Monday, March 23, 2015

Opoutere Beach weekend

Our recent annual campout weekend at Opoutere Beach, on the Coromandel Peninsula was once again spectacular. I mean how could it not be with perfect weather, warm seas, a beautiful setting and a 5km long naturist beach. About 25 people came along and stayed in the camp ground with us. Although we had to wear something in the camp, it was only a short walk to the beach where we could be naked.

Some of us went swimming, some boogie boarding, some fishing, some walking, some all of that and one couple even brought along their kayak. The fishermen did better this year than in previous years, with one catching a large trevally. 

Someone even had a kite, while the children found all the items for the scavenger hunt and others dug a hole half way to Spain!  On Saturday night we all had a communal BBQ to round off a really great weekend. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Art Deco weekend - Napier

Although a textile event, 14 members of Bay of Plenty Naturists enjoyed this fun weekend in Napier over the weekend. Of course, we couldn’t don naturist uniform here, but had a lot of fun dressing up in the 1930s outfits. This annual event, commemorating the rebuilding of Napier after the 1931 earthquake in art deco style, is amazing and you would swear that you were transported back in time to the 1930s when you arrive. I can’t explain what is so great about Art Deco weekend. The atmosphere is amazing and unless you go and experience it, you really can’t ‘get it’.
It is impossible to put it into words how great it is, but the whole of Napier gets into it. Imagine everyone (kids too) wearing 1930s clothes, art deco buildings, Harvards and Tiger Moths flying overhead, jazz bands and dancing in the streets, a soap box derby (the Dads enjoy it as much as the kids), free concerts at an art deco soundshell and a Gatsby picnic on the waterfront (bring along the best china, lace table cloths, champers and cucumber sandwiches). Add to that the most amazing array of vintage (pre-1946) cars that you will ever see (the parade takes an hour to go by), and you can start to imagine what the weekend is about. And all this is free!
Next year, you really will have to go to ‘get it’.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

More fun at the beach

Bay of Plenty Naturists spent another fantastic day at Papamoa Beach today, under blue skies and with water so warm everyone had a swim - even me!
There were about 20 people from the group at the beach over the course of the day and several prospective members took away information about the group. We are hoping that some of them will join us for more fun events.

The waves were perfect for body boarding and although I hadn't tried it before, I found it easy to ride the waves on the board right up to the beach.
This was the first of many group beach days we will hold over the summer, so check in with me on if you are interested in joining us.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Campout, beach, birthdays, BBQ and outdoor movie

What a great time Bay of Plenty Naturists had at a private property in Tauranga over the weekend. We started on Friday evening when members started gathering to camp over two days. After dinner, we chatted around the fire on the warm evening and were hoping to see the comet, but a late shower put paid to that idea!
Our host had to be congratulated on his new classy toilet, which was a few grades better than last years and showed some great Kiwi ingenuity!

Saturday morning dawned showery and thoughts of going to the beach were looking dismal, until our local Papamoa weather man sent a text to say the weather was clearing. So we got our things together and headed to Papamoa Beach just as the clouds disappeared. It turned out to be a great day at the beach. The campers were joined by others in the group and with the air temperature rising, many headed straight into the surf, which was great for body boarding.

A sand castle and sand sculpture were constructed by some of the members - the sand sculpture consisting of a shark chasing a stingray which was chasing a small fish! It was a great creation until the local life guards stopped to warn us of a rip and drove straight over it! However the artists soon rectified the damage and the stingray managed to catch its prey and bite the tail off the small fish!

Once back at camp, we settled in for happy hour and celebrated the 135th birthdays of two members (65 and 70 years). After a communal BBQ, it was time to sit down and watch a movie called 'The Way' about the Camino de Santiago which a couple of members had walked a few months before. It was a magical setting under the palm trees on a perfect evening.

Special thanks must go to our member for dismantling the TV set in his lounge to allow us to see the movie. I did hear that while he was pulling it apart, he disconnected the internet just as his wife was sending some emails from another room - oops!
On Sunday, our very own 'Naked Chef' cooked breakfast for everyone. Once fed, we all sat around chatting until it was time to disperse and go our separate ways - until next month.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Recent events with Bay of Plenty Naturists

NZ Naturists weekend at Katikati Naturist Park
Another very successful weekend was enjoyed by 45 NZ Naturists, BOP Naturists and Northland Naturists recently. The fun sports were well contested, the potluck dinner well digested and the catered breakfast on Sunday morning eagerly consumed. On Saturday evening a slide show of some European naturist venues was shown. At prize giving the sports winners received a cup and a prize and everyone else went home with something more than they came with. 

