Kiwi -As Toilets (Where to go when you need to go in New Zealand) is a wee travel guide that could come in very useful, especially for those of us of a certain age who need to go rather more frequently than we used to.
Jo Knox made a trip of a lifetime around New Zealand to search out the most decorative dunnies and loos with the best views in bars, cafes, playgrounds and bike trails. All of the chosen ones (65 in all) were personally tested by her so you can be sure they are in working order.
We have visited two of them. The Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa were gifted to the town by Hundertwasser, a famous artist and architect with an international reputation, now deceased. Sitting on one of his loos was a fitting memorial.
Made mainly from recycled materials and incorporating colourful sculptures, mosaics and cobblestones they are quite spectacular. Busloads of tourists stop off there so you might have to factor in a bit of a wait. I plead guilty to locking myself in and spending more time than I should have while I took a bunch of photographs of the very artistic interior.
We sighted the Redwoods Shroud Art toilets recently after taking a gentle stroll through the Redwoods forest in Rotorua. On a misty, drizzly day we came upon this group of mysterious cylindrical shrouds, each handsomely decorated with a different native bird which is either extinct or endangered, and harbouring a toilet inside.
My Bucket List
‘Make a bucket list of the ones you simply must see,’ the author suggests. This was difficult as I’d love to visit them all, but here are my top five.
The Waipu Cove Public Toilets
“Why poo at Waipu? Well you can learn a thing or two” writes Jo Knox. After paying a visit you will want to spend some time enjoying the colourful wrap around historical mural depicting Waipu’s Scottish Heritage.
The Matakana Public Toilets
This pair of toilet buildings is shaped like the hulls of salvaged ships, the stained glass ‘porthole windows’ add to the historical feel. Statuesque sentinel half-faces formed from moulded concrete guard the entrance. Do not be deterred by them and enter.
The Sheepdog Public Toilets in Tirau.
Tirau is ‘the corrugated capital of the world’. The gigantic corrugated iron sheepdog, built by hand with tin snips and a hard riveter is a masterpiece. The toilet can be found just under its left ear.
Margaret Mahy Playground Toilets
At this wonderful inventive playground (which is a fun place to take your children or grandchildren) the toilet block‘s exterior was decorated by Canterbury children with creative, colourful and Cantambrian flair. But be warned, you may have a wee problem if you linger longer than 10 minutes, as after that they unlock automatically.
North Mavora Lake DOC toilet, Mavora
If you’ve never used a long drop loo sitting on this basic bog would be a unique experience as it is in a stunning location with a spectacular view. Peter Jackson chose this place for filming many of the scenes in the First Lord of the Rings movie.
Kiwi -As Toilets (where to go when you need to go in New Zealand) is a quirky wee book full of toilet humour but eminently practical. Choosing some of these loos as your destination might well encourage you to have different kinds of adventures and to discover places you might not otherwise have seen. And oh the relief when you have valiantly held on for quite some time, to find there is a loo ready for you at the end of your journey!
Kiwi -As Toilets (Where to go when you need to go in New Zealand) is by Jo Knox produced by BookPrint NZ RRP $29.99
Reviews by Lyn Potter
Parent and grandparent, Avid traveler, writer & passionate home cook