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Australian tea tree oil is famous for its antimicrobial qualities. The oil of the almost identical New Zealand manuka is generally just as good, but in 1992 manuka oil from the East Cape was found to have super-strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. The small factory at 4464 Te Araroa Rd, 2km west of Te Araroa (Nov–April daily 9am–4pm; May–Oct Mon–Fri 9am–4pm; t 0508 626 852, w eastcapemanuka.co.nz), extracts the essential oils by steam distillation from the twigs of manuka trees grown in the surrounding hills. You can’t tour the factory, but a wide range of manuka-oil soaps, medicinal creams and aromatherapy potions (all exported around the world) is sold in the shop/café where you can also sample manuka tea and buy local manuka honey.

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