D · Primeval forest near Birgelen: Walk in May [20 May 2019]
Four of us had registered for Herbert's nude hike in the 'Vulkaneifel' Mountains and were looking forward to be actively nude there again, to see well-known naturists again and to get to know new ones.
However, in view of the forecast of thunderstorms in the hiking area, we decided at short notice, not to take the long drive to get there, and hiked instead in the 'Birgeler Urwald' [en: primeval forest near Birgelen] in the German-Dutch Nature Park Maas-Schwalm-Nette.
This choice gave us pleasant weather in May with sun, weak wind, and air temperature above 20 °C as well as a pleasant refreshing swim in a lake in the primeval forest.
We enjoyed bright green of spring, singing birds, and croaking frogs, as many other hiking and biking people did in the nature park. On the horizon it became sometimes dark, there were probably thunderstorms or rain. The rain did not arrive until we had finished our hike and were on our way home - we had probably made the right choice!
NZ · Report by Milt (USA): Nude Zealand [17 May 2019]
Milt (USA) was one of the very early birds at NEWT. Since 2009, he joined several NEWT groups for naturist hiking weeks in Austria.
In 2019, Nude Zealand was on the agenda. We could simply participate and enjoy the NZ tour, because Milt did a great preparation work. Now, we have got his report about our nude exploring of New Zealand in 2019:
I’ve been meaning for weeks to put together a brief report for you about Dan, John, Rainer and Milt’s Excellent Adventure looking for naturist opportunities in New Zealand. I would have to rate our efforts a grand success. We were nude more often than we might have reasonably expected.
6 to 10 Feb 2019: Te Anau
After Dan, John and Rainer arrived in Auckland early in February, we soon flew down to the South Island, where the Southern Alps in Fiordland National Park are famous for stunning scenery. Our first day out from our base at Te Anau, we crossed a river on a walk wire, a kind of minimalist suspension bridge, guaranteed to keep the average out-of-shape textile tourist away. Later we hiked nude up a stream looking for an elusive waterfall. All in all a good start.
The next day was cool and rainy, but we climbed up to a gorgeous alpine lake in a hanging valley and went for a skinny dip in its chilly waters.
On the third day we made a special arrangement with a water taxi to take us across a river to a beautiful circuit hike to a high lookout. Our special arrangement gave us an hour’s head start over others who came on the regular ferry schedule, so we were able to do essentially the whole circuit nude. Late in the day we managed a skinny-dip in nearby Lake Manapouri. And since it was late in the day, we walked nude back to the car along part of the famous Kepler Track (one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks) while running into very few late walkers.
On the fourth day we took the textile boat tour of Milford Sound in the morning, but in the afternoon we climbed up to Key Summit east of the Sound, and then had a great nude adventure following the ridge to the south of the Summit. The weird "Hobbit trees" of the patchy forest and the expansive views of several alpine lakes made that one of the most memorable of our excursions. Once again, thanks to our late-in-the-day timing, we (or at least the less cold-averse among us) were able to hike nude back to the car following part of another of the “Great Walks”, this one the Routeburn Track.
11 to 12 Feb 2019: Glenorchy
The following day, as we relocated further north, John and Dan got in a good skinny dip in giant Lake Wakatipu. After touring the beautiful botanical gardens in Queenstown and watching the famous jet boats speeding up and down the Shooter River, we headed west along another arm of Lake Wakatipu toward Glenorchy. We stopped off at a small stream and climbed nude through the bush to a hidden waterfall for another skinny-dip.
On the advice of our Airbnb hosts in Glenorchy, we went on day six to the ruins of an old gold-mining operation called the Invincible Mine on the mountainside overlooking the Rees River. The mine and a nearby stream were our nude playground for the whole day.
13 to 16 Feb 2019: Wanaka
On day seven we moved further north again to the Wanaka area. On the way we stopped at the birthplace of commercial bungee-jumping, at the bridge over the Kawarau River north of Queenstown. Fun to watch people throwing themselves into the chasm below.
On day eight we joined the textile crowds to see the thousand-foot-high waterfalls streaming off the Rob Roy Glacier. But on the way back we stopped a few kilometers away at a tall waterfall tumbling into a pool at the back of a sheep field, and enjoyed another skinny-dip.
On day nine we hiked nude all around the ruins of the Bendigo Gold Mine on the mountainside overlooking the Clutha River Valley. The next day we had to head back to the airport at Queenstown to fly to the North Island for the second stage of the Nude Zealand Adventure.
After a memorable experience on the South Island, Dan, John, Rainer and I flew back to the North Island to continue our quest for naturist opportunities in New Zealand.
