It's a race to the bottom for the finalists of the flushest competition in the country as many eagerly await to see which toilet will be throned as the best loo in New Zealand. Two of the finalists are from the Bay of Plenty.
Three unique dunny designs that cater for nature's calling have been confirmed as the finalists for the Best Loo in the Beautiful Awards, run by Keep New Zealand Beautiful non-for-profit organisation.
In the running are Port Ohope Wharf Permaloo in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, Spa Park in Taupo, and Colac Bay Toilets near Invercargill, each with their own unique signature features, design and feel.
To be considered as an outstanding lavatory, judges take into consideration the location, facilities, cleanliness, interior, exterior and the surrounding environment of the toilets.
Keeping New Zealand Beautiful chief executive Heather Saunderson said the award for Best Loo was always a favourite amongst the public.
"There's always a surprise, and this year is no different," says Heather.
The Spa Park facilities in in Lake Taupo have been opened for just over a year and have a design focus based on the rich historical and cultural significance of the site which was a Maori settlement.
In a picturesque location, the toilets feature a viewing platform on the roof, changing rooms, a disabled toilet and unisex toilets.
Number two is not the desired winning spot for the toilets at Port Ohope Wharf toilets which are in the running for the best loo award at the Beautiful New Zealand awards. Photo: Supplied
On the Port Ohope Wharf, the new loo was created as part of an upgrade to enhance the former commercial wharf site while maintaining the wharf's historic character.
The result is a designer dunny with upgraded, low energy lighting, wheelchair accessibility, a drinking fountain and picnic table seating, all surrounded in native planting including nikau and pohutakawa.
In the deep South, the picturesque toilets at Colac Bay near Invercargill are vying to come out on top. Photo: Supplied
The southern-most finalist at Colac Bay near Invercargill has capitalised on its 'room with a view' by highlighting the fact that Hector's dolphins frolic amongst the waves nearby.
The striking design created from a recycled shipping container has a distinctly Southland flavour, with a mixed-media visual wrap designed by a Southland District Council graphic designer Gloria Eno, and has been designed to cater for the expected influx of visitors to the area.
Heather says many of the toilets have become tourist attractions in themselves.
"I never thought that bathrooms could be so much fun," says Heather.
"We do have criteria; the sustainability factor, the 'wow' factor, and what drives people to use them."
Judges are made up of councillors and business owners without a conflict of interest, she said.
Last year's winner was the Hot Water Beach toilets in the Coromandel, commended for its design which blended in with the coastal area and was able to accommodate large tourist numbers and the harsh beachside environment.
The winner will be decided at the awards ceremony in Dunedin on October 24.
The awards recognise the environmental excellence of individuals, groups, businesses and schools across New Zealand.