New Zealand Coast: New Chums Beach
Now that fall has come to New Zealand, and I’ve had a chance to settle into Christchurch, I’m dreaming of my summer spent visiting North Island beaches. It’s the perfect time to continue my series of beach blog posts while the rain falls outside my hostel window. First up: New Chums Beach!
First, let me be perfectly honest – I’ve heard this beach called “New Chum” and “New Chums.” Neither Google nor Kiwis have helped to clear up where one it’s actually called, as I continue to get varying reports. I’m calling it New Chums; a choice based on nothing more than I like the way it sounds. The Maori call it Wainuiototo, though I can’t find a place online that will tell me what that means.
I also like everything about this beach. Except maybe the lamentable fact that it wasn’t a nude beach, as it was the perfect spot for one.
Kiwis apparently aren’t into the nude sunbathing, but this beach was perfect for it. In the first place, it’s not very easy to get to. Located in the Coromandel Peninsula, a road leads to a gravel parking lot or a grassy field parking area. From there, you gather all of your belongings – blankets/towels/food/water – and lug them between 20-45 minutes, depending on how much you’re carrying and the route you’re taking, over sand, then up a little forested track, then either down over the boulders between the cliff and the sea, or clamber up the forested track further through the woods until you finally reach a pristine beach with almost no people.
What more could you ask of a nude beach?! It was unbelievable how few people were at what has been referred to by some as one of the world’s top twenty most beautiful beaches (The Observer, 2006). The pictures in this post should prove its beauty (and its sparse population).
The friends I was traveling with and I decided to camp out for the night, even though, full disclosure, that wasn’t really allowed. But we carried in everything we needed, carried out everything we’d brought with us, and did our best to leave no real footprint. As there was already a fire pit within a sheltered cove on the beach, we were clearly not the first to have this idea.
After a couple of weeks of working in the kitchen at a café in Coromandel Town, a day of sunbathing, guitar music, swimming, eating homemade burritos, followed by a night sleeping next to a fire under the stars was just what I needed to recharge.
Plus, this sunrise.