Kevin Laminto Drwgx2sufec Unsplash

Your Guide to Cruising

All the info on cruising in Aotearoa New Zealand

Kevin Laminto Drwgx2sufec Unsplash

Your Guide to Cruising

All the info on cruising in Aotearoa New Zealand

What is Gay Cruising?

Simply put, cruising is when you scope out potential sexual partners in public. Cruising first became popular as a way for people (mostly gay men) to meet for casual sex before homosexuality was legalised but it’s still going strong today, particularly for those who enjoy its particular risk and anonymity. Cruising spots in New Zealand / Aotearoa and around the world have become popular, and some cruising sites have become infamous, among in-the-know communities.

New to cruising?

Check out this article for a first-hand experience at a sauna.

How to Cruise

Cruising has come a long way since hanky code, polari, and subtle glances. There are lots of different locations to suit any preference, such as:

  • Public bathrooms
  • Cruising bars and clubs
  • Gay saunas
  • Cruising parks
  • Gay cruising beaches

Not only can you meet guys in public spaces but in online ones too. For example, Grindr is essentially a cruising catalogue of who's around, and also a great tool to predetermine the location that you'll hook up in. You can also choose to cruise on alt twitter, a subsection of Twitter where people create mostly anonymous profiles, post spicy R18 content, and arrange hook ups or content collabs.

When it comes to public spaces, it helps if there are other people there to cruise! Click here for a comprehensive list of places throughout New Zealand / Aotearoa that are known as cruising sites, or visit (this is a paid service) for more. Remember, you may also encounter people who aren’t looking to cruise so it’s important to know what signs to look out for - read on to find out.

Useful context

Hanky Code explained History and use of Polari

"If someone is giving you the eye, it doesn't mean you have to have sex with them."

Tips: How to Cruise & How to Cruise Safely

If public sex is what does it for you, or you like discreet and anonymous sex, gay cruising might be just up your alley. But cruising does come with a heightened level of risk to personal safety, especially in public spaces. Cruising sites and beats are sometimes still targeted by police, or people who are looking for a fight, rather than a hook up. Plus, you may encounter people who are completely oblivious to what you’re doing; it’s important to respect them as well.


This term is used to describe an area or location frequented by guys looking for anonymous sex (cruising).

Before you go:

  • Plan in advance: If you want to be more strategic about your cruising opportunities, you can use dating apps such as Grindr, Scruff or even alt Twitter to find people and locations to cruise with. Websites like Squirt offer lists and forums of places to cruise, and you can also post when and where you’ll be if you want others to find you.
  • Make sure to prepare: If you're looking to bottom while you're cruising and you need to douche, just like any hook-up it's best practice to do it before you get there. Pump bottles in the bushes and a roll of loo paper aren’t the best vibe to bring to the beat.
  • Keep on top of your sexual health: Make sure that you’re regularly testing for HIV and STIs. If you’re on PrEP, make sure you’re up-to-date with your dosage. It’s a good idea to take condoms and lube with you as well, so you don’t have to rely on others to provide them.
  • Tell someone where and when you’re going: If there’s someone you trust, let them know all the details and when to expect a post-cruise message from you, so they’ll know if something’s gone wrong.

While you’re cruising & how to spot others:

  • Watch out for eye contact and body language: The main mode of communication while cruising in a physical setting is usually with body language and eye contact. You can usually tell if someone is cruising you by the way they look at you (you know the look…). Make sure to do the same, so people know you’re interested!
  • Be clear about your intentions: You don’t have to have sex with someone just because they’re giving you the eye. If they’re not your vibe it’s useful to give a clear signal, whether through words, eye contact, or a shake of the head. Rejecting someone never feels nice but in these situations, clarity is kindness. This applies when cruising online too.
  • Cruise at night: The best time to cruise outdoors is under the cover of darkness, as it provides extra protection from prying eyes. Naturally, summer is better for cruising outdoors; if you’re cruising outdoors in winter, make sure to wrap up! If that’s not your thing, you can head indoors at your local cruise club or sauna. These spaces are decked out with all that you need to have a sexy, hot, fun time whilst keeping you safe.
  • Use hidden or private spaces: If you’re cruising someone and it looks like you might be getting down to it, consider finding a more private space within the location you’re in (unless there are clearly other cruisers about and you don’t mind an audience, of course)

If you need to leave:

  • Plan an exit strategy: Take note of who’s around, how they’re behaving, and potential exit points if you need to leave. It’s a good idea to wear clothing that’s easy to manoeuvre/put back on (hoodie, track pants, shorts etc) in case you need to make a quick exit.
  • Keep an eye out for cops: While having public sex is not technically illegal in Aotearoa, you could still be arrested if someone complains about overt sexual behaviour. Not only will this absolutely suck for you and whoever you’re with, it could also ruin the cruising ground for others, as it'll likely mean an increased police presence.

"Saunas and cruise clubs are decked out with all that you need to have a sexy, hot and fun time - while keeping you safe."

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