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Unusual destinations to visit in New Zealand

Farewell Spit in New Zealand
Photo: Farewell Spit CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Liz & Johnny Wesley Barker

For lovers of the more unusual spots, New Zealand certainly has its fair share of weird and wonderful places to visit, from the tragedy of Farewell Spit, to the strange Devil’s Bath, artistic toilets and so much more between.

Travelling around both North and South Island is made really convenient with Spaceships Rentals offering excellent campervans to travel from weird destination to unusual location.  Versatile, full of fun and fuel efficient, these vehicles are the ideal choice and while driving around, here are just a few examples of strange and unique destinations to choose from.

Onetahua – Farewell Spit

Let’s head first to northern tip of New Zealand's South Island to visit Farewell Spit. Named “Onetahua” in the native language, this fascinating bit of geography holds a tragic tale, as scores of whales have run aground here over the years. In fact since records started to be kept, around 680 whales have seemingly committed suicide by throwing themselves on Farewell Spit. 

Just this year, around 200 whales have beached themselves on the sand at this spot, although activists did manage to float many of them back out to sea. 

While the tale is tragic, the scenery and the sandy beaches in this remote and lovely nature reserve (pictured above and right) are pretty impressive.

Farewell Spit, New Zealand
Photo: Sign CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Irene Chong

Wai-O-Tapu – Devil’s Bath

Next we head to the Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand's North Island and visit Rotorua and the fascinating geothermal phenomenon known as Wai-O-Tapu or Devil’s Bath.
Devil's Bath, New Zealand Looking at its rather eye-catching lurid green colour, you would be forgiven for thinking the sulphur lake was a radioactive dump site.  However this weird and wonderful colour is completely natural. 

Sitting in a slight depression probably caused by an eruption underground, you can’t actually get down to the rather smelling water below (probably a good thing as you really wouldn’t want to swim there!), but it does look pretty impressive when viewed from above. 

The lurid green colour is apparently caused by sulphur (hence the smell!) rising to the surface and floating there. 

While the origins of the satanic name are unknown, some feel that it would not be surprising at all to see the King of Hell himself rising from the unusual and still green water.

Photo: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Chris Counsell

Hundertwasser Toilets

One would not normally think of public toilets as being an artistic tourist attraction.  However, the Hundertwasser Toilets in Kawakawa, New Zealand most definitely are just that, and are probably the world's most architecturally important public bathroom anywhere in the world.

This fascinating destination is the creation of a world famous artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who was born in Vienna, Austria.  Hundertwasser spent his final years in Kawakawa and the facilities apparently “opened for business” (excuse the pun) back in 1999.  Regrettably Hundertwasser passed away in 2000 while sailing on the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, making this his final project.
Hundertwasser Toilets
Hundertwasser Toilets
Hundertwasser Toilets
Photos: CC BY-SA 2.0 Eli Duke

The design consists of multi-coloured tile collages, covered in the artist’s signature and are similar to other architectural works by the artist.  In the concrete itself there are recycled tiles and bottles embedded in the design to create a psychedelic appearance. There are the normal men and women’s toilet stalls but right in the centre can be found a living tree, growing up through the roof of the toilets where it blends with grasses growing up there.

This final creation by a very creative artist is amazing to see and the fact that the bathrooms are fully operational only adds to the atmosphere - what a way to go!

In conclusion, when taking to the road in New Zealand, there are many interesting and unusual sights to see, making a visitor wish to return to this fascinating country over and over again.


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