Hitching to the Kawakawa Toilets
I’m not sure there are too many other places in the world where a public bathroom is considered a tourist attraction. But the Hundertwasser Toilets have put Kawakawa, New Zealand on the map!
To make sure we didn’t miss seeing them on our way to our next host, we bought bus tickets from Kawakawa and decided to hitch there from our hostel in Paihia.
Sidenote: Hitchhiking is completely normal in New Zealand, especially in the North. It’s not nearly as dangerous as it can be in the States.
At any rate, Kawakawa is only a 15 minute drive from Paihia, so if we ended up having to walk the whole way, we still weren’t going to risk missing our bus.
But, as it turned out, we didn’t have to worry about that! Here’s a short video of our first hitching experience in New Zealand:
The toilets really were worth the stop. They were the last thing Austrian artist Freidrich Hundertwasser designed before he died in 2000. He moved to New Zealand in 1975, choosing Kawakawa because he felt it had soul.
The bricks used in the construction were salvaged from old buildings and the old bottles used as windows came from the region as well. I love the use of recycled materials!
After we took plenty of pictures of the building (and made use of the toilets as well…) we had a snack at the local Trainspotter Cafe across the street before walking to the bus stop.
Unfortunately, it rained for the next 3 days straight while we stayed with a family in an eco-village in Matapouri. So we didn’t see much in the short time we were there, but we had a very nice time with the 2 French interns who worked for the family’s marine aid organization (www.OceansWatch.org). Drew was also able to update our host’s Homeopathy website (www.homeopathy.co.nz).
And so ended our tour of beautiful Northland as we made our way back to big city life in Auckland.