Dry etching of GaN-based devices can introduce damage onto exposed layers of the semiconductor. In this paper, electrode-less wet etching of nominally undoped GaN is investigated in terms of light intensity, solution concentration, and mask geometry in order to determine the conditions required to obtain smooth surface morphologies. Using the results, surfaces were etched with a root-mean-squared (RMS) surface roughness of 1.7 nm. Furthermore, the etch selectivity is used to gain access to buried p-type layers allowing n-p diodes to be fabricated. Contact resistances to the exposed p-type layers were found to be superior to those obtained by dry etching.