Review: Katikati Naturist Park in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Naturism in New Zealand is very hierarchically organised, with a national federation at the top of the pyramid and in the lower layer, clubs spread around the country. But there are exceptions, in the Bay of Plenty region we headed to one of the very few commercial naturist resorts in New Zealand.

Katikati Naturist Park in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

How to get to Katikati Naturist Park

Katikati Naturist Park is named after the town where it is located, in the northeast of New Zealand’s north island. If you’re flying in from anywhere within the country, the closest airport will be Tauranga, which is just around the corner. Other options are flying into Hamilton (a good hour away) or Auckland (2 hours away). If you’re arriving internationally, Auckland is probably where you’ll end up if you don’t book an additional national connection.

 

The naturist park is just outside the town of Katikati, where you’ll find several supermarkets. Coming from Auckland, you take SH1 south and connect to the SH2 east in Pokeno. Keep following the SH2 until you pass by Katikati town. On your right-hand side, you should start seeing signs leading you to the resort.

 

If you prefer to come by public transport, you can take the Auckland – Tauranga bus and get off at Katikati. From there, you’ll need to take a taxi or walk the last 5 kilometres. It is recommended to have your own transportation for groceries and for visits to the area.

Katikati Naturist Park in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

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Where to stay at Katikati Naturist Park

The big difference between a commercial resort and a club is that there’s no membership structure. For tourists like ourselves, this doesn’t make much of a difference, but it does for local visitors. In most clubs, you’re only allowed to visit a couple of times without being a member, at Katikati you can visit as much as you like.

 

One type of accommodation is to bring your own and place it on a campsite. Rentals come in different forms and prices. First, there are the rental caravans, which are exactly what the name suggests. Then come the cabins, where we stayed. They are one big space with a large bed, a fully equipped kitchen area, and a terrace.

 

One size larger are the chalets, these are the most popular accommodation and were fully booked during our stay, so we didn’t have the chance to have a look inside. We do know that these have private bathroom facilities. Last are the motel rooms, which also have a private bathroom and sitting area.

Katikati Naturist Park in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

What to do at Katikati Naturist Park

The focus points at Katikati are nature, relaxation, and recreation. In the central area is a large swimming pool with two hot tubs. Inside you can warm up in the sauna or just on a couch watching TV. If you prefer to be more active, mini golf and petanque are among the options.

 

The part of the resort that we enjoyed the most though was at the riverside. A nice, natural area on the pebbled banks of a river. There are two trails, one will lead you to the spot where the eels are. Black fish that can get up to a meter long and that got pretty used to the presence of humans. And to the food that the humans bring, so be careful because they might confuse a finger or a toe with leftovers. If you want to refresh in the river, it’s better to take the other trail higher up the stream.

Katikati Naturist Park in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Around Katikati Naturist Park

The Bay of Plenty is like a canvas of natural wonders, and if you take the time to explore it you’ll find cosy villages, many waterfalls and beautiful beaches. Along its shores, the rhythm of life slows to the gentle lapping of waves against white sands.

 

Nudity is allowed on all beaches in New Zealand as long as you don’t offend anyone, and there’s plenty of space for nude sunbathing and skinny dipping. Especially Papamoa Beach is known for this. If you’re into surfing, this is also a great area to be.

 

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Further up north lies the Coromandel Peninsula, a sanctuary of unspoiled wilderness. Here, rugged coastlines meet verdant rainforests, creating one amazing landscape after another. The beaches in this part of New Zealand are more secluded and thus very suitable to be enjoyed in the nude. The website of Hauraki Naturally has a really good overview.

 

In the towns, you’ll find remnants of Maori culture and colonial history and an abundance of shops and restaurants serving excellent seafood.

 

 

Staff & Guests of Katikati Naturist Park

Glen and his partner only recently became the new managers at Katikati. Glen did a great job explaining the workings of the park and our accommodation. Later at night he would light a fire and bring people together. We were introduced to some of the locals, who were the only other guests at the moment.

 

This is something we would see at every naturist resort in New Zealand (and something we’ve seen in plenty of other places around the world as well). During weekdays, it’s mostly locals who spend most, if not all, of their time at the resort. On Thursday evening, the atmosphere gets more vibrant and on Friday and Saturday, it’s not unlikely that the resort runs full.

 

Depending on whether you prefer your stay to be active and social or rather quiet and relaxed, you can just easily pick week or weekend days.

 

 

 

Book at Katikati Naturist Park

The best ways to book at Katikati Naturist Park are:

Website: https://www.katikati-naturist-park.co.nz
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: +64 7 549 2158

 

Summary

For us, outsiders, it’s hard to see the difference between a commercial resort and a members club in New Zealand. Just like at the clubs, we found well-maintained facilities and a friendly social atmosphere at Katikati. It’s a nice place to spend a couple of days and the perfect gateway to explore both Bay of Plenty and Coromandel.

 
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2 thoughts on “Review: Katikati Naturist Park in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand”

  1. Unfortunately, nude beaches and nudity in general are under attack in many places. Although there are places where nudity is not outlawed, there is that catch, ‘as long as nobody is offended’. So, if you are enjoying a naked swim or hike, there are those who will deliberately move into your space so that they can complain! They seek out people who are enjoying being naked, in their WAR to discourage nudity.

    Reply
    • Indeed, the “as long as nobody is offended” sucks some of the fun out of the experience. Several times, when we were walking to the ends of a beach to get naked we would see someone quickly covering up to not offend us. Constantly having to keep an eye out doesn’t really match well with a general beach attitude.

      Reply

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