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!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Another great night at Oropi

WOW – what can I say but WOW! Our first visit to Oropi hot pools for over a year took place last night and what a great night that was. A huge turnout of over 40 members soaked in the hot pool, with 30 or so of those members dining in the refurbished café and then soaking again. Now that the hot water bore problem has been repaired, we can look forward to many more monthly get-togethers at this fabulous location.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mid-winter Polar Bare Plunge

Well I never knew there were so many members of the group that were keen on jumping into a cold pool in the middle of winter! But that was what happened at the annual polar plunge at Katikati Naturist Park over the weekend, when over 20 members of the group braved the annual mid-winter ‘plunge’. The weather was a mix of wind gusts, showers and sunny spells but the rain held off long enough for the madness to happen. The pool temperature was a balmy 14oC, warmer than last year when it was only 11oC. 

After the plunge, there was a mad dash into the spa pools and sauna to warm up. All participants then were warmed on the inside with some mulled wine and savouries.
Thanks to those who braved the elements to take part. Happy hour and a shared pot luck dinner followed, which rounded off a great winter activity for the group.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dinner at Chinatown

We are now into our winter get-togethers and last night we held a very successful night at Chinatown in Tauranga. Twenty-four members came first to World’s End bar for a drink, before heading next door to Chinatown for the best smorgasbord in town.

It was great to see so many of you there and also some new faces. It was really good to meet up again with old friends of mine from way back, who have recently moved from Wellington to Tauranga. It was also great that three members came all the way from Whakatane to join us in Tauranga. That was much appreciated – thanks guys. Hope you enjoyed meeting ‘the locals’.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Campout in the Waikato

Fifteen members of Bay of Plenty Naturists came along to Little Waipa Reserve beside Lake Karapiro over the weekend, some arriving on Friday afternoon to set up camp. One couple brought a gazebo along, so together with the party tent we had plenty of shelter.
Camping by Lake Karapiro
On Saturday, after the fog cleared to a beautiful day, seven of us completed a section of the cycle ride on the Waikato Cycle trail between the camp and Arapuni dam – a distance of 5.5km each way. For some of us, the uphill sections were a bit much so we walked those and a few also walked the steep downhill sections as well – I was never a keen mountain biker! But it was a lovely day and we all enjoyed the ride with no mishaps. We had lunch overlooking the Arapuni power station.
After lunch, the brave (not me) went over the suspension bridge and met me back on the trail. The ride back to camp was overall downhill so a little easier. Once back at camp we joined several others who had arrived while we were away. After happy hour we had a shared meal under the shelter of the gazebo.
On Sunday, the fog was quite thick on the lake. But once it cleared, we broke camp and headed to the other side of Putaruru to Te Waihou Spring (Blue Spring). There were almost no cars in the car park when the eight of us started out but this soon changed.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the spring… Along the way, we came to a bridge, where three of our members thought could be a good place to strip off for a swim in the cold water (why they wanted a cold swim I still don’t understand)! While they were contemplating if it was suitable, three walkers came along. The man said “What a great place for a skinny dip”! We said “Go ahead – we don’t mind” and I added “We are naturists. We will if you will!!” (Note that when I said ‘we’ that didn’t include me)! So with that challenge in hand, he started stripping off, quickly followed by our three. They all got in to the water which is reputed to be a constant 11oC at the spring.

Once out of the cold water, our three new friends walked with us to the spring, stayed there with us for lunch (where they went for another swim, much to the amusement of another couple who arrived while they were in the water) and then walked back to the car park with us.
Once back there, one of our new friends produced a cake which she shared with us all and we provided a hot drink, which warmed everyone up. Isn’t it amazing that on a walk miles from anywhere, you can meet up with others who have the same mindset as us!!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Campout at Matata Beach

What a great weekend we had at a private property right on the beach front at Matata over the weekend. Thirty six members came along either for the day or to stay on the property in tents or campervans which made for a great weekend - of course topped off by fantastic sunny and windless weather.
The new gazebo worked a charm as 'party central', giving well needed shade and a central meeting point for afternoon tea, happy hour and a communal BBQ on Saturday night.
As the venue was very private, we were able to be naked both on the property and on the beach, with only a few people walking past and those that did were not at all perturbed by the naked group who were just doing what everyone else was - trying to catch that elusive fish! At one stage we had 14 fishing rods out, but still only the occasional kahawai was caught. One member managed to get a crab, so we knew then where all the bait was going!
A couple of fish which were big enough to eat were landed but most were foul hooked by spinners and were only suitable as bait. The biggest kahawai was smoked and handed around at happy hour for all to sample. It couldn't have been fresher and tasted yummy.
What a wonderful venue, great people and great weather. How could you not enjoy all this - and all au naturel to boot!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Opoutere Beach 2014

We have just returned from another fabulous weekend at Opoutere BeachSaturday dawned misty with occasional drizzle and with the humidity probably at 100% because even under shelter we got wet! Some of the keen fishermen amongst us headed off early to the beach. One came back with a good sized snapper, which he took the risk of putting in our frig. Despite our attempt to convince him it had been morphed into a tin of sardines, it left Opoutere to be shared with his mother who I am sure enjoyed it.
After lunch, we all headed off to the beach. By now the drizzle had left us but was clinging to the hills. Despite the lack of sun, it was still warm and didn’t stop some people swimming, while four of us walked ‘au naturel’ along the 5km beach to the ‘island’ at the north end. We met a few people along the way who weren’t at all worried about our nakedness. As we got halfway back to our gear on the beach, the drizzle returned, but luckily it was coming from behind us and quite refreshing.

