New Zealand

Five things to do with dad this Father’s Day


Keep your eye on the ball this Father’s Day and you’ll be in dad’s good books all year.

Even if dad insists that the only present he wants on Father’s Day is your presence, he’ll be secretly hoping you’ll take him some place nice. 

Show the old man how much he means to you with a fun-filled day out. Whether he’s a chef in the making, petrolhead, wine, beer or whiskey imbiber or in need of dedicated R&R time, there is something to suit. 

Invest in a lifetime of homecooked meals by enrolling dad in cooking school.


Invest in a lifetime of homecooked meals by enrolling dad in cooking school.

Enrol him in cooking school

If dad’s dinners aren’t up to scratch, there are plenty of cooking schools up and down the country catering for a variety of tastes and ability levels.

Think the family meals need more flavour? Sign him up to an Indian, Chinese, Thai (or basically any other Asian) cooking class. His meals a bit on the simple side? The gourmet classes at Waipoua Lodge in Northland, Breckenridge Lodge in Hawke’s Bay, the Ruth Pretty Cooking School on the Kapiti Coast, Otahuna Lodge in Christchurch or Akaroa Cooking School should do the trick. 

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Auckland Seafood School is hosting a Father’s Day brunch which would see dad work on his skills in the kitchen for two-and-a-half hours before tucking into a salmon breakfast burrito and crepes with banana, maple sugar and syrup and a dollop of Rush Munro ice cream. The family is welcome to join him of course – but only dad’s entitled to the special coffee punch.

Dads go free on Beachcomber Cruises' Father's Day outing to Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary.


Dads go free on Beachcomber Cruises’ Father’s Day outing to Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary.

Go on a free cruise… or to his favourite beauty spot

Dads go free on Beachcomber Cruises’ Father’s Day jaunt from Picton harbour to Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary.

Located in Queen Charlotte Sound, the reserve serves as a creche for Rowi kiwi chicks and also provides a home for other native species of flora and fauna, including fur seals, little blue penguins, New Zealand falcons and South Island robins.

Take a picnic and find a section of the 40-hectare space to call your own or do the 2.7km walk. The cruise leaves at 1pm, picks passengers up from Kaipupu Point at 2:30pm and will set non-dads back $5 each. Groups are asked to spare a gold coin to help with the upkeep of the sanctuary.

If you’re nowhere near Picton, don’t fret. New Zealand is full of beautiful spots offering free outdoor fun – take him to his favourite haunt or somewhere new for you both. The old man will get a mood-boosting dose of nature, life-lengthening exercise and the unsurpassable pleasure of your company. What could be a more priceless gift than that?

Give dad the gift of inner peace with a yoga or meditation class.


Give dad the gift of inner peace with a yoga or meditation class.

Calm him down with yoga, meditation or a spa treatment

If dad’s been losing it a bit too often lately, a restorative yoga session could be just the ticket (if you’re not sure he’d be into it, make it a surprise “half-day out”).

Urban Yoga in Wellington is offering a two-hour session from 2:30pm on Father’s Day for stressed-out dads and their long-suffering progeny. It doesn’t matter if dad’s not the flexible sort – restorative yoga is about holding resting postures to release tension from the tissues. Or, as proper yogis would put it, to enter a state of “conscious relaxation”. With a guided meditation and simple breathing techniques also included, dad should be super calm (and amenable to your demands) for days.

Plenty of other places around the country also offer restorative yoga classes and meditation and, if dad’s been extra good this year, why not treat him to a massage or day at a local spa?  

Bonding over beer at Baylands Brewery, Petone.


Bonding over beer at Baylands Brewery, Petone.

Go booze tasting

Whatever your dad’s tipple of choice, it can form the basis of a day and/or night of fun for the whole family (well, those of legal drinking age at least).

Dad a bit of a wino? Treat him to a tiki tour around your nearest winemaking region (Waiheke, Hawke’s Bay, Martinborough, Marlborough and Central Otago are only among the most well known).

Dad more of a craft beer dude? No problem when you live in a country where more than 250 varieties are brewed. If you’re in Wellington, download a craft beer trail at or, if you don’t want to walk/stumble between establishments, book a beer-themed tour with the likes of Wild About Wellington tours. Nelson is another good spot to hit up: It boasts more craft breweries per head of population that anywhere else in the country.

If dad’s more of a spirit man, a quick internet search will uncover myriad options for a tailor-made tour. Auckland dads who share Mark Twain’s view that “too much whiskey is barely enough” should enjoy The Cork Gin & Whiskey and The Whiskey in Ponsonby and The Jefferson, Coley and Punch and Fukoko in the CBD.

Failing that, buy a box of his favourite beers and join him on the couch. If dad had any long-held secrets you’re dying to know about or you need to ask a big favour, now could be the time.

The Air Force museum allows visitors to sit in the cockpits of wartime fighters and classic jets on Father's Day.


The Air Force museum allows visitors to sit in the cockpits of wartime fighters and classic jets on Father’s Day.

Indulge his inner geek

Many a dad has a mechanical, technological or other obsession that his family can no longer stand hearing about. This is dad’s special day though so why not make it by taking him to an exhibition, museum or talk right up his proverbial alley?

The Air Force Museum in Christchurch is a perfect choice for plane nerds – the collection includes military aircraft and objects from before World War One to today. The museum’s free to enter but, on Father’s Day, $85 will buy dad 15 minutes in the cockpits of three aircraft, including wartime fighters and classic jets.

Auckland petrolheads might like to head to Motat, which is hosting an event featuring displays from local car and motorbike clubs alongside its “Accelerate: Driving New Zealand” exhibition. If you need to do something drastic to get in dad’s good books, getting a temporary “dad” tat at the pop-up parlour might do it.

Dads who like messing about in boats might be lucky enough to be gifted tickets to The Lodge at Kauri Cliff’s Salute to New Zealand Yachting Greats weekend event. Hosted by PJ “The America’s Cup is now New Zealand’s Cup” Montgomery and featuring Q&A sessions with Emirates Team New Zealand members Richard Meacham and Kevin Shoebridge, the two-night event, running from September 7-9, costs from $1750 plus GST per person and includes two nights in a luxury suite, drinks, canapes, gourmet dinners and either unlimited green fees or a 50-minute spa treatment.

What are your plans for Father’s Day? Share them in the comments.

Kauri Cliffs is hosting a "salute to New Zealand yachting greats" from September 7-9.


Kauri Cliffs is hosting a “salute to New Zealand yachting greats” from September 7-9.

 – Stuff

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