Oropi hot pool night
Several NZ Naturists from Northland (also members of Bay of Plenty and Northland Naturists) and a couple from Brisbane who are members of Bay of Plenty Naturists stayed on after the NZ Naturists weekend to attend our hot pool night at Oropi on the Monday night.
We accommodated the Northlanders at our place for a couple of nights and when Monday dawned warm and sunny, we made a trip to Papamoa Beach. Although there was a strong on-shore wind, it wasn’t cold, and we had a relaxing time.
The hot pool night at Oropi was a great success. Over 30 people had a meal in the café and another dozen or so just came for a soak in the hot pool. This was a great evening of socialising in the beautiful surroundings.

Our European naturist holiday

The whole purpose of our recent trip to Europe was to take up my prize of two weeks accommodation on the Spanish Mediterranean island of Formentera, which I won in the Naturist Action Group’s photo competition last year. This island should not be confused with Fuerteventura, which is a Spanish island in the Canary Islands group in the Atlantic. As we were travelling so far, we decided to take a long holiday around Europe and visit some naturist venues in France and Spain along the way. Here is a brief rundown on our take on those sites, remembering that we were there towards the end of the European ‘summer season’ so there were not the crowds that can be expected in the peak season. It was actually the best time to go, as long as you don’t mind some shops and restaurants being closed in the resorts. After the end of September, many resorts close down completely.
 Montalivet: On the Atlantic Coast of France, on the Medoc peninsula near Bordeaux (wine country). This is a huge resort with over 3000 campsites and a 2km beach front. The business centre has a selection of shops so you don’t have to leave the site to go shopping, which can be done naked. There are restaurants, small supermarkets, a bakery, a butcher, delicatessen, a bank, laundry (to wash the clothes you arrived in which we did) and other shops – almost anything could be bought on site. 
Here we met up with fellow BOP Naturists from Tauranga, who were also on their way to Spain to undertake the El Camino de Santiago. The grounds at Montalivet were so large, that after a coffee (yes coffee!) at our friends' campervan one night, we got lost in the dark going home when we took a wrong turn and couldn’t find our bearings. Luckily a couple came along and pointed out the direction of the beach so we then knew where we were. For a moment there I thought we would be sleeping under a tree!
There are various accommodations on the site. We chose a Tithome – a Portacom with 2 bedrooms which were lockable and a canvas front with a fully equipped kitchen and dining area, the sides of which could be pulled back to make a bigger covered outdoor space. We also had an outdoor deck. They have more basic and much flasher cabins as well but our little Tithome served us well.
One beach access (there were two) was close to our accommodation. The long sandy beach, which is patrolled during the peak season, stretched out in both directions. The outdoor heated pool had a huge water slide, fountain and Jacuzzi. All in all a great experience and we would recommend it as a naturist venue to visit.

Vera Playa: This naturist beach at Vera in the south-east of Spain has 2000 privately owned apartments in gated communities, which gives a high degree of security. The streets outside the communities are open to the public with no fences or gates to go through to enter the naturist zone. The beach is a public naturist beach and you can go naked on the streets between the apartments and beach.
The apartments are all well equipped and in very good order and each block has its own swimming pool.
Inside the naturist area there is a hotel (need to be dressed after 8pm) and a few small shops and restaurants, but outside the naturist area (shown by a sign, not a gate) there is a large textile supermarket so clothes are needed to shop there.
The public streets not as tidy as inside the resorts so you would want to wear something on your feet if walking to the beach. We would definitely go back to Vera Playa and recommend it as a great resort-style naturist holiday.

El Portus:  This was another naturist resort in Southern Spain near Cartagena, an interesting old walled town with a huge Roman amphitheatre in good condition and archeological excavations that are still ongoing. It is a port and cruise ships were in port when we were there.
The resort is 12 km from Cartagena on the coast in a sheltered cove. The accommodation and baches creep up quite a steep hill above the beach. There is upmarket accommodation up the hill (the Hacienda) but you pay extra for the view! The camping area is at beach level where we had a self-contained cabin. The area was very dry and dusty with hardly a blade of grass. But it was close to a large ‘summer’ swimming pool and the beach.
This pool was about to be closed for the winter even though it was about 30oC during the day (but the crowds had left). During the off-season, the outdoor ‘winter pool’ up the hill is enclosed with a concertina roof and walls, which converts it to indoor. The beach consisted of small pebbles and sloped down quickly so was really only good for those who were confident in the water (which was quite warm according to Col). There were two restaurants (one had already closed for the season) but the second one up the hill commanded great views over the rocky coastline.
As a naturist camping spot, we would recommend El Portus as a good place to stay, especially with the beach and restaurants on-site. It was only 6 km to the small village of Canteras, where there are restaurants and a large supermarket.

