as far as you can go along the one way streets of Pacific and Victoria. Park near Cliff Street then access to the beach can be gained via a pathway at the northern end of Camp Cove behind the Military Reserve.

Lady Bay (Lady Jane Beach)
Lady Bay at high tide. Photo: private

Little Congwong Beach - Traditional free beach
Make your way to La Perouse on Botany Bay and park in the car park just north of Bare Island, or take the bus from Circular Quay or Central Station. Walk down the steps to Congwong Beach and then across the walkway to Little Congwong Beach, the second bay. This beach is Sydney's best and most popular free beach, which is due to its accessibility by public transport, the local restaurants and cafes within walking distance, and the cleanliness of water and sand. Keep it clean and family-friendly!
Free Beach Action was convened in La Perouse to lobby Randwick City Council for a well deserved designated clothing optional status, as naturists were using the beach for over 40 years; the group also participated in Clean Up Australia and keeps it very clean. On weekends Little Congwong Beach is serviced by boat with ice cream and cold drinks.

Little Congwong Beach - clothing optional
Little Congwong Beach – clothing optional. Photo: Gerald Ganglbauer

Obelisk Beach - Designated free beach (NSW Government)
Obelisk Beach is on the southern side of the National Park area of Middle Head. To get to Obelisk Beach from the city cross over the Harbour Bridge and turn off toward Neutral Bay along Military Road (Route 14). Follow this road to Spit Junction. Continue straight ahead at Spit Junction through Mosman Junction and just after Raglan Street bear left into Middle Head Road. Follow this to the end where it turns into Chowder Bay Road. Take the first turn right. After about 100 metres park your car and follow the track to this beautiful beach. There is a bus service (route 244) that operates approximately hourly, on weekends (as well as during the week), that starts from Wynyard in the city and goes to Chowder Bay. There is a bus stop at the intersection of Middle Head Road and Chowder Bay Road making both Obelisk and Cobblers within 5 and 10 minutes respectively walking distance.

Obelisk Beach
Obelisk Beach deserted in winter. Photo: private

The Mosman Daily: Calls for cover up
By Jane Igoe, 30 May 2007
http://www.mosmandaily.com.au/article/2007/05/30/1059_news.html
The Mayor's Column
Cr Denise Wilton, Mayor of Mosman, 31 May 2007
http://www.mosman.nsw.gov.au/news/mayor/2007/05/31/obelisk-beach

Cobblers Beach - Designated free beach (NSW Government)
Cobblers Beach is located on the northern side of Middle Head. Follow the same directions as for Obelisk Beach but after parking, head north across Middle Head oval and follow the track to the beach. There is a second way to get down to Cobblers, which is to follow Middle Head Road about 300m past the turn-off for Chowder Bay Road. Then you can follow an unsealed road (on foot) called Cobblers Beach Road. It's a steady decline which is easier than the very steep track located at the edge of the oval. Cobblers is a very narrow beach and attracts a large number of boats. It is a great place for snorkelling around the rocks.

Cobblers Beach
The grassy area at Cobblers Beach. Photo: private

South of Sydney

Werrong Beach - Designated free beach (NSW Government)
Approximately 40 km south of Sydney near Stanwell Park is Werrong Beach, set in the Royal National Park. Gazetted in 1879, this was Australia's first National Park and only the second in the world.
From Sydney take the Princes Highway south to the F6 Freeway, and follow the signs toward Stanwell Park until you turn left to Otford Lookout. Go past the Royal National Park sign and park beyond the shop. From here walk up the good path to the Werrong Beach and Burning Palms Clifftop Walk. The path then descends steeply to Werrong Beach. The total distance around 1.5 km and steep in places, so it is not suitable for the elderly or the handicapped.
Werrong Beach is a large amphitheatre about 300 metres long, surrounded by cliffs with a grassed area behind the beach.

There are no other beaches in the Royal National Park that are suitable for nude bathing, as Bill Sullivan, Area Manager, Royal Area, points out in a letter dated 16 January 2008.

North of Sydney

There are several beaches in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park that are suitable for nude bathing, such as Basin Beach and Resolute Beach. Again, the main draw back with these beaches is the long walk to get to them. However, there is also a ferry from Palm Beach.

South Coast

Murrays Beach, Jervis Bay - Traditional free beach
Murrays Beach is located on the southern head of Jervis Bay. Follow Jervis Bay Road past the Naval College to its end. From the top end of the car park walk through to a small, sandy, sheltered beach regularly used by naturists. There is a small charge for parking in the car park. The area is owned by the Commonwealth and is maintained by the local aboriginal community.

