Cool toilets at Abbey Caves

Published on 18 May 2022

An image of the mural on the Abbey Caves public toilet block.

The sense people entering the Abbey Caves get of stepping into a cool, dark space is echoed in the paintwork at the entrances to the reserve’s new toilet block.

Abbey Caves

Artist Melinda Butt used frames of deepening colour to create depth of field around the silvery stainless steel doors.

“I wanted to frame them and play with the idea of different portholes/ entranceways. The colours also tie in with Council’s colours,” she said.

“At the back I wanted to create a striking motif that celebrates nature. The shapes reference the waka, time and journeys."

“Symbolism and colour play a significant role in my artwork. I always want to use compositions, shapes and colours that tie in with the surrounding environment."

“The new $150,000 toilet system built by Exeloo includes a rainwater tank, septic system, effluent field, and complement the revamped carpark and entry to the reserve completed last year. The carpark and toilet block are locked at dusk and opened at dawn by contractors."

Those improvements, funded by Council and Government’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund, included levelling and sealing the area to provide 15 new car parks, three car and trailer parks and two bus parks.

The improvements also include a new rainwater detention pond north of the site to collect and treat surface water run-off from the car park.

A picture of the mural at Abbey Caves toilet and water tank.

A new connecting pathway was built between the car park and the entrance to the Abbey Caves walkway, and a secure crossing was installed across Abbey Caves Road.

The speed limit past the area was reduced to 60kph. Council worked with the Mountain Bike Club and local hapū Ngāti Kahu o Torongare to ensure the car park design meets their requirements, and Mr Winiwini Kingi from Ngāti Kahu o Torongare blessed the site prior to construction commencement on Monday 8 March 2022.