We returned to camp to dry off and prepare for happy hour, which was a cosy affair under our awning and umbrellas! However, as if on cue, the weather cleared by dinner time enabling us to enjoy a shared BBQ without getting wet while cooking or eating.

The fisher folk headed off early the next day to the estuary while the rest of us had breakfast, after which we joined them. By the time we got there, one of them had already landed a good sized kahawai. Two other members then decided to have a swim in the calm waters of the estuary and just after they got out, we spotted a dark shadow in the shallow water. We initially thought that it was a large stingray, but as the creature glided past us in the clear water, doing a couple of circuits right in front of us, we realised that it was a two metre (plus) bronze whaler shark, no doubt looking for a stingray, its favourite food. Although humans are not usually part of a bronze whaler’s diet, I think the swimmers were glad that they had left the water when they did!

Back to camp for lunch and while some packed up, we headed back to the beach to ride the waves, as the sea was perfect with long straight surf. As well the sun was out, making a great end to a fantastic weekend. We will return again same time, same place next year.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Waikato Outdoor Society's mini-fest

Many members of Bay of Plenty Naturists spent a pleasant long weekend at Waikato Outdoor Society last weekend for their annual mini-fest.
Some of the sports played over the weekend included indoor bowls, darts, miniten, petanque, mini-golf, croquet, kubb and ladder golf. As well, the solar heated pool was well used by everyone, especially on the Sunday when the outside temperature soared to 29 degrees Celsius.
Lots of members did well in the sports, while others didn't fare so well, although Col and I did try hard! The raffle prizes were substantial and Col was lucky enough to win one of the quickfire raffles. On Friday night, a quiz was held with the BOP Naturists team scoring second.  This was followed by a movie, 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' which was entertaining. On Saturday night, after the catered dinner, a music video had many up dancing while the others sang along to the well known songs.
We were well fed, with a sausage and bread on Friday night, a catered spit roast with pork and beef on Saturday night and a cooked breakfast on Sunday all included in the registration fee.
Well done WOS - it was a great weekend and although a little damp on Saturday morning, it wasn't enough to stop the keen petanquers from keeping the draw running to schedule.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Impromptu gathering of BOP Naturists

By co-incidence, two couples from out of town who are members of BOP Naturists were visiting us in Tauranga for lunch on consecutive days. Unknown to us, the four of them knew each other from previous get-togethers with the group. One couple was already booked to stay at BOP Naturists exclusive park-over-property in Tauranga for the night, so the others also decided to join them there. On the spur of the moment, Col and I also decided to pack up the bus and drive 10 minutes from home to join them for happy hour and dinner. After a lovely evening sitting around chatting, Col and I decided we might as well stay over for the night as well.
Of course, as is becoming the norm for BOP Naturist gatherings, our own 'almost naked chef' was on hand to cook breakfast. However this time his role was taken over by a true 'naked chef' who cooked the breakfast for the rest of us, while our 'almost naked chef' looked on.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Our latest event in Tauranga

It was another great event for those who came to our Pyes Pa weekend, starting with happy hour and a BBQ on Friday night. Saturday dawned without a cloud in the sky, so most of us headed to Papamoa Beach for the day. The new boardwalk takes us directly to our part of the beach making access easy and with the large numbers of other naturists present on the beach on Saturday, it certainly seems to be attracting a lot to the beach. At the same time, it has opened up the sand dunes to make it less attractive to the undesirable element that inhabit the dunes and give us a bad name.
The guys helped to put up a sign…

…then Col decided to try out his new Christmas present for the first time…

On Sunday, our ‘almost’ naked chef cooked us breakfast on the BBQ. 

With the day looking a bit dreary, we welcomed some other members for morning tea who had just come out from Ngatuhoa. 

A spontaneous invitation from a couple who are members of the group to visit their home a few kilometres away for a hot swim was eagerly taken up so after lunch all those present car-pooled up to their three acre block for a swim in their fabulous thermally heated pool. 
The water slide was used by some hardy blokes and one very brave woman. One guy mastered the head first entry…

But it wasn’t just a hot swim. After an hour in the lovely warm water, we were served some food including some beautiful fresh orange juice and warm plum juice. Some members were shown their medicinal herb garden, with one herb enthusiast leaving with several cuttings.
I would like to thank our generous members for hosting us for this event. You gave us all something wonderful to do on a wet day.
On Monday, a few members ventured east to the Bay of Plenty Sun Club for the day, with some staying overnight. This ended a great weekend for group members despite the slightly dodgy weather.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bay of Plenty Naturists visit Bay of Plenty Sun Club

It was great weather for the BOP Sun Club's visitor weekend, to which BOP Naturists were invited. There was a huge turnout at the club grounds of BOP Sun Club members, BOP Naturists who didn't belong to the club and other visitors who had seen or heard the publicity in the media about the day. The pool was tepid and was well used by those present.
The organisation was great, starting with heaps of promotion on the local radio station. A couple of members put signs on the road to the club so that some (one) BOP Naturist (I won’t mention his name) could find the place after nearly giving up. Oh well, it was his birthday so I guess we can forgive him!
The BBQ at lunchtime cooked both days by the club's naked chef saved us making our own and the mystery auction was a different fundraising idea, instead of the usual raffle. Many of the goods auctioned were donated to the club by a member and all were sold at very reasonable prices. Mr (and Mrs) Whippy came along both days and supplied us all with ice creams. 
It was really great and a fantastic effort by the committee. Well done guys – you did the club proud.