What to Do with Dad This Father’s Day


Father’s Day is on Sunday, which means it’s time to show the old man how much you love him. We’ve found some of the best things to do around Australia.

It’s that time of year again: the day to celebrate the paternal influence in your life. If you’re older than 12, a pair of socks and breakfast in bed probably won’t cut it anymore (but don’t stop with the homemade cards). Whether your dad is a footy-and-VB type or prefers something more refined, we’ve found the best things to do with your dad wherever you are.


Join the migration

Each year, southern right, orca and minke whales make their way along Sydney’s coastline – but it’s the incredible humpbacks that get the most attention. If your dad is a sea lover, take him on a whale-watching cruise that departs from Circular Quay. This year is predicted to be the busiest ever along the whale corridor. 

The finer things

Take a Francophile dad for lunch or dinner at Bistrot Gavroche and everyone at the table will be treated to a Kir Royale, a French cocktail of crème de cassis topped up with Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve Champagne. The menu is a superb collection of French classics: escargot, crab thermidor, pâté en croûte, duck confit and steak frites. Don’t skimp on dessert, either – the crepes suzette and classic tarte Tatin are très bien

Where: Level 1, 2-10 Kensington Street, Chippendale

To market

The Blak Markets are held quarterly on Bare Island in La Perouse. This Sunday’s event celebrates the father-child bond with spear-making workshops and dillybag-weaving classes that they can do together. There will also be dance performances, bush food to sample and arts and craft stalls. A photo-shoot will be held on the day to snap Indigenous fathers and their kids. 

Where: Bare Island, La Perouse

Surf then brunch

Tell dad to dust off his surfboard (or his Speedos) and head east to Bondi Beach. After some quality time in the sun, a feast is in order. At Sefa, a five-course brunch, featuring fresh, modern Middle Eastern dishes, is paired with a cocktail. Plus, there’s a gift for every dad! 

When: 9am-3pm
Where: 292 Bondi Road, Bondi


Super-manly high tea

There’s no shame in enjoying cucumber sandwiches and a civilised Devonshire tea but if your dad prefers a mug to a teacup, The Stables of Como has the perfect compromise. The Guy Tea is a protein-heavy high tea: father-types will be served mini Wagyu-beef burgers, barbecue-pork sliders and chicken pies, with bottomless Peroni Red Label to wash them down. Don’t worry: there are scones, too. 

Where: Cnr Williams Road and Lechlade Avenue, South Yarra

Keep on truckin’

Food trucks usually appear to sate hunger at festivals or to deal with the lunchtime cravings of office workers but this weekend it’s time for the patrons to go to the trucks. At Preston’s Food Truck Park, some of the city’s most-loved diners-on-wheels are gathering to sell their cheesiest wares at the Cheese and Wine Food Truck Festival. Delicacies will be served up by cheese maestros, such as Cheese and Bread, Frencheese, Pasta Face and Boss Burger and Shakes, and matched with award-winning wine from Blue Pyrenees. 

Where: 518 High Street, Preston

Make an impression

The National Gallery of Victoria’s stunning Degas: A New Vision exhibition is almost over. It comprises more than 200 pieces, including some of Edgar Degas’ most iconic works, gathered from about 40 cities around the world. It’s full of fascinating information about the artist and his work. An example? Degas’ famous ballerinas were, in fact, prostitutes (albeit ballet-dancing prostitutes). Many of the artist’s lesser-known works are on display too, including beautiful bronze sculptures and photography.

When: Until September 18
Where NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Southbank


Liquid gold

Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” If your dad concurs, the Glenfarclas Whisky Dinner is for him. On Saturday night, Pan Pacific Perth hotel is serving a four-course menu matched with Glenfarclas single-malt whiskies (some of which have been aged for 21 years). The dinner is hosted by Michael Riitano, premium-spirits consultant for Vintage House Wine & Spirits. Bonus: Dad can spend Father’s Day sleeping off the effects.

When: 3 September
Where: 207 Adelaide Terrace, Perth

Picnic in the vines

Enjoy a packed lunch and pour Dad a glass of Peel Estate red while he listens to the dulcet tones of musician Glen Ridgwell at the beautiful Peel Estate vineyard. There are barbecues on site for something more elaborate or if you’d prefer to come sans supplies, the award-winning Kent Street Deli will be selling its goods. 

When: September 4, from 12pm
Where: 290 Fletcher Road, Karnup

In front of the box

Fathers who came of age anywhere from the 1970s to the 1990s are likely to have fond memories of their gaming console, whether it was a Sega Mega Drive or a PlayStation 2. The Nostalgia Box claims to be Australia’s first interactive video-game-console museum. There are more than 100 consoles from the ’70s to the present – and yes, dads can play with them. 

Where: 3/16 Aberdeen Street, Perth


Get festive 

Brisbane Festival kicks off this weekend with music, theatre and dance performances, plus food events, sprinkled all over the city. Take Dad to a see Dappled Cities play at the Aurora Spiegeltent on Sunday or send him a subtle message by booking tickets to Josh Earl’s My Family’s Weirder Than Your Family. Go to brisbanefestival.com.au for information and tickets.

T-Rex and friends

For Jurassic Park fans there’s Queensland Museum’s Dinosaur Discovery: Lost Creatures of the Cretaceous exhibition, which has more than 20 life-size (that’s rather larger than the life-size we’re used to) animatronic dinosaurs. They’ve been created to exacting scientific standards so when they roar, bellow and walk, it’s probably pretty close to the real deal. Dads and kids can get acquainted with T-Rex, the Queensland native Muttaburrasaurus and the fast-on-its-feet Australovenator (that means “southern hunter”). 

Where: Corner Grey and Melbourne streets, South Bank


Father’s Day barbie

Let your pa take a load off this Father’s Day with a three-course open-smoked barbecue lunch at Pialligo Estate. If you can get him to relinquish the tongs, there’s delicious food to be had, plus matching wine and beer, a gift for dad and bubble soccer (yes, that’s soccer played from within a giant plastic bubble).

When: September 4, from 12pm
Where: 18 Kallaroo Road, Pialligo

Double down

Golf, trains and bacon? This is a dad-fest if ever we saw one. Yarralumla Play Station, home to miniature trains and miniature golf, is hosting a Double Dad and Bacon Weekend in honour of both dads and International Bacon Day (which is September 3, FYI). There’s a pig-heavy menu and if dad partakes of the food, he gets to play 18 holes free.

Where: 9 Pescott Lane, Yarralumla


Swim with the fishes

From 8am to 9:30am, hundreds of fish will descend on the tropical waters of Darwin’s Doctors Gully. It’s a phenomenon that has been taking place since the early 1950s when hungry fish swam to the shore in search of a free meal. Locals obliged with bread and the fish have been returning ever since. They aren’t shy and love to be hand-fed; Dad can feed species such as catfish, rock cod, fantail rays, sea garfish, bream and diamond-scaled mullets. Book through Aquascene on the day or buy tickets at the Darwin Visitor Centre.

Where: 28 Doctors Gully Road, Darwin


Talk with the animals

Adelaide Zoo is giving fathers complimentary entry this Sunday, with a token from The Advertiser or the Sunday Mail. Take him to see the wildlife at Australia’s second-oldest zoo, where more than 3000 animals live, including Sumatran tigers, capybaras (the world’s largest rodent) and American alligators.

Where: Frome Road, Adelaide

SEE ALSO: 8 Stylish Gifts for Jet-Setting Dads

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