February 23, 2010

The highs and filthy lows of Northland's toilets

I’ve just done a 5-day roadie in Northland and spent more than a few minutes hovering over various quality toilets. From designer dunnies to basic ablution blocks, here’s the pictorial run down of loos you’ll want to write home about and one you won’t…

Kawakawa's mosaic toilets

The Hundertwasser

Some are definitely worthy of writing to your friends and family about, like Kawakawa‘s world famous mosaic lav on the main road. In fact many people have written home about Kawakawa’s dunny because there’s not much else there. Frederick Hundertwasser, originally from Vienna, made his home in Kawakawa and when the town was deciding how to upgrade their public loo, he submitted a design. “A toilet is very special because you meditate in a toilet. Like a church,” he reckons and thus Kawakawa is plopped on the tourist map to be used for abluting, prayer or just to marvel at the art.

One could happily meditate in here

I also paid a visit to The Funky Fish restaurant, cafe and bar at Bayly’s Beach. I’d been tipped off to spend a penny in their luxury lavvy so waited for the 4-year old dangling his legs over the seat to finish while his mother waited outside. This looks remarkably like a Hundertwasser and may well be, I didn’t actually ask. But another tick for clean, imaginative and news worthy toileting.

$40,000 for 2 toilets

Another stand-out is on the main road at Matakana. Designed by Steffan de Haan, this convenience is a testament to another town who wants their “meditation chamber” to be just that. An architectural wonder that the town helped build – to the tune of $40,000.

But the biggest let down and by far the scungiest loo I had the misfortune to avail myself of has to be this hole in Paihia. The day I was there a cruise ship was docked off shore and the town was heaving with well-heeled tourists, craft markets were set up in the park, the local church and art galleries, ice cream shops and juice bars were doing a roaring trade and this eye sore is where we send our visitors.

The horror of Paihia

C’mon Paihia, you get more tourists than all these other places put together, surely you can upgrade your facilities and make us proud! How about some cool kiwiana design since that’s what all the surrounding businesses try so hard to project??

About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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