Fathers can be notoriously difficult people to buy presents for. What do you buy the man whose main preoccupations appear to be the whereabouts of the missing TV clicker and finding out who left the light on? It’s a problem the makers of men’s accessories have capitalised on over the years, evidenced by the sudden uptick in soap-on-a-rope and cufflink sales each August. That’s not to minimise the good work fathers do, however.

We all love our dads. So here are some Father’s Day gift ideas for the dad whose sock drawer already overflows with the ghosts of presents past. Give him an experience to remember instead.


Whose dad hasn’t dreamt of being a commercial pilot – the adrenalin rush on take-off, those lives in his hands, 60 tonnes of aircraft touching down on the tarmac? Flight Experience, at Brisbane Airport, can set Dad up in a flight simulator with a qualified instructor and a choice of almost any flightpath in the world. Prices start at $195 for a 30-minute scenic flight with two take-offs and landings. Dad will feel like a hero without ever leaving the ground.


Or get real and take it up a notch – to g-forces of up to 6.5 and speeds of up to 900km/h – with a fighter pilot aerobatic flight over Brisbane. Prices start at $399 for Introduction to Aerobatics – a 25-minute looping, rolling flight in a Russian Yak-52 (including take-off and landing). At the other extreme, for $3880, Dad will fly a 30-minute WWII fighter pilot combat mission in either a North American P-51D Mustang or a Yak-3 SteadFast. Fighter Pilot offers 13 other options – including Dam Buster and Beach Bomber missions – in between.


Dads with lead-foot tendencies will love to hop behind the wheel of a V8 Holden or Ford for a few quick laps around Willowbank Raceway. He’ll be taught handling, cornering and braking before being suited up, given a helmet and strapped in. An instructor will ride shotgun, firing instructions through the helmet’s built-in intercom about brake points and gear changes. The only speed limit on this track is the one Dad places on himself. Prices start at $199 for six laps.


But speed is not every dad’s cup of tea, and Father’s Day is not a race. The Norman Hotel at Woolloongabba has a Mastersteak barbecue cooking class on Father’s Day weekend for dads who like to take things slowly and aspire to perfection. The Father’s Day class starts at noon on September 2 and offers two hours of grilling and swilling. Perfect as a class to do with Dad. The best part is that students get to eat their assignment at the end, and there’s a free apron. Cost is $95 and bookings need to be made online.

Dad experience_Norman Hotel 3


If Dad loved the hit Netflix docu-series Making a Murderer, he’d kill to take part in a discussion between the accused man’s lawyer and award-winning ABC journalist Paul Barclay at the Powerhouse on October 4 ($35). The series, filmed over 10 years, followed the exoneration of Wisconsin man Steven Avery, wrongly jailed for 18 years for murder, and the extraordinary events that saw him charged with another murder two years later. Avery’s lawyer Dean Strang, who featured heavily in the series, will discuss the case with Barclay before taking questions from the audience. Netflix and chill takes on a whole new meaning.

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