Head­ing East

Taste & Travel - - Destinations -

The Coro­man­del Penin­sula is a fin­ger-shaped ex­ten­sion of the North Is­land, just two hours from Auck­land but a world apart — de­fined by moun­tains clad in hob­bitty for­est, twist­ing roads and gor­geous scoops of beach. In some spots hot wa­ter bubbles out of the sand; in oth­ers, semi­precious gem­stones are free for the tak­ing. In the 1970s gov­ern­ment land grants led to a num­ber of hippy com­munes be­ing es­tab­lished on the Penin­sula. All but one have gone now but the back-to-the-land ethos is still strong. Fish­er­men, small-scale farm­ers and ar­ti­san food pro­duc­ers abound. Honey, wine, cit­rus, av­o­ca­dos, cheese, smoked fish and other hand­crafted ed­i­bles are avail­able at road­side stands and fea­ture promi­nently on lo­cal menus.

Over­look­ing pic­turesque Kuao­tunu Beach, Lukes' Kitchen started life in a car­a­van. Owner Luke Reilly surfed by day and dished up food for lo­cals by night. To­day the surf-shack theme unites a clus­ter of in­door and out­door spa­ces an­chored by a wood-burn­ing pizza oven. The dress code

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