A round of golf for dad? © Destination Queenstown

15 fun things to do for Fathers’ Day


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We’ve pulled together a bunch of dad-friendly ideas around the country, so you can treat that special guy in your life this Fathers’ Day. 

1.  Petrolhead heaven

Te Marua, just north of Upper Hutt city, is petrolhead heaven. Whether it’s some form of stock or saloon car racing or witnessing the Viking funeral of old dungers that inspires you, this is the only place in Wellington to get a fix. The Wellington Family Speedway offers entertainment for all ages and attitudes to automotive cruelty.

2.  Eyes on the pies

TripAdvisor rates the tiny Burleigh as the number-one place to eat in Blenheim, which is a pretty big achievement for a suburban pie shop. But any lingering disbelief falls away once you try their gourmet pies, truly deserving of cult status.The steak and French blue cheese, pork belly, and jerk chicken are the most popular. The Burleigh also offers sausage rolls, artisan filled rolls, a selection of gourmet grocery and deli items, local cheese and Havana coffee.

3. Celebrate our national religion

For everything you ever wanted to know about footy, from the time of the first game played in Nelson in 1870 to the present, visit the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North. This part of the Te Manawa Museums complex contains a wealth of riches for the footy fanatic and the merely curious alike. There’s also a library and archive, an impressive collection of primary records – players’ tour diaries, newspaper cuttings and scrapbooks – making the museum a mecca for anyone with a healthy respect for the oval ball.

Mis-timed leap 1959 Lions vs All Blacks

A post shared by NZRugbyMuseum (@nzrugbymuseum) on Dec 16, 2015 at 6:56pm PST

4. Par for the course

Gulf Harbour Country Club, on the Whangaparāoa Peninsula, is a golf course with outstanding sea views and a links-style feel. Once upon a time, cattle grazed on the course site and today, it is mostly open to the elements, so the Hauraki Gulf can impose a number of climatic challenges. Play Gulf Harbour to tackle ‘Ta Moko,’ the signature hole which sits at the point of a narrow peninsula with 270-degree ocean views. 

Stunning morning, stunning hole @gulfharbourcountryclub

A post shared by AirSwing (@airswing_media) on Aug 5, 2018 at 2:55am PDT

5. Cheers! 

If an excellent, ever-changing selection of craft beer and top-notch pub food is what you’re after, head to the Portsider in Dunedin’s Port Chalmers. Hosts Hans and Pip run a warm and welcoming establishment in this historic building. The Dutch Bitteballen or Vegeballen are a delicious accompaniment to a glass of their fantastic beer.

Beer delivery by the man himself! #portchalmers #dunnerstunner #beer #emersons

A post shared by The Portsider (@the_portsider) on May 9, 2018 at 9:01pm PDT

6. Take to the trails 

The 12-km Deans Bank loop track, taking in some of Wānaka’s best scenery, has become a hugely popular attraction, reaffirming the town’s status as one of the top MTB destinations in the country. But because the track is ridden one-way only it never feels crowded. More trails are already planned, as well as an extension to the Deans Bank track itself, a most welcome kind of development.

Up for an adventure? Pic: @freeridenewzealand #lovewanaka

A post shared by Lake Wanaka, New Zealand (@lakewanakanz) on Apr 26, 2018 at 11:42pm PDT

7. Land a big one 

The epicentre for big game anglers is surely the Bay Of Islands. Swordfish, marlin, tuna and sharks are all there for the catching with the right heavyweight gear. Many big game charter operators sail out of Russell and Paihia, all of whom supply the gear as well as the know-how needed to target these leviathans of the deep. Even if you don’t make it out on the water, visit The Bay Of Islands Swordfish Club in Russell to soak up the history and dream of your own Hemingway days.

8. Finger-licking good 

Nestled on an acre of land five minutes from Hastings’ main drag is Bareknuckle BBQ, a fully licensed backyard Texan BBQ joint serving authentic wood-smoked southern fare. It’s good old southern American style BBQ, served as it would be in Texas – fingers are the best cutlery here. Try the slow-cooked pork spare ribs, beef brisket, trailer trash mash or a chilli bowl with extra jalapeño if you’re feeling brave.

9. Rev it up

Perhaps the petrol-fuelled pursuits at Hampton Downs will rev your motor. Try your hand at go-karting, driving a V8 muscle car or, if you’re not overly confident about your own abilities, there’s always the Hamptons High Speed Taxi where passengers can travel at high speed with a professional racing driver as your chauffeur.

10. Automotive delights

People come from all over the world to look at Sir Len Southward’s car museum at Ōtaihanga, just north of Paraparaumu. The very first car in Sir Len’s collection was a Tin Lizzie, a Model T Ford. It takes pride of place along with over 400 others in one of the world’s largest private collections. There are all sorts of exotic and glamorous stuff including a 1915 Stutz racing car and a Cadillac that belonged to Marlene Dietrich.

11. Spin and soak

Hanmer Springs is well-known as a Kiwi holiday destination, mostly because of the amazing spa in town. But it’s also surrounded by forest and biking trails which are perfect to work your body during the day before going for a soak in the hot pools at night. There are trails for every ability here and places to hire bikes, making it great for anyone looking to get out for a pedal in a beautiful environment.

12. Craft beer mecca

Another craft-beer heaven, stop at The Free House in Nelson. Set in a renovated church, the Free House serves great beers from around the region and the rest of the country, alongside a good menu. Alternatively, bring takeaways from The Indian Café across the road – the pub will provide the plates and silverware.

The Free House #thefreehouse @wildtomatomagazine

A post shared by Dominique White Photo (@dominiquewhitephoto) on Aug 20, 2018 at 12:51am PDT

13. Get hooked 

The seemingly featureless pieces of water that make up the hydroelectric canals joining Lakes Tekapō, Pukaki and Ōhau have hidden secrets. They offer the chance to catch some truly impressive brown and rainbow trout, as well as an occasional monster salmon; escapees from nearby fish farms. The ease of access – roads run alongside almost all of the canals – and the ability to use various fishing methods make this one of the South’s must-fish destinations. 

14. Cop this

Situated in the precinct of the New Zealand Police College, the national Police Museum is an absorbing way to spend a couple of hours (or more). It vividly illustrates the history of the way in which New Zealand has policed itself, with both permanent displays – often featuring actual exhibits from some of our more notorious crimes – and periodic exhibitions. 

A post shared by @travel.with.me.friends on Nov 19, 2016 at 2:51am PST

15. A round with a difference

Wairākei – a course within a sanctuary – has to be the quintessential New Zealand golf experience. 10 minutes from Lake Taupō, Wairākei sits inside a predator-free wildlife haven, all within an extraordinary geothermal area. It could also be the quietest course in the country, with the only sounds the protected native birds and the echo of club on ball. Watch out for obstacles such as the 108 bunkers, or the odd fallow deer on the green.

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