Review: Hawkes Bay Naturist Club in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

One of the things we enjoyed a lot about naturism in New Zealand is not just that there are quite a lot of naturist clubs, but also that they are very well spread across the country. No matter where you live or where you’re staying, there’s always a club within less than a 2-hour drive.


For tourists like ourselves, no matter which region we wanted to visit, we could be certain that we could stay in a clothes-free place. One region we were particularly looking forward to visiting was Hawkes Bay, partly because we had heard great things about the naturist club, but also because it’s one of New Zealand’s popular wine regions.

Hawkes Bay Naturist Club in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

How to get to Hawkes Bay Naturist Club

The Hawkes Bay Naturist Club is located in the east of New Zealand’s north island. The nearest airport is in Napier, which is just a 25-minute drive away. This is a small airport though that only connects to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. If you’re arriving from anywhere else, your best bet will be to either fly to Auckland or Wellington, both are about a 5-hour drive away or a quick connecting flight with Air New Zealand.


If you like to visit by public transport, from Auckland you can take the Auckland – Central – Hastings bus line to Eskdale and take a taxi for the last 20 kilometres. From Wellington, you can take the Wellington – Central – Napier bus and then take a taxi from Napier. Do keep in mind that the club doesn’t have a restaurant and that you’re responsible for bringing your own groceries.


Most visitors will arrive with their own or rented transportation. There are plenty of car and camper rental companies in the major airports and cities. From Auckland, you follow Highway 1 to Taupo and then switch to Highway 5 to Napier. Turn right on Glengarry Road in Glengarry and keep following until you reach the club. From Wellington, take Highway 2 towards Napier. Once in Waiohiki, it’s best to trust your GPS.

Hawkes Bay Naturist Club in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Where to stay at Hawkes Bay Naturist Club

Hawkes Bay Naturist Club primarily features a campground setting, where the preferred accommodation option is to bring your own. There are powered and unpowered campsites available, the ones that are located higher up in the club give the best views.


For visitors who come without their own accommodation, there’s Norm’s Lodge which has three guestrooms and shared facilities. Brand new is Bell’s Bach, a cabin located on the side of the hill that gives views over the club and the surrounding valley. This cabin has its own kitchenette and a large deck to relax and enjoy the scenery. The shower and toilet block is just around the corner. Bell’s Bach is where we stayed and we were among the first guests. If not the first.

Hawkes Bay Naturist Club in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

What to do at Hawkes Bay Naturist Club

The flat area at the bottom of the club is the central area. This is where you find a large swimming pool, the spa, several sports courts and a children’s playground. This is also where the clubhouse can be found. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t completely on our side when we were in Hawkes Bay and the indoor facilities at the clubhouse were very welcome. The clubhouse also has a huge kitchen, so no need to mess around in the kitchenette in Bell’s Bach.


Up on the hill is mostly the camping and accommodation area, but since there’s so much nature at Hawkes Bay Naturist Club, this part of the club is also great to just have a walk around. Especially the lake area is great for a stroll on a sunny morning. One thing to keep in mind though is that this club is a very social place and you’ll often find yourself chatting with everyone you meet along the way. This might make your walks take much longer than anticipated. So don’t leave any food on the stove.



Around Hawkes Bay Naturist Club

We mentioned it already in the introduction, one of the reasons why we wanted to visit this part of New Zealand is because of its wine region. If you’re into wines, the more than 250 wineries will definitely keep you busy for a while. Approximately 90% of New Zealand’s Syrah, Cabernets and Merlot are produced here, but you’ll also find lots of Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand’s signature grape) and we discovered a lovely Pinot Gris here. We could easily write a whole blog post about our wine discoveries in New Zealand, but let’s keep those stories for another time.


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What we also enjoyed a lot was a day trip to Napier, also known as New Zealand’s Art Deco city. The history is quite sad, back in 1931, most of the city was destroyed by a huge earthquake. But as it has been completely rebuilt in the same period and in the style of that period, it now has this all-over art deco look which often made us feel as if we were walking on a movie set. It’s yet another one of those things we didn’t know about New Zealand.


One more thing we can definitely recommend is to have a look at the top of the Te Mata Peak. You’ll get a great view of the Hawkes Bay region, the wineries surrounding the mountain and the ocean in the distance.

Hawkes Bay Naturist Club in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Staff & Guests of Hawkes Bay Naturist Club

We had a problem when we came to Hawkes Bay. Our original plan had been to organise a bicycle tour to some wineries but that appeared to be not as easy as we had anticipated. As alcohol and driving are not meant to be mixed, you can probably see the issue arising like a dark cloud from behind the Te Mata Peak. How are we (read: is Lins) going to do the tastings?


The answer came in the form of Ian and Roni who proposed to be our designated driver and guide for the day. The reason why we’re telling this story is because it says a lot about the members of the Hawkes Bay Naturist Club. Before ever having met us, they agreed to give up their free time so we could spend our day… ehm… drinking.


Now don’t expect that every visitor to the club gets a guide and ride, but if you’re struggling with the practicalities of your itinerary, if you have some questions, or if you’re just looking for a friendly face to talk to, you can be certain that the members and residents will try to help you out so you can have a great experience.




Book at Hawkes Bay Naturist Club

The best ways to book at Hawkes Bay Naturist Club are:

Phone: +64 (0)274 500 557



Life is great when you get the chance to combine some of the best things in life, like wine and naturism. But the Hawkes Bay Naturist Club is about more than just sipping a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in your birthday suit. It’s a lovely club full of lovely people who made us feel as if we had been part of their community for years.

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