18 Feb 2019: Raglan
Our first stop was the beach and surfer community of Raglan. On Day One, after checking out nearby Bridal Veil Falls, we went to the south end of long and gorgeous Ruapuke Beach, a black sand beach backed by dunes and cliffs. Some professional dog walkers beat us there, but the beach was so big near low tide that we could walk nude without offending anyone. We rounded a headland and enjoyed the sun, the surf and the rocks over lunch time. The only downer was that the little waterfall dropping directly onto the beach, into which Dan naturally threw himself immediately, smelled bad, thanks to the cow pastures on the bluffs above.
Our route then took us north across the flanks of Mt. Karioi, an extinct volcano that tumbles steeply into the sea. We did a nude hike part way up to the summit of the mountain, to where we had dramatic and sweeping views of the ocean and coastline.
Continuing around the mountain, we went to Ngarunui Beach, which naturists reportedly sometimes share with textiles. A long and broad and sandy beach, it easily accommodated our nudity along with the numerous late-afternoon textile dog-walkers. We ended up back at Raglan.
19-22 Feb 2019: Waitomo and Ohakune
On Day Two, as we relocated with Waitomo as our destination, we stopped first at Taharoa, another broad, empty black sand beach, perfect for nude exploration. We had to keep clothes on for the subsequent visit to Marokopa Falls, but we were alone in the Piripiri Cave further up the road and could explore it nude as far as the ambient light allowed. The last stop before Waitomo, the Mangapohue Natural Bridge, had too many textiles around, but we befriended one of them and introduced him (verbally at least) to the concept of nude hiking.
On Day Three, we had tickets for the “Black Labyrinth Tour” of Ruakuri Cave, a three-hour expedition that saw three of us don wetsuits and grab inner tubes to float through the cave marveling at the glow-worms lighting up the ceiling. I was naked under my wetsuit… but glad to have the warmth. (Rainer meanwhile took a private tour of the drier parts of the cave with two guides.) For the afternoon we did a nude hike down a forested trail to dramatic Omaru Falls.
On Day Four, we moved again, to the southernmost of our destinations on the North Island, at Ohakune. En route, we visited a pair of waterfalls (Tawhai and Taranaki) on the west side of volcanic Mt Ruapehu, the tallest mountain on the North Island. Though there were numerous textiles coming and going, Dan managed a brief skinny dip in the beautiful clear pool at the bottom of each cascade.
Day Five dawned cold, windy and rainy, so our plan to hike up the southern slopes of Mt Ruapehu had to be scotched, but not before Dan (and John?) had a brief but chilling nude hike in the howling winds. Further downhill, we were sheltered from the wind enough to visit Mangawhero Falls (with clothes as it is right by the road) and 128-feet-high Waitonga Falls (where Dan and John both braved the cold waters to take a skinny dip). Dan walked much of the 45 minutes back to the car nude.
23-24 Feb 2019: Rotorua
Day Six found us in Rotorua, like Yellowstone famous for its boiling lakes and bubbling mud pots. Too many tourists for nudity.
It was a different story on Day Seven, however, as we sought out the geothermally-heated streams, waterfalls and pools south of the town. We thought that nudity would not work at the first stop, called Kerosene Creek, when we saw a giant tour bus in the parking area, but Dan boldly requested permission from the occupants of the main pool and soon we all stripped off. Not far away we found the trailhead for Rainbow Mountain, and had a great nude hike both up and down (a 7 KM roundtrip), having to stay dressed only at the summit where textile tourists were lingering.
Late in the afternoon we made our way to a “secret” hot waterfall, and again got agreement from the few people who were already there that we could use it nude. Next on the list of the “hot water crawl” of Day Seven was the unique Hot ’n’ Cold Pool (AKA the Bridge), where a hot creek joins a slightly larger cold one, and you can choose your temperature as the waters mix. There were more than a dozen tourists in the water already, but Dan again sought and received agreement so off came the clothes. We capped off the day with a visit to a community-run hot pool, where agreement for nude use (“as long as there are no children here”) was again forthcoming from the four locals already in the pool.
25 to 28 Feb 2019: Katikati
After departing the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua, the intrepid naturist adventurers drove north and checked in at the Katikati Naturist Resort. It was interesting to note that the sign on the main road unabashedly announced the direction to the naturist campground. What we found was a pleasant but rather quiet establishment with a nice hot tub and a comfortable rental cabin that could accommodate all four of us, thanks to an inflatable bed provided by the management. We met a few other naturists in the hot tub or on the grounds.
That evening we drove about 40 minutes back toward the south to join some 25 members of the Bay of Plenty Naturists (a nonlanded1 traveling group) for their monthly soak in a large hot pool. The entry fee of just NZD 30 included a tasty dinner with a couple of choices for each course. We met quite a few members of the friendly group, including Graham (who had corresponded with John via the Free Range Naturism site) and Glenne, the organizer of the large and active group. Much of the discussion was about their plan, a week later, to begin a month-long naturist-oriented camper-van tour of the northern reaches of the North Island. They had 19 camper vans signed up to participate, which I found quite impressive for a small island country.
