DoC says bring a 'poo tube' as faeces pile up on Queenstown's Ben Lomond

A photo of human excrement and soiled paper taken atop Queenstown's Ben Lomond has renewed calls for better toilet facilities on the mountain.

But Department of Conservation (DoC) officials say for now, people should just do their business before they head out, or at least take a 'poo tube' so they can bring their number twos back with them.

Queenstown resident John Presto took the disgusting photo over the new year break, telling local paper Mountain Scene it "paints a thousand words".

The popularity of the region with tourists is "fast turning a once beautiful and pristine corner of the world into another Venice or Barcelona" he said. 

Venice has recently cut down the number of cruise ships allowed to dock in the city, and Barcelona's streets and beaches are often crowded with tourists. It's estimated around 35,000 people walk to the summit of Ben Lomond each year, and that number's growing fast.

DoC told Newshub it's considering putting in a toilet at a spot called 'the saddle', where people like to stop and take in the view, but "the reality is this has to be weighed up against visitor facility demands elsewhere".

A decision is expected by the end of February.

"There is a strong case for including a toilet on the saddle," senior ranger Susie Geh told Newshub. "However these factors need to be considered alongside the high  and ongoing costs of building and maintaining a toilet in a remote location (including removal of waste by helicopter), any environmental impacts, and requirements for facilities elsewhere.

"Toileting is a wider issue for DoC and cannot be solved by increasing facilities alone. It’s not feasible or desirable to put a toilet on every corner in our great outdoors."

If people think they might need to go, Geh said they should take a "poo pot or poo tube" with them.

DoC's website contains a guide on how to make a 'poo tube', which it put together as part of its 'poo in a loo' campaign of 2018. If you don't have a tube or bag, and there are no toilets nearby, DoC also has a guide on how to dig a hole.

"Even when there is a toilet, we often see people choosing to relieve themselves elsewhere," said Geh. "It's clear that a huge part of the issue of inappropriate toileting is human behaviour which can make all the difference."

Defending the bizarre campaign, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said in 2018 it was important visitors "understand the need to have as little impact as possible on our wild spaces and natural area".

National MP Hamish Walker of Clutha-Southland told the Otago Daily Times in December a toilet was badly needed, and should be funded by the Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Queenstown's local council has refused to fund it, telling Mountain Scene DoC should pay for it.