It was great weather for a day at the beach last weekend (Sat 19th Nov, 2011). I heard that there was going to be a game of nude beach cricket between the Coast and Valley Naturists (CAVN) and Bare Tracks up at Samurai Beach in Port Stephens on the Saturday so thought I would make a day trip out of it and go and check it out. I had been wanting to visit Samurai beach for ages after reading about the Nude Olymics which they use to hold there each November. The most recent reference to the Nude Olympics I could find however was from 2009, but there doesn’t seem to be any mention about what happened to it after that. Whether a change in seasons was desired or a change in organisers, it seems that in recent years the Nude Olympics has been changed to the Nude Carnival which is now organised by CAVN and is in early February each year.
Samurai beach is a really nice beach. Like all clothing optional beaches though it is miles away from everything but once you get there it is 1.2km of fine white sand, no sea weed, clear water and a sandy bottom in the water. The beach is also one of the few in Australia that you can drive your car onto, so alot of people pack up the 4WD and head to this beach specifically because you can park on the actual beach. Not everyone on the beach was nudist either, infact if anything this beach is what I picture to be the future of public acceptance of the human body will be. There were people who were naked or partly naked right along side families who were not, and no one was throwing a fit that the kids would be traumatised, no one pointed and stared. There was a couple where the man was naked but the woman was clothed, there was another family where both parents were naked but their daughter was clothed, then there was another family where the man and the woman and their two sons were all clothed all right next to each other, just enjoying a day out at the beach.
Indecency laws should be removed from all beaches, if people are comfortable enough and felt like swimming or catching some sun nude then they can, but if they don’t, they don’t have to, but like at samurai, all degrees of nudity from complete to not at all are all completely fine. Oregon in the United states has the right idea where the right to public nudity apparently is up-held as a right to free speech and people have a right to appear naked everywhere (wikipedia reference). I don’t know how long that particular freedom has been in place, but I have not heard of Oregon as being anything other than a normal state like all the others. Apparenly in recent years though some individual towns are withdrawing the right to appear naked in plublicly owned land.
Going to that extreme seems unnecessary to me. I agree that any sort of lewd or in appropriate behaviour should not be tolerated, but then again behaviour like that should not and is not tolerated anywhere, clothed or not, so it really doesn’t make a difference what the dress code on the beach is. It is not as though the people at other beaches around Sydney such as Coogee, Bondi, Manly, Balmoral or anywhere else around the world for that matter are wearing that much more any way.
I took my tools along to make a sand sculpture. I was planning on making a little village with houses on either side of a central street, and perhaps a giant squid coming out of the ocean to get them all, but the tide was coming in too fast so I just changed it to a single hut, but sadly the tide beat me even to that. Below is a picture I took of the last remaining quarter before posidon claimed the whole thing. Sad.
Finding the general area of the beach is not too hard, Port Stephens generally is well sign posted, up the F3 past Newcastle, and Anna Bay was easy enough to get to.
Once you get to the beach on Gan Gan Rd though there isn’t too many clearly marked ways to get on to the beach its self and there isn’t really anything in the way of parking on the street. From what I could see most people who used this beach tended to come in their 4WD and just drive onto the beach and park there, which is great if you have that sort of car. Sadly I don’t so I parked on the side of the road in a side street called Eucalyptus Drive. No shade in the morning, but not a bad place to put the car.
The way up to the sand dunes behind One Mile Beach which is just to the south of Samurai Beach is at the end of Eucalyptus Drive where I put the car. The photo below shows the view. The way up the dunes is opposite the bus stop you can just make out in this photo behind the tea-trees.
This is the Bus stop.
Then if you turn around you can see the steep sand track going up behind the trees.
Once you get up to the top, there is 311m of sand dunes ahead of you to get to the actual beach. In the photo below, this is looking directly towards the ocean when you come up the path, which is One Mile Beach. Samurai beach is off to the left in this view.
It is easiest if you cross the dunes to the beach and walk along the beach to the rocky outcropping to the north, after which is the start of Samurai Beach.
This is a view along Samurai beach from about two thirds of the way along it where I was, looking back south, so it really is a very long beach, with great sand.
This is a view north along Samurai beach which is the last third of the beach. These are also designated camping grounds, so you are allowed to camp on the actual beach and up in the dunes. Plus as it happens it is Australia’s only clothing optioinal camp grounds.
Anyway after I had had enough bech and sun for the day I went into Nelson Bay in search of ice cream and came across this great pie shop called Red Ned’s Pie Shop.
It is probably hard to make out from the photo, but they had this truely massive range of pies. Always being a fan of a good pie I decided to have one. Ordinarily I would always have a steak and kidney pie whereever I find one since they are quite hard to come by these days, especially in big cities like Sydney. In smaller country towns they tend to be more common. But since there were so many other flavours to choose from that I probably couldn’t find anywhere else I decided to have something unusual. The one I chose was a lobster, prawn and baramundi pie. I wasn’t too convinced that a seafood based pie would be any good, but it was unusual so I thought I would give it a go. I am glad that I did since it was absolutely delicious. Steak and kidney pies will always have a special place in my heart, but this lobster, prawn and baramundi pie was to die for, it wasn’t too salty or cheesy as seafood pastry dishes tend to be with heavy mornay bases, but it was light and creamy and all the flavours of the seafood used came through with out being too overpowering or fishy. The crisp, flakey pastry around it was a delight too (so much better than the wet, soggy, microwaved pies you get at seven eleven stores or servos!!).
Afterwards I went to a Baskin and Robins store that was just around the corner from the pie shop. There is an icecream store down at the harbour area of Nelson Bay but it is not as good as the Baskin and Robbins, it is just convenient so lots of people go to it. The ice cream and the flavours you can get are better at the Baskin and Robbins. I had a chocolate brownie sunday in which you can choose two flavours of ice cream you want so I had chocolate mousse and pomegranate swirl. While I certainly can’t fault the design of the sunday covering the ice cream in brownie peices and hot fudge sauce, the pomegranite swirl icecream was delicious just by its self and well worth a look if you wanted something more simple. The chocolate mousse icecream is smooth and very chocolatey, whilst still being creamy. The chocolate fudge sauce is brilliant. While I am sure it is just the commercially produced sauce of this franchise, it is delicious with a great chocolate flavour and the right amount of drizzly thickness.
So all in all a delightful day out, and well worth taking the time to get out of Sydney to find all these out of the way places.