The next day we drove northwest about 1 hour from Katikati to the Karangahake Gorge. Karangahake was another of the gold rush towns that sprang up in the late 19th Century, only to collapse when the gold ran out. I was knocked out by a bad cold, so I mostly stayed in the car while John, Dan and Rainer explored the ruins of the gold mining and refining operations. There were dozens of tourists in the central area, but once the guys struck out on the trail up the gorge and away from the historic area, they were able to strip and enjoy the hike much more.
Recovering from an overnight fever, I stayed at Katikati the following day, but Dan, John and Rainer did a nude hike on a little-used trail to some of the giant Kauri trees. These giants, related to the araucaria trees of Brazil and the extremely rare Wollemi Pine of Australia, have origins dating back to the Gondwana supercontinent. They were logged almost to extinction by the European settlers in NZ, but now are mainly threatened by a fungus called Kauri Dieback Disease that attacks their roots. To visit an area with Kauri trees, one has to clean and spray footwear to avoid spreading the fungus. But they are impressive trees, making it worth the effort.
Well enough to resume activities, the next day I joined as we hiked nude to visit another stand of giant Kauri trees. Our next stop was Kaiate Falls, in the hills overlooking the coastal city of Tauranga. There were cars in the parking area, so we started the hike clothed, but lost the togs by the time we stopped for lunch at the bottommost fall and pool. The gorge and the falls were attractive, but since there were large cattle pastures higher up, the water quality was disappointing – a fact that did not keep Dan from a short skinny-dip.
After Kaiate Falls, we proceeded to the much higher Wairere Falls. We had to stay clothed on the trail to the first overlook, at the bottom of the falls, but few people make the steep trek up to the top, so Dan and I enjoyed a fully nude hike up to the top and then back down. Back at Katikati, we could soak our tired bones in the welcoming hot tub.
1 to 4 Mar 2019: AONC
The next day was March 1. We had hoped to join the Bay of Plenty (BOP) Naturists at Opoutere Beach, where they were planning to camp for the weekend before starting their northland camper-van caravan. Unfortunately, we discovered that none of the BOP Naturists group would arrive until the evening, and we were due further north by then. We consoled ourselves by hiking nude from the northern edge of a popular beach resort, Waihi, north across a headland to a mostly deserted and beautiful beach called Orokawa Bay. It was the perfect spot for a naked lunch and a skinny dip.
By the evening we checked ourselves in to the Auckland Outdoor Naturist Club (AONC). It occupies a stunning acreage of native bush in the middle of what has since become a busy suburb, less than half an hour from downtown Auckland.
In the hot tub early the next morning, I met an American woman, Sally, who has lived for 20-plus years in New Zealand and now lives mostly at AONC. Sally mentioned that she was organizing a “working bee” for later than morning to clear out some of the invasive species of plants that threaten to choke out the native plants in the undeveloped parts of the property. Though we had planned to head to one of the beaches west of Auckland, we all decided that it would be fun to meet some more NZ naturists while doing our bit for the NZ environment, so we volunteered for the working bee. Dan and I cut up some unwanted trees that had already been felled, and John and Rainer pulled out …, often called “wandering Jew2,” an invader ground cover that spreads mercilessly but is easy to pull up. Our volunteer efforts earned us a free lunch, giving us more opportunity to talk to the other naturists involved.
With the afternoon free, we decided to go to a lake formed by giant sand dunes that plug up a stream just inland from the beach. Having never been there herself, Sally agreed to accompany. We found that the giant dunes are a popular spot for teenagers to “surf” on boogie boards down the sand, so we had to stay clothed until we got partway around the lake, where we enjoyed a fine skinny dip.
The following day we explored several of the beautiful black-sand beaches west of Auckland, all of them backed by either dunes or cliffs. North Piha Beach, itself sometimes used nude, is the beginning of a beautiful but challenging track up and over a headland to White’s Beach – great fun to do in the nude. The steep descent is aided by wires embedded in the cliff. The difficult route keeps mostly out the textile public, so there were very few people there, and at least one other nudist, so we enjoyed about an hour in the afternoon sun. We finished off the day with a visit to another tall waterfall, too popular for nudity.
With our last full day in New Zealand, we decided to chill out at AONC. We played on the trampoline, hiked the trails through the preserved areas of the property, and organized for our departures the following day.
On March 5, Dan, Milton and Rainer flew off to […]3, and John flew back to the US, bringing to an end a memorable naturist adventure in NZ.
– Report: Milt (USA); photos: Milt and John (USA)
1 Naturist/nudist groups generally fall into two categories: the clubs who have a resort or plot of land where they are free to be nude, and the clubs (called traveling clubs or groups) who do not have their own land, but travel to visit nudist resorts or beaches or to go freehiking somewhere on public lands. Bay of Plenty Naturists is the latter kind of group because they do not have their own land (i.e. non-landed).
