Clothing Optional Accommodation Australia
At first, the nudists warmly welcomed a clothed journalist to their private winter holiday haven. Then things turned chilly …
Some people might have been disappointed to see one of Australia’s oldest and best known nudist colony resorts for sale. Not me.
I’m embarrassed to confess I know the place well. And, in return, it also knows me rather more intimately than I’m truly comfortable with. Because it’s seen me bare all … and yes, even in the middle of winter where any and every appendage is at dire risk of turning blue within minutes.
It’s a gorgeous chunk of commercial real estate and maybe a new owner will turn the 570-hectare slice of secluded wilderness with its own accommodation, spa and pools into a lovely rural retreat. Alternatively, it could make a great outdoor activity centre, conference hub or high-class resort.
And all – with the exception of what individual guests might choose to do behind closed curtains in the privacy of their cabins – with their clothes firmly on.
So why do I feel so strongly about this? Well, journalists are sent on some interesting assignments at times and that was one of the most memorable. I was told to go check out the resort and talk to some of the regular nudist guests about their perplexing passion for getting their kit off.
Obediently I went along, rugged up for a highlands winter weekend with perhaps even an extra layer of clothing, just in case. All went well in the beginning. It seemed a nice place, if a little rundown, and it was certainly busy.
Four-wheel driving, bushwalking, fishing, canoeing and swimming are all on offer at River Island Nature Retreat – clothing is optional. Photo: Supplied
In fact, it was so busy there wasn’t much space left for a journalist writing a story on the resort. I was dispatched to an old caravan to sleep in, along with my partner whom I’d dragged along against all his better instincts and protestations.
I’ve never been colder in my life. It was a freezing July night, with the temperature dipping below zero, and the single bar heater didn’t work. The only thing that did was the old gas cooker next to the seat that folded into a narrow bed. Sitting at 3am, dressed in every single piece of clothing we had, trying to defrost our hands and faces over the flames, does not a good night’s sleep make.
But on the plus side, the people seemed perfectly nice. The next morning, over breakfast, I did a number of interviews and all the subjects were all terribly intelligent, had good jobs back in Sydney or Canberra and were keen to communicate the joys of doing everyday things with their bits unshackled by the strictures of clothing.
I concentrated hard on my notebook during these exchanges, trying desperately not to ever look at said bits.
As the day wore on, it got even colder and some even put on the odd piece of clothing. Yet weirdly – to me, at least – that clothing constituted beanies and socks for women, and jumpers for men.
Those parts of the body usually considered too rude for public display were still being determinedly flaunted.
Some of them happily also posed for pictures, although on my insistence with legs strategically crossed, arms hiding specific areas of the body or at an angle that would tastefully expose far less than a few wanted to.