Sierra Natura: This quirky naturist resort was situated up in the hills behind Valencia. On their web page it looked like Hobbiton and it sure was. All the buildings were in freestyle adobe construction.
As the area was quite elevated, it was cool which would probably be quite nice during the summer heat. The communal area was well equipped with a pizza oven, full kitchen, dining area and TV. WiFi was also available in the communal area. There is a large swimming pool, an indoor spa and sauna on-site, as well as a restaurant. However, we cooked in our cosy unit. There are several well marked bush walks of varying length around the property and the residents grow their own vegetables. This naturist resort is worth a visit even if just for its quirky architecture.

Cap d’Agde: We had heard a lot about this place – some good, some bad. So it was a good time to find out for ourselves! Being a purist when it comes to naturism, I didn't like Cap d’Agde. We'd gone with an open mind and even with most of the sexy lingerie shops and nightclubs for the swingers etc, being closed, we got the idea. The buildings looked very tired and in need of a lot of updating and renovation. The roads were full of pot holes and the gardens unkempt. However the beach was great which was the only good thing about Cap d’Agde as far as we were concerned. It just didn’t do it for us.

Formentera: Formentera is a very small, laid back island in the Mediterranean, 30 minutes by fast ferry south of Ibiza. The island is 20 km long with a land area of 83 km2 and around 10,000 permanent residents. There are no high rises on Formentera and no camping is allowed. The Spanish have such a relaxed and liberal attitude to nudity on the beach and on Formentera they are even more relaxed than on the mainland. Hence all the beaches here are clothes optional. However, during the peak summer season (June-September), the beaches become more textile, crowded and overrun with Italians in designer swimsuits. So if you were thinking of going to Formentera for a naturist experience, we would suggest the end of September/early October as the best time to go. Although some restaurants were closing down, there were still plenty open when we left mid-October. The island is dry and rocky with small sandy areas interspersed with rocky outcrops. Some beaches have rocky reefs, but once over these, the water is deep, very clear, warm and the bluest colour we have ever seen.
For the first week, we stayed in Es Calo, a small fishing village on the north side of the island, and for the second week at Migjorn Beach on the south side. Depending on the wind direction, we would choose the more sheltered side. Both our accommodations were first class for us “all we need is a bed” travellers.
Most days, we would wander down to the beach in a sarong (or shorts if cycling), find a spot amongst the textiles and strip off. No problem, no sniggering and no-one took a scrap of notice. We could totally relax and not be worried that some prude was going to come along and call the cops. There were couples, families, individual males and females and children all enjoying a day at the beach and whether you had togs on or not didn’t matter. Isn’t that a sensible and enlightening attitude?
We hired bikes and cycled the whole length of the island several times. On the northernmost tip, the peninsula was only about 100m across. This area, Ses Illetes/Llevant is advertised as an area where naturists gather, but we found that all beaches on the island (except maybe Es Pujols) were naturist friendly, with textiles and naturists mingling together and totally accepted. Es Pujols is apparently Formentera’s ‘party’ town with quite a few shops, restaurants, bars and apartments together with a few nightclubs. Here we didn’t see any naturists on the beach, although some women were topless.
The island is perfect for cycling (or mopeds) having only one hill, 150m high. We walked/cycled up the hill and got great views down the length of the island. At the end of the road, a few km from the town of El Pilar, there is a lighthouse at the most eastern point of the island, high above the sea.
The western side of the island only had one beach, a small cove called Cala Saona, which was a haven along the rocky coastline. To get there we had to cycle through the capital, San Francisco where there are shops, markets and restaurants. The island is criss-crossed with unsealed ‘green ways’ – mostly car-less dusty tracks with quite a few potholes! Cycling along here we could see how the locals really live with small farms running scruffy sheep and goats – the paddocks separated by stone walls – and also growing crops such as figs, grapes and vegetables.
To us the island was just paradise. Although we had to be dressed away from the beach, most of the time we just wore a sarong, except if we went for dinner at a restaurant. The weather was great – high 20s every day and down to low 20s overnight. The sun seemed less harsh than in NZ so we could be on the beach all day without getting burnt and developed a great all over tan!

If you are interested in reading more about our experiences on Formentera or the other naturist resorts we visited, take a look at my travel blog: Just remember that the first post is the most recent.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Bay of Plenty Naturists' winter activities

Although we are now into the winter months, it hasn't stopped Bay of Plenty Naturists enjoying social activities together.

Apart from or monthly swim nights at Oropi, we had a very successful 'A Night in Burma' at a members' house and also been out to the movies to see 'Mrs Brown's Boys - D'Movie'. This was a real hoot and everyone was giggling till the last of the credits rolled. The movie was followed by a drink at a local bar and then dinner at Chinatown.

Oropi swim nights will continue once a month month until Christmas and beyond. These swim nights are very well supported and there is nothing better than sitting under the stars in a hot pool, while socialising with people who think like you!