A Touch of France in Nelson Bay

It seems simple enough. 25 ℉ at home, or 25 ℃ on sunny Nelson Bay on the east coast of Australia. So we opted for a Blue Christmas in a lovely naturist B&B in the hills above Port Stephens, just under three hours north of Sydney.

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I had already heard through the grapevine that we were going to love our stay in this upscale naturist inn, and my correspondence with Stuart, the owner and innkeeper, led to the realization that he is also the manager and editor of TAN Magazine, the sole remaining naturist periodical in Australia.

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This is particularly impressive since Stuart didn’t have his own naturist epiphany until around 2009 when he discovered the joy of a late-day visit to the naturist beaches near Sydney after long, stressful days in the corporate world. Just a few years later, he would take advantage of the early retirement parachute, and that’s when he and his wife Lucia became innkeepers. Naturist… innkeepers.

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As it happens, (and if I got the story right,) Stuart and Lucia are the third managers of Le Chateau Naturiste, which gained its name, along with bits of French memorabilia, from a previous owner who fancied herself as a naturist and a Francophile. Our room was spacious and tastefully decorated, with a door leading directly onto the veranda, which would become my branch office for the few days before Christmas. While the untimely cloud cover made it a bit chilly for a dip in the pool, it didn’t prevent us from a long walk on the nearby Samurai naturist beach.

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Lucia was quite literally a bit under the weather during our stay, but Stuart was a wonderful host, tending each day to breakfast, and most interested in our evening debriefings (no pun intended) as we explored the environs of Nelson Bay. His enthusiasm for naturism is infectious, as is his commitment to contributing to the positive mainstream image of the naturist cause. Should you pay a visit, be sure to ask him about his television appearances. Remarkable stories, told by a great story-teller.

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We are starting to amass a fairly substantial list of naturist destinations that enjoy warmer climes while ice and snow adorn the plants and trees of our home in the eastern US. My hope, each time, is that we might find a place where we can enjoy January in the same naked glory we enjoy July in France, Spain, or Croatia. While not quite as expansive as the sprawling naturist centers of Europe, Le Chateau is most certainly a step in the right direction.

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I should mention that this is our first stop on our naked odyssey through Oz. You can see the rest of our itinerary here, or simply check back as I muse about our meanderings down the eastern coast of Australia.