According to Ian from Wollongong, Murrays Beach was originally unofficially nude, but after a major bushfire some years ago, Murrays became very popular with textile bathers, and the naturists migrated to the adjacent Hole in the Wall and Scottish Rocks. Good move, because Ian thinks Scottish Rocks is a much nicer and more spacious beach.

Scottish Rocks, Jervis Bay - Traditional free beach
Scottish Rocks is so simple to get to. Take the Jervis Bay turnoff off the Princes Highway, about ten kilometres south of South Nowra, and just keep on going along Jervis Bay Road. Scottish Rocks is just past Greenpatch and Bristol Point, and just before 'Hole in the Wall', another unofficial nude beach. If you come to Murrays Beach at the end of Jervis Bay Road, you've gone too far.

Myrtle Beach - Traditional free beach
Just north of Batemans Bay turn east off the Princes Highway to Durras. Turn right and continue behind the caravan park onto Old Coast Road. About 1.5 km down this road you will find a car park for Myrtle Beach. It is then only a short walk to this unofficial clothing optional beach.

Hello, my wife and I were recently at Myrtle Beach on the South Coast, which as far as I know is an un official nude bathing area. We were wondering what is the protocol, for want of a better word, for nude bathing at this beach for example when there are clothed family groups with kiddies. The day we attended there were several family groups with clothes on, so we were a bit uncertain as to what to do. Many thanks, Vince and Danielle.

Armands Bay Beach - Designated free beach (Council)
Situated 10 km south of Bermagui on the Bega/Tathra road and 2 km south on the right hand side from the one lane wooden Guttagee Lake Bridge. Access is gained via Kullaroo Road. There is 5 minute walk to the beach via a well maintained track.
It is an easterly facing beach of 250 metres in length with quite good body surfing. There are no toilets at the beach and it is essential people take whatever they want to eat and drink with them. More information is available at www.armands.org.au

Armands Bay Beach
Rated as one of the prettiest and accessible nude beaches in the world.

Central Coast

Birdie Beach - Designated free beach (Council)
Birdie Beach can be reached by travelling along the expressway from Sydney and taking the Newcastle exit. Follow the Pacific Highway through Doyalson to Lake Munmorah. At Lake Munmorah take Elizabeth Bay Road at the traffic lights. Continue until you see the entrance to the Munmorah State Recreational Area on the left. Turn into the park and follow the signs to the Birdie Beach car park. There is a fee per vehicle to enter the park. There is a nice camping area just off the beach with cooking facilities, plus a toilet block but no hot showers.

North Coast

Samurai Beach, Anna Bay - Designated free beach (NSW Government)
To reach Samurai Beach, sometimes referred to as North One Mile Beach, leave the Pacific Highway north of Raymond Terrace and head for Nelson Bay or Port Stephens. To the south of Nelson Bay go in to Anna Bay and then head north along the coast road to Samurai Point. Alternatively you can continue almost in to Nelson Bay then turn right and follow the coast road back.
There are several routes in to the beach itself. If you park at One Mile Beach at the southern side of Sandfort Caravan Park you must walk north along the beach for about 1 km to a rocky outcrop. The clothes optional area starts 200 metres north of here. From Middle Rock Caravan Park there is a track through the sand dunes to the beach. Slightly north of this park there is a four wheel drive track leading on to the beach.
Samurai Beach is 1 km in length with rocky outcrops at either end. It is very natural and beautiful, and ideal for fishing, snorkelling etc. The clothes optional area includes the entire length of the beach. If you are looking for accommodation, the Samurai Beach Resort (former Bardot's) is a very worthy option.

Shelly Beach, Forster - Traditional free beach
About one km north of Bulahdelah turn off the Pacific Highway and take the 'Lakes Way' route to Forster. This road winds its way through some very scenic country to Pacific Palms. Continue on to the Elizabeth Beach car park. From here it is a 10 minute walk along the track leading up the hill and over the ridge to Shelly Beach. If you are travelling south along the Pacific Highway you can turn off just south of Taree and go down through Tuncurry and Forster to Pacific Palms.

Miners Beach, Port Macquarie - Traditional free beach
From Port Macquarie head south along Pacific Drive to Shelly Beach (not to be confused with Shelly Beach in Elizabeth Bay). The local council has built a boardwalk from here to Miners Beach which is an unofficial clothing optional beach. There is also a track to this beach from Lighthouse Road.

