There is nothing worse than enjoying a family outing in the beautiful Australian sunshine, when all of a sudden someone announces, ‘I’m busting!’ This usually results in the adults frantically looking around for the nearest amenities and bundling up the family to rush to the toilet before it is too late.
If you find yourself in an area you are not familiar with, then consider the following ways to locate the nearest toilet.
Toilets can also be referred to as a restroom, bathroom, amenities, or facilities. And for those encountering Australian slang for the first time, a toilet can also be referred to as a loo or dunny.
What is a Public Toilet?
In Australia, a public toilet refers to any toilet which is located outside the home. Primarily, these toilets can be found in businesses and public spaces, such as parks and playgrounds.
Often there will be a designated male and separate female toilet, though sometimes, especially in a small business, there may just be one unisex toilet.Accessible public toilets are also usually provided, as are baby change facilities, though sometimes these toilets will require a key to enter.
Considerations When Using Public Toilets in Australia
- Public toilets in Australia are FREE to use
- Users are required to sit on the toilet, not stand on the toilet seat
- Some toilets, especially those attached to a business, may require a key, which can be obtained from the business.
- While many toilets in shopping centres contain soap dispensers, some other public facilities do not. Always carry some liquid hand soap or sanitiser with you for these moments.
- Likewise, most toilets should contain toilet paper, but it doesn’t hurt to carry some tissues with you (no one wants to be stuck on the toilet without any toilet paper)
Where to Find Public Toilets
Parks and playgrounds adorn nearly every suburb throughout Australia, ranging from the compact and simple to the sprawling and amazing. While the small neighbourhood parks tucked away into residential areas don’t usually have toilet facilities the majority of the larger parks and playgrounds will have toilets for visitors to use.
Keep in mind though, that some toilets in parks and playgrounds, will only be open during daylight hours.
Cleanliness, and the supply of toilet paper and hand soap can also be a bit hit and miss in these sorts of public toilets due to the lack of supervision. Local councils are usually in charge of such toilets, so if you ever come across maintenance issues in a local public toilet, contact the council in question. Contact details can usually be found within the facilities or on a sign outside.
Public toilets can be found in most shopping centres. In the larger centres, especially those with a food court, toilet facilities are almost always located close by to the food court.
Toilet facilities in shopping centres can be located by looking for a ‘toilet’ sign, which will usually have arrows pointing in the direction of the toilet. Consulting the shopping centre directory or speaking with the concierge is another way of finding the nearest toilet at a shopping centre.
The larger shopping centres will also have designated parent rooms, which usually have a private space for those who are feeding babies, as well as change table facilities and sometimes even a microwave, tv and play area for children.
There seems to be a fast-food outlet on nearly every street corner in Australia, especially in the more populated towns and cities. So, if you are in need of a toilet, you can be sure to find one at the nearest McDonalds, KFC, Hungry Jacks etc. While there is no costs associated with using these toilets, they are technically for paying customers, so it is customary to make a purchase from the business in return for using their toilet facilities.
Service Stations/Petrol Stations
Petrol stations and big service centres will usually have a toilet for customers to use. Once again, it is usually a common courtesy to purchase something from these business if you are planning to use their toilet facilities.
Digital Ways to Find a Public Toilet
If you find yourself in an unfamiliar area and in desperate need of toilet, and assuming you have access to a phone with internet capabilities, you can use the following ways to help locate your nearest public toilet.
The interactive, National Public Toilet Map, is a wonderful service, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. It provides users with ability to search for nearby public toilets, with more than 19,000 public and private facilities across Australia listed.
Not only can you find the nearest toilet but you can also see the details of what is provided at each location – accessibility details, opening, baby changing facilities, sharps disposal, showers, opening hours etc.
The easy-to-use website allows users to search for facilities while applying filters such as whether you are walking or in a car, toilets open 24 hours and more. Users can also set default preferences and save particular toilet locations and details to your favourites, so they are easy to find next time.
Accessing Google Maps on your device, phone or in the car can help you find the nearest public. Firstly, make sure your location is correct and then in the search bar type ‘public toilets near me.’
Personally, I haven’t found this method of finding nearby toilets to be very reliant. Many of the toilets are often listed as closed, while others nearby are not listed at all.
If all else fails, type in shopping centres, petrol stations, or a fast-food restaurant and use their toilet.
As you are searching for your nearest public toilet, keep your eye out for unique toilets, like this one at Blatchford Park on the northside of Brisbane. You can check out our detailed review of Blatchford Sporting and Recreation Reserve here.