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Highway Latrines - Pleasant Surprises

Home > Brisbane > Adventure | Escape the City | Misc | Travel | Unusual Things to do
by Susan J Bowes (subscribe)
Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published August 1st 2020
Finding a clean safe rest stop on your travels
There is no doubt that when travelling, the one thing that everyone looks for is a good clean toilet, however, depending on where you are, toilets can be horror stories or memories of those you would readily visit again. These days many caravans and motorhomes have in-house toilets or those who camp regularly have purchased portable toilets and potties. But for those travellers going from A to B or taking a day trip away, clean toilets can be hit and miss if a new destination is where you are headed.

Toilets, Travels, Free, Healthy, Everywhere, Australia, Queensland, Learn Something, Misc
Backyard Toilet Just Like Grandparent's My Had (Author's Photo)


Our youth would think the toilet has always been a vessel where the pushing of a button allows all to flush away. However, I am old enough to remember Christmas holidays at my Grandparent's place in Mount Morgan where the toilet was a smelly timber structure out in the backyard full of spiders and other creepy crawlies and the toilet paper was hung on a piece of wire sticking out from the wall. Oh, it was a horrid place and one I did not like to visit! Yet stories are still told of a period from my Grandpa's childhood, where toilet paper was none other than yesterday's news or butcher paper; the latter saved from the previous night's meal.

Toilets, Travels, Free, Healthy, Everywhere, Australia, Queensland, Learn Something, Misc
For Those Who Favour a Colour (Author's Photo)


It was not until 1960 that a Japanese company developed a sanitary system with dual flushing buttons to produce a full or half flow of water to be flushed away. I can still remember hearing my mother saying, "Don't forget to pull the chain". Chain? Yes, chains made a good handle to pull down and in doing so, flushed the toilet when the cisterns were high on the wall.

Over my travels, finding a clean toilet is always high on my agenda and some towns and businesses have gone out of their way to make my necessary trip a pleasant and interesting experience.

Toilets, Travels, Free, Healthy, Everywhere, Australia, Queensland, Learn Something, Misc
If the line is long, jump on the piano in Mount Morgan Railway Museum (Author's Photo)


Last time I visited the Mount Morgan Railway Museum, I was pleasantly surprised to find a piano in the corner of the waiting area. I guess if there is a line-up, one could always start a sing-along. Another pleasant and surprising find was when I visited Coolmunda Olive Farm, where owners have gone that little distance for customer comfort and a talking point. A large stainless-steel bath size washing basin, mirrors on the wall and coloured toilet paper in yellow and purple hung on the walls, giving all visitors an extraordinary experience. I recently read Maryborough in Queensland is also looking at sprucing up their Town Hall public toilets, perhaps in keeping with the history of the town.

Toilets, Travels, Free, Healthy, Everywhere, Australia, Queensland, Learn Something, Misc
Pleasantly Surprise Toilets at Coolmunda Olives (Author's Photo)


Travelling up and down the Bruce Highway to Maryborough, I have found clean toilets at Alfred Park in Gympie and the Driver Reviver Park near Gunalda, the latter of which is available for free campers for a maximum of twenty hours. If you care to turn off the highway into the small township of Gunalda, the council public toilets are well maintained and clean. There are toilets on either side of Gympie, but those mentioned above are my preference.

Toilets, Travels, Free, Healthy, Everywhere, Australia, Queensland, Learn Something, Misc
Driver Reviver Rest Stop Near Gunalda, Qld (Author's Photo)


Nindigully Pub highlights the country theme of "Ewes" & "Rams" on their toilet signs and other such animal names are a common scene in rural areas. Apple Tree Creek Dance Hall was famous for its toilet signs of "Mango" and "No Mango", which gave a smile to everyone when first seen.

Toilets, Travels, Free, Healthy, Everywhere, Australia, Queensland, Learn Something, Misc
Nindigully Pub (Author's Photo)


Just as tourists flock to see the Big Boot, Big Banana and other "big" highlights in our vast country, searching for the best or most unique toilet while travelling around Australia may be the next big tourist attraction. Keep a lookout as everywhere you go is another interesting travel adventure. If you are travelling and want to know where the toilet/rest stops are, you can jump onto the National Public Toilet Map, where planning your stops are made easy.

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Why? Looking for a clean toilet rest stop when you travel
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Your Comment
What a great informative historical article Susan. I too remember the 'outhouse' with old telephone books as the only facility. I recall many years ago a radio interview with a 100 lady and when asked what she thought was the greatest invention in her lifetime, she simply said. "Sewage." Neil.
by Neil Follett (score: 2|595) 12 days ago
Susan, both amusing and practical!
by May Cross (score: 3|6978) 12 days ago
Great article, Susan, very innovative!
by Elaine (score: 3|7440) 12 days ago
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