A few years ago, friends and I decided early one drunken New Years morn, to walk the 1.7 km from their flat to Point Chevalier beach. The route was strewn with broken glass related mishaps, thrusty dancing around traffic lights, and no doubt really badly off key singing. When we arrived, we ran down the sand in only our knickers to swim, or more closely loll in the bath-water-left-in-the-tub temperature sea, floating like booze swollen orcas.
Now, you can say we are idiots for swimming drunk, and you’d be correct. But, in our defense none of us went deeper than our chests, and handily one of our group acted as sober life guard. Better behaviour, I have to admit, than during my formative years growing up going to parties on the beach, or the many many times I’ve thought it was a shit hot idea to have a shower after arriving home pissed.
More importantly, it is a really nice memory, I didn’t die, and no one else did either, so get off my god damn ass.
Strangely, in spite having visited Point Chev many times over the last 18 years, I had never walked further than the weird looking expensive beach-side apartments 2 minutes walk from the stairs. But, a few weeks ago on a gorgeous sparkling blue winters day, I had the time and the inclination to explore the full length of Point Chevalier’s tranquil sandy beach, from concrete pohutukawa outcrop to concrete pohutukawa outcrop.
Having spent the past year in the UK and Europe, enduring sore-foot inducing pebble beaches, freezing icy winds and marble shingle, the softness and brilliant beige of home sand made me as happy as a methed up clam.
It was during my jaunt that I spotted this little stucco cutie, nestled among the pohutukawa branches.
After a year of intensely Anglophiled architecture, and haphazard Italian facilities, my little heart was warmed by the sight of a traditional Kiwi beach toilet.
Dappled light, filtered through massive intertwining pohutukawa trees, minimal rubbish, and the smell of warm sand and fresh air. Mmmm home is good.
Inside the bathroom, there’s a fuck load of space for people to change into their swimsuits. Strangely, these places always include someone’s Nan leaving nothing to the imagination and having no qualms of modesty, getting 100% naked between swimsuit and underwear (not my Nana. She’s proper). Over the years I’ve seen more old bush and sagging tits in beach and pool changing rooms such as this one than I would have ever chosen to see.
It’s a basic set up with cold showers and benches to keep your clothes off the wet floor (Never works. You always end up with a wet patch). The poured concrete floor, breeze block walls, and cattle pen chic makes me feel young, idealistic and warm, right down to my broken belly.
This one even had toilets seats, and loo paper that hadn’t been soaked by some little shit, dried, then gone all yellow and wrinkled in the heat.
Cleanliness : 7/10 It was pretty clean. The floor had sand on it and some leaves but you can’t really avoid that at the beach. It didn’t smell bad and there was little to no rubbish/Woodies cans strewn about.
Interior : 7/10 I was there on a very quiet winters day, so other than a few dog walkers and the unemployed, no one was around. I imagine at the height of summer the bathrooms would be full to the gunnels with screaming kids and frazzled Mums as the beach is very calm with little to no wave action so a grand place for little humans who drown easily. There are 3 stalls, with space open above and below. If I were having a panic attack it wouldn’t be a quiet or private place to be, but I imagine the turnaround would be good so, if I had to lock myself in for 40 minutes, the other patrons would be less likely to break the door down wondering what I was up to inside.
Exterior : 7/10 The setting and the view are something magical. The light, the fresh salty breeze, and the calmness due to Point Chev’s position inside the appendix of a rather deep harbour (if the harbour was your large intestine), away from the mess and drama of the open ocean. It is not, howmever, a toilet at which you’d be able to park up and run inside if diarrhea hit. But, luckily there is a large bathroom up at the car park which services the patrons of the playground, the bit off to the side of the car park where people drink, and the large undulating park.
Safety : 6/10 I think the out of sight nature of this loo would make it safer but also conversely more dangerous than some I’ve rated. Point Chev has been gentrified to the point where anyone who isn’t married to a professional sporting person, or has never managed to rustle up a set of wealthy parents, would have a shit show in hell of buying a property there these days. But, any pretty spot near a main road, with a car park and park benches is likely to possess undesirables at times so, best you don’t hang out there unless you are armed with a group of your most violent-when-drunk friends.
Snugglitude : 7.5/10 After a year in the wilderness of central London, the peace and traditional Kiwi charm of this place made me well up with good feeling, and for once, not vomit. It’s not a flashy toilet, but the memories associated with good times and the architecture of your childhood always add to the snugglitude of a place. And, there were cute little fungi growing in the leaf litter which made me smile. I like nature and shit.
Total : 34.5/50