The great thing about Father's Day in Australia is it falls on the first Sunday of September. This provides a second opportunity for folks like me who have missed the June occasion observed in other countries, to remember and appreciate Dad. Instead of buying the usual wallet, tablet or electric drill, I decided to make best use of his visit with me in Australia to spend some quality time together. Thus began my search for the best places and activities to spoil Dad on Father's Day across Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane and the surrounds of Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast offer a fantastic playground of activities and dining options that just blew my plan away. Here are some of the Father's Day Offers I found to make Dad feel special on Sunday, 2 September in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Outdoor combat games / Image courtesy of Laser Skrimish
Nothing helps dad feel more macho while grinning like a kid than combat games. Laser Skirmish provides an outdoor combat game inspired by popular video games that's fun for dad and family. Everyone gets to dress up in camouflage outfits and armed with gaming-guns that use a harmless infrared, like a TV remote, that tags sensors worn by other players.
Nicole Lander, Marketing C.O. of Laser Skirmish informed me that her outdoor combat missons provide excellent bonding opportunity for dad and kids as everyone is having fun. Since there is no paint involvement, kids of all ages can join their dads. Better yet, dad and adults play at kids prices. Laser Skirmish has three fields in Mt Cotton, Mt Crosby and Tamborine, and family missions start at AUD27.75 per person. Bookings are essential.
Nestled on Mount Tamborine in the Gold Coast Hinterland, DeliVino offers dad a gourmet experience from grape to bottle and from paddock to plate. The only continental providore in Queensland to support the local wine industry including 5 vineyards from the Granite Belt, Canungra and Toowoomba regions, DeliVino features locally sourced, hard to get gourmet products and over 30 Queensland wines.
Wine and Deli Manager, Michelle Kerr informed me that she conducts daily tastings of the wines alongside a paddle of condiments, jams, oils, vinegars, relish, marinades, international and local cheeses and cured meats, allowing customers to sample, sip and savour. Her gourmet picnic baskets are ever popular with travellers traveling as well as wedding parties around the mountain.
The gourmet products can also be consumed onsite amidst local art exhibits at the adjoining restaurant, DeliVino on the Deck, overlooking Doughty Park. The wide range of fresh products in the deli allows dad to create a tapas meal that suits his palate. For Father's Day, Michelle informed me that she has organised a complimentary take-home bottle of wine for dad and family or friends of 4 at lunch or dinner. Simply mention "Lionel's Father's Day Special" when reserving your table of 4 or more people to redeem this offer.
It can sometimes be trying when dad's an epicure. Fortunately the Gold Coast is home to a 2 Michelin Star-rated and multi-award winning restaurant that is epicurean in every way. Voted Queensland's Best Restaurant 5 years in a row by Gourmet Traveller, Absynthe restaurant specialises in modern French and Australian cuisine. Owner and Executive Chef Monsieur Meyjitte Boughenout applies French and European cuisine techniques earned in 2 to 3 Michelin Star restaurants to fresh and unique Australian produce.
Located within the Q1 building with access to the sky deck, Absynthe's modern and elegant interior boasting an exclusive and extensive art gallery will surely capture dad's attention. In addition, the restaurant's cellar is a connoisseur's dream, holding over 1500 different labels from almost every wine region in the world, including rare vintages from the 1970s to 1990s. To make dads feel special, Meyjittee is offering 2 Angus Beef Steaks for AUD55 on Father's Day. Bookings are Essential.
Tedder and Woodroffe Tedder and Woodroffe Lounge and Dining came to life when Jane and Adam Gilbert came across a rare opportunity in Main Beach that would bring some light and life back into Tedder Avenue. Together with their Head Chef Steven Hibbard, they have created a casual, friendly, home away from home atmosphere for customers to enjoy modern cuisine with a slight hint of Asia.
Rustic and relaxed surrounds / Image courtesy of Tedder and Woodroffe
T&W as locals like to call it, provides a not-so-pretentious atmosphere in chic and stylish surroundings for dad and family to enjoy a lazy lunch or relaxed dinner without paying through the roof or leaving hungry. Jane informed me that she has organised a complimentary bottle of house wine to accompany any 2 main meals for lunch or dinner this Father's Day.
Dad's boyhood dream was to become an airline pilot before Nan had him firmly grounded. The next best thing is Jet Flight Simulator's state of the art flight simulation experience. For 30 or 60 minutes, dad will captain his own commercial jet, choosing from simulations of over 22,000 airports, time of day and weather conditions. He will learn how to take off, fly and land a Boeing 737-800NG with an experienced instructor, all in the safety and comfort of the Flight Zone simulator environment. This unique experience available in both Gold Coast and Brisbane should have dad grinning from ear to ear and talking about it for years to come.
Kim Hoffmann, National Manager and Chief Flying Instructor shared with me 2 amazing Father's Day offers especially organised to help every dad's pilot dream come true. Instead of the usual AUD175 for 30 minutes and AUD237 for 60 minutes, dad can fly for AUD137 on his 30 minutes or AUD237 on his 60 minutes simulations. In addition, he can bring along up to 3 passengers to be part of his amazing experience at absolutely no extra charge. Kim also welcomes you to take photos and videos of dad in action. Simply mention "Lionel's Father's Day Special" and the relevant price and flight time when booking before Father's Day to access this offer.