2 Latin name: Tradescantia
3 Surprise – will be reported later …
D · Westphalian Beginning of May 2019 [2 May 2019]
4 May: Breakfast buffet and ninepins in the nude [5 May 2019]
20 naturists met at the restaurant Zum neuen Herd for breakfast buffet, for chatting and afterwards for a sporting event on a ninepins alley.
It was still cold outside. Through the windows, we could see bushes, trees and garden umbrellas moved by the cold wind, rain showers enriched the weather spectrum. Even the dog of the house, who was on the way in the yard before, got too much and hid himself.
We gave up our plan to do a short hike of about 10 km afterwards and preferred to continue our conversation with an improvised coffee gossip at a warm oven.
3 May: Clothed hike in the Baumberge Mountains [5 May 2019]
Today, the announced flow of polar cold air was serious: A nasty wind blew persistently, and the measured 9 °C air temperature was felt to be 4 °C cold. Dressedwe still walked 17 km and about 400 meters in altitude in the Baumberge Mountains near Nottuln.
The Baumberge Mountains […] a kind of wedge, especially between the rivers Rhine and Ems. Due to their proximity to the sea, the mountain range contributes to the catchment areas of some rivers. The Hagenbach and the Stever flowing to the south are tributaries of the Lippe, which in turn belongs to the Rhine River. The Münstersche Aa flowing to the east belongs to the Ems River system. The Vechte, which rises near Darfeld at the foot of the Baumberge and flows northwest into the Netherlands, forms its own small river system with the Dinkel. The westbound Berkel flows into the Dutch IJssel. Source: wikipedia (DE, translated)
Single sunbeams cheered up our mood and even warmed us physically for a short time. Nevertheless, the wind remained impressive. In the beer garden at the Longinus Tower, a few climate testers sat outside in front of a cold beer. We preferred to walk on quickly and warmed up afterwards with hot drinks and food at the Hotel-Gasthaus Stevertal.
2 May: Nude hiking in the water catchment area Hohe Ward [3 May 2019]
The weather forecast – a bit cooler, windier, and cloudier than the day before – had deterred some of the hikers. The 10 remaining naturists were not discouraged, started with winds of 15 km/h, closed cloud cover and 11 °C air. Soon, they were rewarded with sun and rising temperatures, got rid of their clothes and could enjoy the day.
Shortly before the announced arrival of a rain front, the group reached their hiking destination – instead of rain, however, the front delivered only dark clouds and a few drops.
The encounters with clothed people were relaxed and friendly as usual. We were able to answer the witty question "Are motto days just taking place?" with a smile: "Yes, living active and as naturists is our style of life".
Later, when sitting down in the restaurant Zur Prinzenbrücke with attentive service and a good offer of food and drinks, we could let the beautiful day end.
Meanwhile, a light rain shower actually fell – but far too little to compensate significantly for the precipitation deficit since 2018 and to save the currently fresh, strong green in the water catchment area High Ward over the summer.
1 May: Hiking or biking near Nordwalde and Greven [2 May 2019]
The Westphalian beginning of May 2019 began cool at 9 °C, light wind around 10 km/h and closed cloud cover. Nevertheless, 17 naturists wanted to move in nature. So 8 started by bike and 9 on foot.
While we waited dressed at the starting place due to these weather conditions, about 50 people passed by on bicycles. Since everyone had to pass through a bottleneck privided by a small gate in a fence, there was a traffic jam due to the size of this group. A female cyclist approached us and asked, if we were the nude hikers. When we confirmed this, she reacted happily – she and some of the group then shouted on their leave: "Have a good one!". This was further evidence that our naturist lifestyle has arrived in society as a normal aspect of everyday life.
After approx. hiking 3 km on foot resp. 10 km on bycicle, we all were warm enough, to get rid of our clothes. In keeping with this, the wind had calmed down and the clouds had made way for the sun's rays – a beautiful beginning of May with sunshine and about 16 °C air temperature.
Residents, car drivers, and excursionists on foot and often by bicycle returned our greetings, were pleased or greeted us also themselves. The most frequent remarks were: "Aren't you cold?" and "Oops, barefoot, too". Two ladies, who went for a walk in the woods with their wheeled walkers on this beautiful afternoon returned our greetings. Then one of them shouted to the other: "I used to do naturism, too". Maybe, we should initiate a nude wheeled walk?
When the hikers passed the restaurant Lintels Kotten, where we sat down afterwards, in the buff about 1 km before their destination, many guests had their experience of the day and reacted joyfully active: The souvenir photos taken by some of our guests are a gladly accepted tool to make our nude life-style further known.