Since I used your site as an excellent source of information, I figure I should do my part to help out and provide feedback and advice regarding the beaches I have visited. Please read this write-up, since it ends with some very good recommendations that could change the future for the better.
I am from the USA, and I've spent the last 5 months as a student in Townsville. During my stay, I wanted to visit as many nude beaches as I could, since my home area climate limits these activities to only a few months. Besides, the beaches here are far nicer than anything I have at home! However, to my disappointment, I found that there are no legal nude beaches in Queensland. (There aren't any at home either, and I was hoping to finally get to visit a legal one.)
Here are the beaches I visited, and my impression (or review) of them. Lastly, I conclude with recommendations for safer beaches and to perhaps finally get some declared as legal. Feel free to add this information to the site, or forward it to anyone else who may be interested.
Townsville Area -- Shelly Beach:
This certainly is an ideal secluded nude beach. At the time of my visit it was all men, and a small group of them were beginning a sexual act. It's a large beach, and also appears somewhat popular. Everyone there at the time was nude, and no tourists seem to make it out that far. This one is a keeper (see below).
Magnetic Island -- Horseshoe Bay:
A few people of both genders were there at the time of my visit. A few clothed tourists make it out that far as well. About half of the people in the area were clothed. In addition, it is along the route for "Bluey's Horseriding". The area is in a great location, and you can drive almost all the way to it. I believe this one is slowly being lost to the tourists.
Magnetic Island -- Balding Bay:
With all the hype in the tourist guides, the tourists seem to be flooding to this one. There was only one couple at the side of the beach that were nude, and the rest were all clothed tourists. I can imagine that this one used to be great, but is quickly fading.
Magnetic Island -- Rocky Bay:
This one is absolutely great! It is the only one I've seen that has a sign declaring it as an unofficial nude beach. No tourists go there, because they go to the popular easy-access beaches instead. (Plus, if they do hike down, they get the warning before they make it into the beach.) It is mostly used by the locals, which are people of both sexes and any age that are just looking to relax comfortably. In other words, it's not corrupted by gay men. It is not a busy beach either. Lastly, there are two sections separated by rocks, so it's easier to have a piece of beach to yourself. This one is certainly a keeper!
Fitzroy Island -- Nudey Beach:
This is perhaps the most legal you can get in Queensland, where is island is privately owned and the beach is declared as a nude beach. There is no way you could get arrested for nudity unless the owner personally calls in the police. Despite the clear indication that people may be nude there, many tourists went (including families with kids) and nobody was nude. This is sad really, because it's a great beach and in a great location. Perhaps it will be used more as a nude beach when people are able to spend the night there. (Currently, accommodation is closed due to cyclone damage.)
Cairns -- Buchans Point:
This one may be popular and busy, but it's very corrupt with gay man. I spent a couple hours there, and would guess that there were 3 women and about 30 men, almost all of which were nude. Come to find out, the part closer to the rock (the symbolic start of he nude area) is considered the non-gay area. Despite my location, during my visit I was hit on by 5 guys and attracted a peeping tom who was hiding in the bushes behind me. I also heard from a local that sex was common as well, and is perhaps the reason for occasional police action. This beach needs help!
In my opinion, there are two very important parts to a successful nude beach: Signage and Responsibility.
Signs, either legally posted signs or graffiti, do two very important things. They declare a beach to be a nude beach (or clothing-optional). And, they act as a warning to people who accidentally get there. If somebody isn't comfortable with nudity, they will leave before getting to the beach instead of complaining about others being nude. (If there is no warning, they feel that they belong there and that the nudies are in the wrong for being like that.)
Case in point:
They went to Balding Bay and were disturbed by seeing nudity, and they didn't know that they had stumbled upon a nude beach. Signs could've prevented (or at least warned about) this scenario. My suggestion is to post and maintain signs for the nude beaches that you would like to keep or save. The one at Rocky Bay is great, and I wish all the beaches had one like that.
Responsibility is important to keep the beach clean. Corruption occurs in a simple process: Good people go there and get nude, perverts go there to see or "hook up with" good people, good people don't like it and leave...and the perverts are all that's left. The sad truth is that good people leave instead of telling the perverts to go away, because they don't feel responsible for the condition of the beach. I told the peeping tom at Buchans Point to go away, and he did -- he left the beach entirely.
For legal nude beaches, the owners or the police are the ones responsible, and they keep the beaches clean of perverts. Sometimes not though, such as with this case:
[link broken now -- was a news story about two girls who went to the legal nude beach at Darwin. They were constantly hit on, witness a sexual act on the beach, were stalked while in the showers, and finally caught people having sex on the hood of their car! Of course, they had an extremely bad experience and made sure to tell everyone about it!]
This is horrible publicity, and could've been avoided if someone responsible would've stepped in and told those perverts to go away. Also, this will hurt the beach's reputation and may cause it to lose it's legal status.
My suggestion for this is a little more complex. The goal is to have someone (or some group) feel responsible for maintaining the purity of the beach. On your website, under "threat of closure", one of them you say:
"Some of the regulars are forming a group called the MAN group 'Maslin Association of Naturists'. They are looking for volunteers to help patrol the beach to control inappropriate behaviour."
This is a great way to clean up a beach! However, why do they have to do the work of organizing and calling for volunteers themselves? This is a very positive form of teamwork that *you* should be providing the framework for!
My suggestion is that you start a collaboration environment for this purpose. Either a wiki, web forum, or at least a simple webpage. (I could help with this if needed, but any tech savvy person could do it.) List all of the beaches that are clothing-optional, and ask for volunteers or regulars to take responsibility for patrolling a beach. List the volunteers (probably using nicknames), and have them submit feedback about the beach (or update the wiki) every few months. That way, you have an up-to-date status about the condition of each beach, and know that people are actually there and keeping an eye on it. This will help *greatly* with keeping legal beaches clean, and cleaning up the more problematic beaches.
If you accept and implement my recommendations, I anticipate that there will be less negative publicity, less complaints, and more good people showing up to enjoy the beaches. If coordinated volunteers can maintain clean beaches, I expect that that government will have a better opinion about nude beaches and perhaps might even declare more as legal. (Remember that they are influenced the most by the complaints and bad publicity, and why should they declare a problematic beach as legal?)
Thank you for reading all this! :-) Feel free to ask me lots of questions, and I will help out as much as I can.
There you have it, the conclusion of my long Australia Story series. There's a lot that I learned while I was over there, and each experience had a value all to it's own. The story acts as a manual for keeping beaches clean, and acts as a warning of what happens if we don't. I hope that all you readers have gotten some inspiration, or at least some laughs, out of the story I have shared.