A father of 3 lovely children, Andrew Mirosch, Executive Chef at Sirromet Wines is helping dads celebrate Father's Day in a big way out in the grape-filled surrounds of Mount Cotton near Brisbane. I was informed that Sirromet Wines has prepared family activities at their cellar door and a three-course lunch at Restaurant Lurleen's for Father's Day.
Andrew Mirosch with wife Caren and their children, Lily, Jacob and Indigo / Image courtesy of Sirromet Wines
Father's Day highlights in the cellar door include:
1. Live music from Stereo Blonde from 1pm, and food available from cellar door will include cheese and antipasto platters at AUD26.90, and hot and cold meals priced from AUD12.90 to AUD22.90. There will also be an AUD2.50 sausage sizzle, cakes, gelato, candy floss and popcorn.
2. Children's entertainment will feature jumping castle, mini hot-rods and climbing wall at AUD5 each from 10am.
3. Guided winery tours will operate for AUD20 per person, and there will be AUD5 wine tastings to sample six to eight wines. Sirromet's red, white, and sparkling wines can also be purchased by the glass or bottle at cellar door.
4. The cellar door will be open from 9am to 5pm and entry is free.
Father's Day highlights at Restaurant Lurleen's include:
1. Buffet breakfast at AUD44 for adults and AUD16.50 for children of 2 to 12 years, starting at 7.30am. All dads enjoying brekkie will receive a complimentary wine tasting at the cellar door.
2. A lunch menu designed by Executive Chef Andrew Mirosch offering one of three entrees, one of three main courses, and one of two desserts or a cheese plate. Main course highlights are char-grilled grass-fed sirloin, port cutlet marinated with lemon and thyme, and crisp skin Atlantic salmon fillet with sweet corn risotto, and desserts include chocolate cream caramel with macadamia nut pavlova. Lunch is available at AUD80 per adult and AUD35 for children with service from 11.30am. All dads will receive a complimentary glass of Sirromet's 2009 Late Harvest Pinot Gris to accompany their meal.
If dad is not really into meat, then Mandala Organic Arts Cafe which offers a spectacular range of organic goodness 100% free of animal products just on the fringe of downtown Gold Coast, is an excellent Father's Day vegan option. Venue Manager Glen Dransfield takes pride in looking after the health of customers while offering delicious food. His priorities are VEGAN first, ORGANIC second and LOCAL third. The kitchen only uses organic coconut oil, himalayan crystal salt and reverse osmosis filtered fluoride free alkaline water in the cooking. In addition, almost every ingredient and meal is made onsite, one at a time.
Glen recommends their arguably best pizza made with Australian grown and milled unbleached organic spelt flour, freshly prepared organic produce, house made condiments and sauces and their very own house made cashew nut cheese. They also brew their own Kombucha and Ginger beer, cold press their own juices and bake their own bread. A changing specials board ensures there is always plenty of variety. To help make dad's vegan Father's Day special, Glen is offering a free desert of choice for all dads dining in the café. Simply mention "Lionel's Father's Day Special" when making your table reservations.
With a fleet of luxury vessels fully equipped to accommodate 20 to 600 guests, Rivers offers Gold Coast's premiere selection of floating function venues with a variety of cruises and tours to suit everyone's taste. Natasha Ryan, Marketing Manager of Rivers informed me that she has managed to combine dads, beer and Aussie Barbie on the water.
Father's Day BBQ on the water / Image courtesy of Rivers
This Father's Day, a luxury vessel will depart Marina Mirage at 12pm for a 3-hour scenic cruise, gourmet barbecue buffet lunch with desert and live entertainment to help families appreciate their dads. In addition, Natasha is throwing in a free beer for dad on arrival and a free meal for 1 child below 12 years accompanying an adult. The Father's Day special is AUD69 for adults and AUD59 for additional children. Bookings are essential and subject to availability.
If dad hasn't experienced the sensation of floating through the wide open blue sky, with luscious green vista passing beneath, then hot air ballooning is the way to go. Owner and operator Andrew Steel and his team of pilots at Hot Air take off daily from Australia's most popular location for hot air balloon rides in Cairns and the Gold Coast.
Hot air balloons preparing to take flight / Image courtesy of Hot Air
Andrew recommended the Gold Coast & O'Reilly's Vineyard Champagne Breakfast Father's Day Gift Voucher to keep dad talking about this experience for years to come. Dad can take some fantastic photos as he float over the Gold Coast hinterland, and enjoy a delicious hot breakfast at O'Reilly's historic homestead with champagne to toast as well as free wine tasting. Andrew mentioned that one of the most memorable Father's Day experiences for him was when a 90 year old dad was surprised with a flight by his 70 year old daughter. The entire experience which includes return transfers are AUD250 per person. In addition, the hot air balloon gift vouchers are valid one year, so dad can fly any day that suits him and are fully refundable and transferable.
Why? Dads can be a tough lot to buy gifts for. This Father's Day I've decided to find the best ways to spend quality time with dad in Australia. Here are some interesting ways I've found to spoil dad on Father's Day in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.