Miners Beach, Port Macquarie in the news: Do you want a nudist beach?
By LISA TISDELL - IT'S all a matter of context. That's the issue
authorities face as they try to solve the problem between nude bathers
and walkers at Port Macquarie's Miners Beach. 12/07/2006
Port Macquarie News http://portmacquarie.yourguide.com.au
Poll: Should the Mid-North Coast have an official nude beach?
http://www.focusmag.com.au/pages/june.php

North Smoky Beach, Hat Head National Park - Designated free beach (Council)
From Captain Cook's Lookout on Smoky Cape, the Jack Perkins Track (1.4 km return, medium difficulty) descends through a series of plant communities including pockets of vine-entwined rainforest and dry woodland. The path emerges at North Smoky Beach. This beach is not patrolled, with frequent rips and strong ocean currents.

Little Diggers Beach, Coffs Harbour - Traditional free beach
Little Diggers Beach is on the northern outskirts of Coffs Harbour, and over the last twelve years or so has become the main unofficial clothes optional beach in the area. Well aware of its existence the local authorities have adopted the view that so long as nothing untoward happens it will be a case of 'live and let live'.
About 3 km north along the Pacific Highway is the Big Banana tourist complex. To get to Little Diggers Beach you take the road directly opposite this famous landmark and follow it through to the coast. It is advisable to park in the car park then walk through to the main beach. Proceed to the northern end of this beach, cross over a small rocky headland and you are on Little Diggers Beach.

Kings Beach, Byron Bay - Traditional free beach
One of the great attractions near Byron Bay is Kings Beach at Broken Head. From Byron Bay take the coast road south toward Ballina. After about 8 km turn left to the Broken Head Caravan Park. Just before you enter the caravan park a narrow gravel road leads off to the right into the National Park. Follow this road to the car park on top of the hill. Space is very limited so only the early birds get into the car park. After that it is a case of do the best you can. A well maintained track leads down through the rain forest to Kings Beach. The walk alone makes the visit worthwhile. Although not a long distance it is rather steep so take only the essentials.
Kings Beach is absolutely delightful, with huge rocky outcrops at either end, and a wide sandy horseshoe bay in between. Grassy sand dunes at the back give way to the forest covered hills behind. Pandanus Palms at the southern end provide some shade from the hot sun but an umbrella may be wise as the amount of shade is limited.

North Belongil Beach, Tyagarah - Designated free beach (Council)
Belongil Beach, Byron Bay - Traditional free beach
There are two ways to get to North Belongil Beach. First of all you can turn east into Grays Lane from the Pacific Highway about 4 km north of the main Byron Bay turnoff. This will take in to the northern end of the legal nude bathing area. About three quarters of the way down Grays Lane the road veers left. Soon after this you may find a few cars parked on the side of the road. This is where you will find a delightful ti-tree lake tucked away in the bush on the northern side of the road - a very popular unofficial nude swimming spot.
There is plenty of parking in the sand dunes right behind the beach which means minimum walking. As this beach is located in Tyagarah Nature Reserve National Park day visiting fees apply. There are facilities to pay in the car park and toilets are provided. The legal area is from the car park south to a point about 500 metres north of the Byron Bay Beach Club. Locals do tend to use the area to the north of the car park as an unofficial nude area. Nudity is not permitted in the car park.
The other way to get into North Belongil Beach is to take the main Byron Bay turnoff at the Pacific Highway then turn left at the BP service station and follow that road all the way to the Byron Bay Beach Club resort. From here it is a short walk through to the beach and then about 500 metres north along the beach to the southern end of the legal nude bathing section. If you are looking for accommodation in the area, the Beach Club is a very worthy option.
Of course you could even walk all the way from town, but locals and backpackers also tend to use Belongil Beach unofficially south of the Beach Club, at the end of the residential area, just before Belongil Creek enters the sea.

National Parks annual passes & vehicle entry fees: At some New South Wales parks and reserves, you'll need to pay a daily entry fee when you visit in your vehicle. This only applies to 44 parks – less than 10 per cent of all the protected areas they manage.
However, it only takes a few visits to NSW national parks to discover that it's more convenient and economical to purchase an annual pass. This saves you money, and it's much easier than buying day passes each time you visit your favourite park. After just a few visits, your annual pass will pay for itself! You'll also be supporting nature conservation and improvement of facilities in the park: Choosing and buying your annual pass. We recommend a Multi-Park Pass.

Acknowledgement: This information was gathered by Bob Reed and Jo Mulholland of the former Free Beach Association of New South Wales, and Gerald Ganglbauer. To keep this public resource as current as possible send your updates to freebeach@gangart.com.

© 2005-2011 Gerald Ganglbauer | Back | last updated 9 February, 2013