-Australia's amazing amenities weren't on my radar a decade ago. But that changed at Kata Tjuta, when I emerged from the ladies loo to see a panorama of rocky red domes and cloud-strewn blue sky, all so perfectly framed in the dunny doorway that it looked like a film set. Had I found Australia's most scenic loo?' – Red Nomad aka Marion Halliday
Since that fateful trip to the ladies at Kata Tjuta, travelling loo-lover Marion Halliday's well-developed talent for dunny discovery has unearthed an astonishing diversity of amazing amenities, odd-ball outhouses, crazy conveniences and deadly dunnies from all around the country. After documenting her treasured toilets in her travel blog for several years, Marion decided it was time to share her wonderful WCs with the world in her book, Aussie Loos With Views!
There's guaranteed to be a loo for you in this book, from the tiny bush tardis tucked into the hillside at Ormiston Gorge, NT to the imaginatively-titled Thargo Thunderbox in Thargomindah, QLD; the spectacular convenience setting on Lord Howe Island to Australia's highest loo at Rawson Pass, NSW. With full-colour photography throughout, Aussie Loos With Views! places our most visited attractions into chapters such as -Deadly Dunnies', -The Loos, The Views' and -Only In Australia, The Novelty Factor'.
Although the scenic loos started off as a by-product of exploring Australia, Marion says they're an important part of defining Australia's cultural landscape, and a celebration of the down-to-earth Aussie quirkiness that's known around the world. Following Marion's journey through Australia's loo-littered landscape is like taking a virtual tour to the best places, and seeing some of the best sights Australia has to offer. And that'll make doing your business a real pleasure!
A light-hearted loo-read, Aussie Loos With Views! will appeal to even the most seasoned armchair traveller, and is the perfect gift for the dad – or anyone else - who has everything. Yes, Aussie Loos With Views! is the book you've been waiting for – but hopefully not holding on for!
Once upon a time, Marion Halliday worked as an educator and administrator, where she developed her 'creative' storytelling skills. Now she's left bureaucracy behind, and she hits the road to explore Australia, share its secrets and feed her outhouse obsession whenever she can. Her storytelling skills are put to much better use in her travel blog, where, as Red Nomad OZ, she shares all her amazing Australian adventures.
In her travels to every Aussie state and territory, Marion has seen cane toad racing, dodged deadly snakes, and been bitten by a wombat; explored beautiful beaches and eaten in an astonishing number of bakeries; climbed Australia's highest peak and the world's smallest mountain; dug up fossils and worthless opals. But nothing beats finding a new Australian scenic loo!
Aussie Loos With Views
Author: Marion Halliday
Question: What originally inspired your travel blog?
Marion Halliday: Take a virtual time-travel-trip way back to before the world-wide-web achieved global domination, film photos needed to be developed before anyone could see them and social media meant sharing my adventures travelling in Australia via postcards!
Yes, those were dark times.
But although I used the primitive (and time-consuming) postcard communication method, I loved the challenge of discovering wonderful, off-beat and amazing Aussie places and experiences my family and friends had never heard of.
Sadly – although happily for me – finding new and unusual OZ hot spots that most people hadn't heard of was ridiculously easy. So I continued to explore and photograph more and more of Australia's awesome natural attractions, sensational scenery and bizarre oddities. I graduated from postcards to email newsletters and my audience grew.
By then I had enough material to write a book – and everyone was telling me to do it. But a handful of postcard and email updates wouldn't necessarily make a book – not that anyone would want to buy, anyway! So I looked around for an alternative platform where I could a) showcase the best of my Aussie discoveries; b) reach a wider audience and c) inspire others to explore the magical land of OZ. A platform that let me decide when, where and how to publish. With minimal cost!
Did such a platform exist? It sure did!
So around the time my friend told me she'd 'done' Australia (ie Gold Coast theme parks, Barrier Reef, the snow) so her family's next holiday would have to be overseas, I combined my talents for persuasion, photography and giving good postcard – and my blog Amazing Australian Adventures was born!
Question: What inspired you to use your blog and create Aussie Loos With Views?
Marion Halliday: Over the years I'd found first-hand how rare it was to see a great Aussie scenic attraction without a corresponding convenience block. Once I started looking I found the Aussie landscape is just littered with loos well and truly worth a second look.
Maybe that's because Aussie sense of humour + love of the off-beat + ability to devise a dunny from whatever building materials are at hand = a unique collection of over-the-top outhouses, crazy conveniences, weird WCs and amazing amenities!
Sometimes, the loo is MORE of a highlight than the attraction it's there to support!
So I created my regular blog series 'Australia's Scenic Public Toilets' to feature the great scenic loos of Australia AND the attractions that go with them in a behind the scenes travel exposé of the best spots in Australia to combine (doing your) business with pleasure!
In short – take the Top Aussie Toilet Tour to see Australia's best attractions with a few surprises thrown in!
The biggest surprise for me, however, was the ever-increasing popularity of my blog loo series. It's no 'accident' that two of my top 10 most viewed blog posts feature Aussie loos! All that dunny devotion deserved a reward! So I created the opportunity for every reader to achieve their (perhaps unrealised) dream of owning an Aussie Loos calendar – now in its 4th edition.
But where to from there?
Well … is it REALLY a surprise that a loo-loving blogger with a chronic outhouse obsession, genetic reading addiction and incurable OZ travel habit would write a book about loos?
Question: Can you tell us about your first -scenic loo' experience?
Marion Halliday: I've been a dunny detective ever since I visited the Kata Tjuta (Olgas) amenities just down the road from Uluru in Central Australia over 10 years ago. From the dunny door, the staggeringly scenic red rock dome, blue outback sky and green desert vegetation panorama was right there in front of me. I immediately took a photo – my first Aussie Scenic Loo!
At that moment, I was sure I'd found Australia's MOST Scenic Loo – but you'll have to read the book to see whether it really was or not!!
Question: Where was the most interesting -scenic loo' you found?
Marion Halliday: Gunnedah's 'Lyrical Loos'!
This country New South Wales town offers a complete poetry-themed public-loo-going experience – and I'm not talking about grotty graffiti written on the dunny door!
At the end of a self-drive tour featuring 16 Aussie poets, the public amenities block celebrates Aussie poets by featuring decorative silhouettes of scenes from famous poems on the exterior walls; excerpts of famous works on the doors of each cubicle; and a continuously playing loop of Aussie poetry recitations piped throughout the conveniences!
It's one of the more innovative – and bizarre – Aussie loo experiences I've had. To date, that is!
But after a long day on the road when you've been crossing your legs for the last half hour with nowhere to 'go' and it's getting desperate, the loo that you spot in the distance is the best AND most interesting loo of all!
Question: Since you published this book have you found more Aussie loos with views?
Marion Halliday: The fun never stops on the road. I've personally found new scenic loos in five Australian states since this book was completed – and I've got an ever-growing list of new loos to check out from all around the country that people have shared with me!
So will 'Aussie Loos with Views!' be followed by 'Aussie Loos: Number Twos'??
Just wait and see!
Interview by Brooke Hunter