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Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island, Queensland: From nudist favourite to family friendly

TIME : 2016/2/26 15:57:52

It might still be hot "Oop North" but in dear old Queensland you go on a nakation at your peril because it's the only state in which there are no legal nude beaches.

Lithe and not so lithe banana benders do continue to bare all at unofficial nude venues like Alexandria Bay, near Noosa, and, not long ago, backpackers, day-tripping naturists and Teutonic tourists flooded to the one Barrier Reef island where letting it all hang out among the coral was the major attraction.

That Edenesque tropical island is Fitzroy, 22 kilometres and a 45-minute boat ride east of Cairns, shrouded in rainforest and covered by National Park status. It's a large chunk of continental island formed during the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago, when clothes were definitely not optional.

And the imaginative name for the secluded, boulder-framed beach popular with naked pilgrims?


Reached via a 1.2-kilometre track from the modern resort that was completely rebuilt in the late noughties, Nudey continues to exert a powerful fascination, with visitors of all demographics making the trek, "just to see what's around the corner" as one resort guest puts it.

However, on closer inspection, there is nothing to see here, move right along please.  Nowadays, overexposure on Nudey occurs mainly in photos, capturing the glare of the Tropical North Queensland sun bouncing off the dead white coral forming the beach.

The moral majority have millionaire property developer Doug Gamble, who bought and renovated Fitzroy Island in 2010, to thank for the new stark reality.

"Let's face it," said Gamble at the time, "not a lot of nudists are the Greek gods and goddesses they imagine themselves to be."

"This is a resort for couples and young kids," he added, pronouncing the cover-up at Nudey, "I'm not very open to nudists taking over a family-friendly beach".

Those visiting now will find the Island largely G-rated.  And those who can't resist the lure of getting their gear off, run the risk of wearing a detailed engraving of the beach's broken bits of stag horn coral on their behinds. Not to mention, during the November to May stinger season, getting something very, very undesirable wrapped around their tackle, when swimming.

Fitzroy was another island given its name by that clever Yorkshireman, James Cook, as he passed by in the late 18th century, to big-up a politician back home.

However, there is apparently no truth to the claim made by resort staff that the bare-it-all beach was simultaneously given its sobriquet to honour Naval Rear Vice-admiral, Sir Reginald Nudey, from Nether Wallop, in Hampshire.


Getting there

Fast cat ferries depart Cairns for Fitzroy Island at 8am, 11am and 1.30pm, returning at 9.30am, 12.15pm and 5pm.  Return transfers are $75.

Staying there

Fitzroy Island resort has 100 rooms, a pool, two restaurants, two bars, a dive and watersports centre and a small cinema.

The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism and Events Queensland.