For those who are unaware, the West Coast of the Auckland region is synonymous with black sands, beautiful rocky out-crops and people of the hippy persuasion.
If you fancy owing an alpaca farm, making your own organic goats cheese or hope to get in touch with your spirit animal (mine is Bill Murray) through the magic of nude interpretive dance, you might consider a move to Bethells Beach, Piha or Titirangi.
The red section of the above image (on the far left) represents the Bethells region, approx. 20 minutes drive from our house in wonderful but slightly socially questionable Ranui. Aside from or perhaps because of the proliferation of hippies on the West Coast there is also an abundance of lovely architectural examples, often in the most unexpected places. The free thinkers and ‘out-side of the box’ ers of the Waitakere Council (I know, I know it’s now part of the Auckland SUPER City but it wasn’t back when these loos were designed) have offered up some lovely contributions to the art of public bathrooms.
The beach side loos at Bethells are a wonderful mix of Kiwiana, architectural logic and industrial style. The wave shape of the roof makes my eyeballs happy in their sockets and the industrial slab-poured concrete walls make the designer living inside my brain smile and nod appreciatively. The use of corrugated iron and naked wood beams speaks of the New Zealand of yester-year; batches, jandals and your Mum yelling at you to put some damn sunscreen on because we have no ozone layer you know and you will crisp up like a pork scratching and get instantaneous melanoma and die.
The day we visited was hot, gorgeous and sunny hence these poor wee bathrooms would have taken a pounding. By the time we had finished our walk and arrived back at the parking lot this charming hand written note had been adhered to the wall.
Obviously these bathrooms run on rainwater or another such limited but environmentally friendly water system. Though the men’s and women’s bathrooms were locked, luckily they had left the disabled toilet open, I’m guessing for emergencies.
The state of the remaining loo was less than savoury so I would imagine someone had experience such an emergency but lacked the water required to flush said “offering” away. You really don’t want to see what is inside the bowl.
I have no bad feelings towards the Bethells public toilets. They did post a sign and tried to warn people but alas the classiest individuals strike again, hence the cheap bourbon and coke can I spotted by the sink.
Someone seemed to have forgotten their knickers as well 😦
The final feature I enjoyed at Bethells was a truly Kiwi inclusion, the beach-side shower. Very handy when you have walked the length of the beach but have no interest in tracking a figurative fuck-ton of sand back to your car and house. The grains of black sand from a New Zealand beach are like lice, you think you’ve got them all off but a week later there is still residual blighters clinging to the inside of your ears, toenails and bra lining.
Cleanliness : 3/10 But really this is in no way the fault of the cleaners or whomever takes care of these loos, they were officially locked to the public.
Internal : 7/10 A decent, basic beach set up, plenty of bathrooms (had they been open) 3-4 stalls in each with a disabled access bathroom as well.
External : 9/10 The scenery couldn’t get a shit of a lot better honestly. It is very beautiful. Not just the area but the design, construction and materials used.
Safety : 8/10 During the day you should be pretty sweet, lots of families, kids and people around. I wouldn’t feel safe using them at night but they are locked at 9pm anyways, I’m guessing to avoid any nefarious goings on, if y’know what I mean.
Snugglitude : 8/10 I love these loos but if I were busting and the water had run out, I would feel rather unsafe and panicked so perhaps not the best choice to hide from panic or in a colonic emergency at the end of a hot and busy beach day.
Total : 35/50