From sporting types to culture kings and dads with a hipster edge, Melbourne has something to tickle the fancy of fathers from all walks of life. With all of the following and more to choose from, there is no excuse not to make this Father’s Day (3 September 2017) one to remember.
As Australia’s sporting capital, Melbourne boasts a plethora of sports for dads to get involved in, whether he’s an active dad or more the spectating type. Australia’s greatest sporting moments are immortalised at the National Sports Museum, and a trip here is sure to ignite Dad’s passion. While he reminisces about ‘that’ sporting moment, kids can put their skills to the test in the interactive gallery, Game On! The museum is housed below the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and with no matches scheduled for Father’s Day, families can take a tour of the iconic venue. Covering otherwise off-limits areas, from the player change rooms to the edge of the hallowed turf, the tour offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the stadium’s inner sanctum.Melbourne Bike Share invites cyclists to make the most of the city’s cycle paths –while practicing for Cadel Evans’ Great Ocean Road Race, set to return in January 2018. After dropping the bikes off near Melbourne Park, tennis-loving fathers can hire a court and have a hit on the very surface that Federer, Djokovic, Murray and the like play on during the Australian Open. Out of town: Phillip Island is the destination for sporty dads as it is full of family-friendly adventure activities. Here, Dad and the kids can surf, fish and zoom around the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit Go Kart Track.
Forget breakfast in bed, Hipster Dad would prefer to eat his organic free range eggs at one of Fitzroy or Collingwood’s uber cool cafes. Archie’s All Day Diner and Industry Beans are solid options. Both are near to the Rose Street Market where a gamut of hand-crafted gifts can be found for last-minute sons and daughters.
Father’s Day is Family Day at Collingwood Children’s Farm where pony rides, tractor rides, guinea pig cuddles and the chance to help milk the cow are all on offer. Hipster dads will feel right at home, sipping a takeaway coffee from The Farm Cafe while the kids make the most of the activities.
Older kids can join dad for an afternoon or evening performance of The Book of Mormon at the Princess Theatre (on until 4 November 2017). The first musical by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, this cheeky production has received rave reviews all over the globe.
Out of town: A country drive to Kyneton makes for a memorable family outing. The main village on Piper Street is oozing with rustic charm and gourmet eateries. Those looking to make a weekend of it can find a house to stay at among the eight luxury Flop House properties dotted around the region.
The Australian Centre of the Moving Image (ACMI) has Father’s Day sorted for dads with a bent for art and culture. Currently showing Wallace and Gromit & Friends: the Magic of Aardman (until 29 October 2017), the whole family can venture behind the scenes of one of the world’s most-loved animation studios.
As part of its Family Sundays program, ACMI will host Smart Stories, where families can learn how to generate a choose-your-own adventure narrative, write and animate their own storybook, craft a comic book and take part in an interactive storytelling session. Award-winning children’s author and illustrator Shaun Tan will also give a brief talk on writing and illustrating at 11am.
A 20 minute drive from the city, Heide Museum of Modern Art will enthral culture kings with its contemporary art displayed across three gallery spaces. Dad can take in its current exhibition Call of the Avant-Garde: Constructivism and Australian Art (until 8 October 2017), while the kids take on the Heide Detective challenge. Heide is renowned for its expansive gardens dotted with sculptures, and a stroll through the grounds is a must.
Disney’s Aladdin – the hit musical – is captivating audiences of all ages at Her Majesty’s Theatre (on until 3 December 2017). Touted as ‘The must see show of the year’, cultural dads will dig an evening (or matinee) performance.
Out of town: Castlemaine is renowned for its eclectic arts scene set amid a history rich in gold. Dad can check out local artists’ studios and see major Australian and international works at the Castlemaine Art Musem before stopping in at The Mill for a coffee or beer.