Kiwis identify the best spots for when you’ve just got to go

Convenience and character – turns out that’s what we look for in a public loo.

13 January 2017

Kiwis identify the best spots for when you’ve just got to go

Convenience and character – turns out that’s what we look for in a public loo.

Fresh cut flowers, the existence of toilet paper (as opposed to none), art, architecture, music and even attendants also make for a memorable pitstop.

Public toilets often get a bad rap, a few deservedly so. However, rather than name and shame the less than salubrious throne homes, the team at AA Traveller decided to find out which were the best and why.

While myriad reasons for the thumbs up were stated, unsurprisingly, cleanliness topped the chart of why any specific public loo was good throughout the country in rural locations, small towns and in cities.

However, the AA Member survey revealed a handful of top locations, from the Bay of Islands in the north right through to the deep south, that stood out – with one of them particularly unique, the award-winning, Friedensreich Hundertwasser-designed toilet in Kawakawa.

AA Traveller Marketing Manager Rhys James says he’s not surprised the Hundertwasser facility in Kawakawa continues to make a mark – 17 years after it was opened.

“When we travel, we don’t really think about loos until we actually need them and then they become really important. When we’re in unfamiliar territory the challenge is to find one in time, especially when the kids are in the back seat getting vocal about their needs.

“The Hundertwasser toilets, while essentially just being a practical facility to take care of urgent needs, are probably the only loos in the country that truly become part of the journey. No one really expects art in a public toilet, but Kawakawa has that and then takes it to the next level with the entire building fitted out like a giant installation in a gallery.”

The Hundertwasser facility also has a page on Wikipedia – likely a global rarity for a specific toilet – and is on many global lists as one of the best.

Another award winner that features strongly in the AA Member survey is the Taupo Superloo.

While it’s only open from 8am till 5pm and requires a small fee to access, its central location and the fact it’s serviced has created many happy travelling fans from throughout the country. And, if you really need it, there’s a free wifi signal beaming in from nearby.

The Taupo Superloo was one of the first user-pays facilities created for travellers. The 50 cent entry fee provides access to standard and squat toilets along with a bidet. For a little extra, there are showers, lockers and even towels for hire.
“Kiwis aren’t that easily impressed, so when people mention a public toilet as decent, it’s fair to assume they mean it,” Rhys says.

While facilities in many places were noted in the survey, other standouts are in:
· Ashburton
· Cambridge
· Cheviot
· Geraldine
· Gordonton
· Kaikoura
· Matamata
· Picton
· Piopio
· Taihape
· Tirau
· Waiouru

The added touch of fresh flowers, good mobility access, lighting, well-stocked with paper and soap, music and good parking were noted in many locations as why a toilet was good.

“A good public toilet that travellers can find easily is likely to help form opinions about a place and also drive custom for those businesses located nearby. While we weren’t asking about poor-quality toilets, the more than 2000 responses we had on the best demonstrates that travellers are well catered for pretty much wherever they go in New Zealand.”

AA Traveller has helped Kiwis see the best of New Zealand for more than 100 years. It publishes and distributes more than three million guides and maps every year, and provides travellers with a wealth of information to inspire and assist them in planning travel and to make bookings at more than 1800 properties at AA Traveller or at any AA Centre.

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