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Any travel writer waxing lyrical about toilets can only be writing about one of a handful of laudable loos.
The public toilets at the Sydney Opera House, perhaps (‘nearly as beautiful as the building itself’); those of Taiwan’s Chung Yo department store (‘drinks are brought to you while you relieve yourself’); Dolce & Gabana’s Gold store in Milan (‘follow in the hot bots of Kylie Minogue and Paris Hilton’); and ‘the king of all public conveniences’ – New Zealand’s very own Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa.
Never to be outdone, Queenstown has come up trumps with its own flash flushers: the brand new toilet block at Queenstown Top 10 Holiday Park Creeksyde.
These lavatorial works of art are located in an architecturally designed ‘Oast House, ’ built with timbers salvaged from the historic Buckham’s Brewery.
The finished building looks markedly different from the original architect’s plan, which comes as no surprise when the project manager is none other than the park’s co-owner, Tonnie ‘Professor Brainstorm’ Spijkerbosch.
A craftsman plumber and supreme do-it-yourselfer, Tonnie is responsible for many of the holiday park’s curiosities, such as ‘The Tapas Barbecue’ pavilion complete with faucet fence, polished concrete bench, tractor seats and flax-thatched roof.
Erna Spijkerbosch is camp mother, not just at Creeksyde but to holiday parks nationwide. An industry stalwart, she was a co-founder of the Kiwi Camps group in 1990 (now Kiwi Holiday Parks), and former president of the Holiday Parks Association.
At the 2011 industry awards Erna was recognised for ‘outstanding service to the holiday park industry’. The park was finalist in the ‘spirit of hospitality award’, while recent improvements – including the new Oast House toilet blocks – earned them the Resco Best Upgrade Award.
There can’t be much room left in the trophy cabinet.
Erna and Tonnie were early champions of the green principles that have become de rigueur for much of the holiday parks sector.
In 2003 Creeksyde became the first holiday park in the world to be benchmarked by Green Globe, and in 2004 they also became the first to receive their certification.
Today they hold ‘Gold’ status with both Green Globe and with the international EarthCheck programme, the largest environmental assessment system used by the travel and tourism industry.
This commitment to sustainability is evident all round the park, but no less significantly in Erna’s ‘environmental cleaning’ regime which employs plenty of baking soda and vinegar, and lashings of good-old elbow grease.
This isn’t the only way Creeksyde adheres to the code of reduce, reuse, recycle. The incorporation of the old brewery timbers into the new Oast House is another.
So is the collection of historic, often quirky treasures sprinkled throughout the park, such as the Temuka pottery mugs in the motel units and the display of wooden cogs in B Block’s kitchen.
Erna and Tonnie are regulars on TradeMe and at farm clearing sales. They are judicious collectors with a keen eye for oddities and the often beautiful remnants of an era when manmade meant handmade, not pressed out by a cookie cutter with an automaton on the lever.
The holiday park was a retirement project that morphed into a whole new way of life. Erna and Tonnie built it up from scratch, opening in 1987 when the tourist campervan market was evolving rapidly.
Accordingly, the holiday park has grown ‘organically’ over the last quarter-century, and today it covers 3.5 green acres in an urban but still quiet corner of Queenstown, sandwiched between the round, green hills of Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve and Queenstown Recreation Reserve.
It’s just five minutes walk from the town centre.
The Oast House toilet block was official launched at a pun-filled ceremony on 26 May 2011. The Wizard of New Zealand officiated with wonderful overstatement when he declared the toilets ‘an example of making the world a better place’.
In a particularly heart-warming moment, honorary guests Peter and Dorothy Inglis – regular visitors to Creeksyde over the last 23 years – were invited to be the first official patrons through the doors.
Standing sentry at the entrance are ‘Jack & Jane’, a pair of grotesques named after fondly regarded visitors from England.
There’s more than a bit of ‘Narnia wardrobe’ going on once you step inside, with myriad scenes behind every door. Both the mens’ ‘pub with no beer’ and ladies’ ‘day spa’ are lined with vinyl-printed photographs of the region and its attractions.
A half-naked man Ziptrek’s through the shower, while sitting on the loo you could be in the driving seat on a 4WD adventure, or kept company by a flock of paragliders.
Muralist (and nephew) Marc Spijkerbosch has painted the floors in his acclaimed trompe l’oeil style – careful you don’t fall down the cellar stairs or accidentally take a plunge in the pool!
Fun, friendly, convenient, and with a bed for every budget, Creeksyde is a very special New Zealand Holiday Park, one packed full of delightful surprises.
Queenstown Top 10 Holiday Park Creeksyde, 54 Robins Road
0800 786 222, 03-442 9447
Marc Spijkerbosch: Artist, muralist and trompe l’oeil specialist.