Lydia Harfield of Apostle Hot Sauce - Her Guide to Kāpiti Coast

A woman wearing a stripped top smiling.

Meet Kāpiti Coast local Lydia Harfield. She runs Apostle Hot Sauce with her partner Mat; they make a range of noteworthy small-batch chilli-based condiments. Lydia also works as a Graphic Designer for One & Only Agency, a Kāpiti based design agency.

Here are her picks on the best places to experience in Kāpiti Coast.

Photo by: Anna Briggs 

I’ve lived in Paekākāriki with my partner Mat since 2018, but my connection to Kāpiti began much earlier. My mum grew up in Paekākāriki, and my Nana lived here when I was a kid, so I would spend many school holidays here and feel very connected to Kāpiti. I always dreamed of living in Paekākāriki, so when the opportunity to rent a place here came up, we didn’t hesitate to swap our mouldy Kelburn flat for the coastal life. I love Kāpiti because I go to the beach daily, which feels good for the soul. It’s also a different pace of life. We don’t have to deal with bad traffic and finding a park. For me, not having those little stresses makes all the difference. 

Mat and I started our business, Apostle Hot Sauce, in 2019. Before we had a name, we’d been selling our homemade hot sauce in unlabeled bottles at the monthly Paekākāriki market. The community is so supportive, and that really helped give us the confidence to make it into a real business. We make a range of chilli based sauces with unique flavour combinations, such as Kiwifruit and Kawakawa and Blueberry, Szechuan and Habanero. We started in a tiny kitchen in Paekākāriki and have just taken over the lease on a small warehouse in Paraparaumu, which we are fitting out with a production space. Once we are all set up, we plan to have events and workshops there. Kāpiti has so many food and beverage producers; it’s a real community where everyone is super supportive of each other. I love that through the tight-knit Kāpiti community, I have met so many producers who inspire me and have firm favourites of everything from gin to coffee, Kefir and bread made by people I know on the Coast.

Catch a Gig at St Peter’s Hall Paekākāriki

Beach Road, Paekākāriki

We are super lucky in Paekākāriki to have Saint Peter’s Hall as a favourite venue for some fantastic local artists. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to see Lawrence Arabia, Tiny Ruins, Orchestra of Spheres, and Delaney Davidson play just around the corner from my house. These shows are extra special because they are super relaxed and intimate, with a beautiful community atmosphere. Even if you live in Wellington Central, I recommend catching the train out with some friends to experience one of these shows as a total change of pace from the bigger city. 

Sheffield Street on a Saturday Morning

There is a fantastic cluster of local producers on Sheffield Street in Paraparaumu. If you head down there on a Saturday morning, you can enjoy Dark Horse Coffee in their Espresso Garden and treat yourself to the most delicious Poffertjes from Montfoort; these are like mini Dutch pancakes and are out of this world! Once you’ve done this, you can head next door to Duncan's Brewery and pick up some craft beer to enjoy later. I particularly like their Yuzu Lager.  

Bike Ride along the Te Ara o Whareroa trail from Queen Elizabeth Park to Raumati

Kāpiti has some incredible bike tracks. Over the summer, I love biking the Te Ara o Whareroa trail, which runs from Queen Elizabeth Park in Paekākāriki to Raumati. It’s the perfect easy bike ride through inland Queen Elizabeth Park. On the way, you can stop off at the Wetlands and watch the native birds. It’s so peaceful along this track, and there are never too many people, so it’s a perfect escape. You can actually continue along to Waikanae if you want an extra challenge.

Shopping at Hendrix Waikane

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48 Rauparaha Street, Waikanae Beach

Hendrix at Waikanae beach is my favourite place to buy gifts on the coast. A lot of people in my life are having babies at the moment, and they have the cutest range of baby clothes and toys, which makes buying gifts so easy. They also stock a great range of really unique clothes and homeware. It’s so nice not to go into Wellington Central anymore to find things I like. 

A beach at sunset.

