Toilet in the bush
Image: DOC


There aren't many toilets in our wild places. Always go before you start your trip and use a loo when you can.

Never miss an opportunity to use a loo and if you're heading out for a longer walk, be properly prepared.


Never say no to a loo

There are toilets at every DOC hut and campsite and at some popular car parks. However, there aren't toilets on most tracks and even when there are, they are usually far apart. So use a loo when you see one!

When there's no toilet

If you need to poo but there's no toilet, it's best to hold on until the next loo. However, if you can't wait, use one of these options.

Option 1: Dig a hole well away from people and water

Dig 50 m away and 20 cm deep in a sunny spot to speed up decomposition

It's important to keep poo far from streams, lakes and other people. Follow these simple steps to poo safely:

  1. Walk at least 50 m (about 70 steps) from water, tracks and campsites.
  2. Dig down 15-20 cm (about the length of your hand).
  3. Use as little toilet paper as possible, or else use soft leaves or bark. Don't use bleached toilet paper or wet wipes.
  4. Bury your poo and all toilet paper with soil, filling the hole to the top.

Why these steps are important

Without walking well away and digging down, it's easier for poo to spread nasty diseases like giardia. Giardia is an infection can cause diarrhoea, nausea and stomach cramping. 

Many DOC huts and campsites get their water supply from streams. If the supply has contact with poo or giardia, outbreaks of sickness can occur and spread easily.

Option 2: Carry it to the next long drop

Use a compostable bag and a poo pot or poo tube to transport your poo to the next long-drop or composting toilet.

  1. Place your poo and all toilet paper into a compostable bag and tie it up.
  2. Place the bag into the poo pot and close the lid.
  3. When you get to a toilet, check it's the right type. If it's a composting or long-drop toilet, put the bagged poo into the toilet.
Don't put your bagged poo in these places

Don't put bagged poo into flush toilets or loos that need to be pumped out.

  • Flush toilets
  • Containment-vault toilets
  • Motor-home dump stations
  • Gardens
  • Rubbish bins or landfills

If bagged poo isn't properly disposed of, it can block toilets and spread diseases.

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