Usually, when you need to make a bathroom stop on your travels, it’s because…well… you need to go! Jo Knox’s newly released book Kiwi-As Toilets is a compilation of quirky conveniences that deserve to be visited even if you don’t need to go!
From loos that celebrate their region’s heritage and scenery or showcase art and architecture to the downright wonderfully weird WCs and fun facilities, this eclectic collection celebrates everything that’s Kiwi as.
Jo is a dedicated road-tripper who enjoys nothing better than taking off with her husband and two young boys in their campervan. She decided to write the book after realising that many of the places they stopped at during their road trips had funny facilities, decorative dunnies or loos with views.
“I realised that toilets can make a huge difference in whether people decide to linger longer in a location or choose to get out of town as quickly as they can! You only have to look at what the Hundertwasser toilets have done for Kawakawa to see the positive impact good toilets can have on a town, businesses, and the community,” she says.
“In other words, spending more than a penny on where people spend a penny shouldn’t be considered money down the toilet!”
Jo hopes Kiwi-as Toilets will help give our country’s top toilets the recognition they deserve and inspire other towns and businesses to join the toilet movement in transforming revolting restrooms to flash-as flushers. After researching and visiting countless toilets, Jo selected 65 Kiwi-as toilets to feature in her book to form a tourist toilet trail.
Here are some of her favourites:
- Tirau’s ‘Outhouse’ toilets, Waikato. With the town’s title, ‘corrugated capital of the world’, it’s only right that the toilets here are also clad in rusted corrugated iron, giving them the deceptive appearance of an old outhouse. My boys love the humorous photo opportunity outside too.
- The Redwood’s ‘Shroud’ toilets near Rotorua. Designed to resemble tree trunks, these individual toilets are nestled beautifully and sympathetically within the Redwood forest.
- Hooker Valley Track DOC toilets, Aoraki, Mt Cook. The view from these two cylindrical DOC long drop toilets is so amazing you’ll want to leave the door open… except it’s a very popular walk, so perhaps best not to!
- Bill Richardson’s Transport Museum, Invercargill. We were blown away with the many differently themed bathrooms in this amazing place and the way that vehicle parts had been creatively upcycled into door handles, vanities, lampshades and more. I describe it as a toilet ‘lootopia’!
Photographs and facts about each featuring toilet are interspersed with splashes of toilet humour, making the book an informative yet light-hearted read.
While some toilets are in major tourist destinations, many—such as the Jailhouse toilets in Ongaonga, Hawke’s Bay (definitely one where you should take a ‘cell-fie’!)—are in lesser-known locations.
Jo reckons this tiki tour of New Zealand’s top toilet stops will encourage people to make pit-stop detours from better-travelled routes and add a touch of quirkiness, humour and surprise to their photo collection and memories of New Zealand.
Just in time for Christmas, the book is ideal for road-trippers, the ‘Captain Slackbadders’ among us, people looking for a unique coffee-table book or those seeking that gift that has ‘something different’.