A Day at Paekākāriki Beach

https://www.paekakarikipops.co.nz/

I think my dream day is a day spent at Paekākāriki beach. The tide is low, so it’s super safe for swimming. The sand is soft, perfect for building sand castles, and there is the choice of heading to the south end, where there are rock pools to explore, or just lounging around on the sand for the day. I like to stay near the Beach Road entrance so I can pop down to the Paekākāriki Village Grocer and get a Paekākāriki Pop when I need something to cool down. These are locally made ice blocks with the best flavours like Avocado and Lime and Ginger, Lime and Lemongrass.

Two kids running on a board walk in a native bush.

Explore the wildlife at Ngā Manu Nature Reserve

https://ngamanu.org.nz/

Ngā Manu Nature Reserve is such a fun day out. My Nana took me there when I was young, so it holds a special place in my heart. There is a lovely bush track where you can see lots of native wildlife along the way, including Kiwi, Tuatara, Kea and even eels. This is a perfect place to take kids, but even as an adult, I enjoy getting my little brown paper bag of bird feed and feeding the ducks, and taking my time to explore.

A kea on a tree.

Day Trip to Kapiti Island

https://www.kapitiisland.com/ferry-tickets-self-guided-tours/

Kapiti Island is a very special experience. You can catch a ferry across from Paraparaumu Beach and spend the day there. It’s completely pest-free, so the bird life is incredible. I recommend walking to the summit, but take your time in the beautiful fresh forest air and watch the abundance of native birds. From the top, you get breathtaking 360-degree views. If you have time before your ferry ride back, just sit still and watch the birds; you’ll see Takahe, Weka and, if you’re lucky, maybe even a Kokako. 

Pizza at Beach Road Deli

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5 Beach Road, Paekākāriki

Beach Road Deli has some of the best food on the coast. They do amazing pizzas on Friday nights, but I also love going there for lunch. They make their Focaccia for their sandwiches in-house and always have the best Vegetarian options. The staff are so friendly; it just creates such a nice atmosphere. If it's sunny, I always sit outside with my dog and enjoy watching the world go by. 

Saturday Market Followed by a Picnic Lunch from Seriously Pickled

43 Seaview Road, Paraparaumu Beach

Every Saturday, there is a vege market at Paraparaumu Beach, where I always go for my weekly vege shop. They have a great range of fresh produce and artisan goods such as olive oil, cheese and bread. Afterwards, Seriously Pickled is the perfect lunch stop. Lucinda makes the best range of hearty and healthy deli foods from her cute tiny deli on Seaview Road. I love her salads and soups; her carrot cake is out of this world.

Pick your own at Penray Gardens

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1199 State Highway 1, South, Ōtaki

Penray Gardens in Ōtaki grows a wide variety of fresh produce and offers pick-your-own. When we first started making hot sauce, we would go up there at the weekend and pick our own chillies, but they also offer strawberries, tomatoes, capsicums and much more. It’s a nice change of pace to pick your own, and if you go on a hot day, they have their real fruit ice cream on offer, which is the perfect pick me up. 

 

Neat Kāpiti Coast Places

Olde Beach Bakery

A view of the inside of Olde Beach Bakery on sunny day.
Place Kāpiti Coast Paekākāriki
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Olde Beach Bakery pumps out delicious baked goods in the heart of Paekākāriki for the enjoyment of locals and visitors alike.

Dark Horse

Customers chatting at tables outside the cafe.
Place Kāpiti Coast Paraparaumu
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Dark Horse Coffee co. has been providing the people of Kāpiti Coast and beyond with delicious artisan coffee since 2016.

Bus Stop Café

A vintage living room sitting next to large windows.
Place Kāpiti Coast
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The Bus Stop Cafe is a hidden secret a stone's throw away from Te Horo Beach.

Long Beach Tavern

Graffiti art on an exterior wall.
Place Kāpiti Coast
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The ultimate community restaurant, Long Beach, is a Waikanae institution.