IT'S OUR LOCAL!
Situated between Pauanui to the North and Onemana to the South, Opoutere is the local "go to" beach in the Hauraki Naturally playground. It is accessed via Opoutere Road, off State Highway 25 about ten kilometers North of Whangamata.
At just over five kilometers long, this unspoiled and relatively isolated beach is truly a naturist's paradise. The textile folk mainly use just the kilometer stretch at the South end, leaving the rest of the beach for naturists. Of course, you'll meet and pass clothed people anywhere on the beach, but any adverse reaction is extremely rare. The beach is big enough for anyone to find their own isolated spot if you want some alone-time.
At the southern end of Opoutere Beach lies the winding entrance to the Wharekawa Harbour which is protected by a spectacular sandspit. The spit is a breeding ground for several endangered species of native sea birds including the New Zealand Dotterel. If you take your dog to the beach, it must be on a leash and kept well away from these breeding grounds.
A walk to the Northern end of the beach will take you about 30 to 40 minutes and well worth the effort. You'll come to Motohaua Rock which gives a fantastic view of the beach and out to Slipper Island. A little further and you can explore the Ohui rockpools at low tide.
Most of the beach is bordered by a well-established pine forest, which has an easy-walking track most of the way. A naked stroll along this track under the shade of the forest canopy is really enjoyable, especially when you want to escape the heat of the day.
A favourite pastime of mine is to construct a beach shelter out of lengths of driftwood. It started a few years ago just as a fun exercise in creating some "beach art" much like I used to do on the wild beaches of Auckland's West Coast - Whatipu, Karekare, Bethells, and many more.
Flax growing along the edge of the beach provides ideal binding material for holding the structures together and if you build it by incorporating a triangular based design it becomes very strong. One structure survived the winter into the following summer with minimal damage!
But each summer I usually end up building another structure for no other reason than that it's fun and releases my creativity. It also gives rise to conversation with other naturists who come up to comment as they pass by.
So, while other beach-goers lug their heavy umbrellas and shelters to the beach, all I take is a couple of old sheets to throw over the driftwood frame!
When the tide is low, the sand is hard enough to comfortably ride a bike along the four kilometers to Motohaua Rock at the Northern end of the beach. The rock is fun to explore and a climb to the top is worth doing just for the view.
The alcove on the North side of the rock is a popular spot for picnics as it affords shelter from the wind and forms a pleasant secluded area. Of course it's only suitable for that while the sea is at half-tide and lower.
For anyone interested in geology, the island, along with much of the coastline, is an excellent example of deposited volcanic rock comprising mostly mafic rock, Although these rocks haven't been dated, a fission-track analysis of surrounding deposits of rhyolites
show that this volcanic activity took place around seven million years ago. Mafic rock is an igneous rock comprising minerals rich in iron and magnesium, giving the rocks its classic dark grey colour. A look at the cove wall reveals the layers put down by successive volcanic eruptions.
And then there's the pine forest, which runs almost the entire length of the beach behind the dunes.
On a hot summer's day the forest trail gives a welcome respite from the burning rays of the midday sun, with its tall canopy and gentle breeze
Take a leisurely stroll northwards for a good half hour or more, then you have the option of returning the way you came, or back down the beach. And if you happen to meet clothed people on the track, just act normally, politely say "Hi!" as you pass, and realise that you are quite within your legal rights. In all the times I've met people while hiking naked through forests, I've never received any negative reaction.
There are so many things you can do in and around Opoutere Beach. It’s a special haven that provides a mix of forest, beach
and estuary. There are endless opportunities to both relax and adventure to your heart’s content. If you want to explore other areas close by, then a stay at the Opoutere Coastal Campgrounds for a few days is well worth considering.
If you're keen on visiting this awesome spot, then do get in touch with me and I'll be more than happy to show you around and spend the day. Leave me a message in the comments box below, or use the CONTACT page.