For Father’s Day, Waitomo Adventures is giving a 20 per cent discount on its iconic 100m abseil experience into the Lost World cave. Photo / Hamilton and Waikato Tourism
With Father’s Day coming up fast, as part of our Mighty Local story series, the Waikato Herald has been out in the region to investigate the many special ways there are to celebrate dads and granddads.
The good news is that from local brews to hot laps around the race track or a caving adventure, to taking a hike or a bike ride or treating him to lunch out or dinner, there are multiple ways to honor dads/granddads in the Waikato this Father’s Day on Sept 4.
Some of the region’s attractions and experiences are offering discounts for Father’s Day and there are others that a free never mind the day of the year.
Amongst the special Father’s Day offers is the ubiquitous gift of socks is one of three offers at SkyCity Hamilton. The dad socks come with a burger order at EAT Burger, or there is the free dessert for dad with pizzas purchased in the Zone Sports Bar, and at Bowl and Social dads bowl free with a paying child.
At the Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum, there is the opportunity to get dad’s help to solve a special “out of the box” scavenger hunt and win a prize.
If dad is a bit of an adrenalin junkie high-excitement adventures are a Waikato specialty.
Grab a gift voucher with a 25 per cent discount at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park where he can line up for race car experiences – laps around the track in a Lamborghini or the high-speed safety car, or taking the wheel of a V8 muscle car, a zippy go-kart, or going off-road in a 4WD Jeep.
More thrills are to be found below the earth’s surface where Waitomo Adventures is giving a 20 per cent discount on its iconic 100m abseil experience into the Lost World cave.
For these special offers, readers should check out the fine print to be found online, either on the organisation’s website or Facebook page.
Time spent with dad is one of the biggest gifts a kid can give, and amongst the low and no-cost ways to honor him this Father’s Day is to take him outdoors in the Waikato where there are many free activities and experiences to be had.
If he is a gardener, or even has a sense of whimsy, take him to Hamilton Gardens where the themed gardens include the Surrealist Garden with its weirdly shaped topiary trees, while the latest addition, the Ancient Egyptian Garden tells of the time pharaohs ruled 4000 -plus years ago.
The self-proclaimed Kiwiana capital of New Zealand is Ōtorohanga which proudly celebrates many of the things dad was probably brought up with – from gumboots and No. 8 wire to pavlovas and the iconic buzzy bee kids’ toy.
This coming Father’s Day weekend take dad outdoors in the mighty Waikato where most of the walking and cycling trails are as free as the fresh air.
Amongst the walks that are family-friendly is the Kauri Loop Track in the Hakarimata Scenic Reserve near Ngāruawāhia, or one of the various walks on Mount Pirongia, or a stroll around Hamilton Lake.
For amazing views and hikers with a good level of fitness, there is the summit of Mount Te Aroha, or to the top of Wairere Falls, at 153m the tallest on the North Island. If dad prefers two wheels, the Waikato is the heartland of cycling with choices ranging from hurtling down forest-clad hills on a mountain bike to meandering alongside rivers and through farmland and home to two of New Zealand’s Great Rides.
Dad might like cycling the 85km Timber Trail, one of the Great Rides in the region. This backcountry ride follows historic tramways through Pureora Forest Park and takes a big day for fit riders or three days for riders preferring a more leisurely pace. The trail can also be ridden in shorter sections.
The other New Zealand Great Ride is the four-five day Hauraki Rail Trail. It can be ridden in sections too, rather than the entire distance – for example, the Te Aroha to Matamata section.
Te Awa – The Great NZ River Ride is another fantastic option. It follows the mighty Waikato awa for 65km between Ngāruawāhia and Lake Karapiro, and can also be ridden in easy sections.
Dads with Olympic-level aspirations might like to have a go at the Grassroots Trust Velodrome where there is a one-hour session to learn how to ride a track bike.
For mountain bike enthusiasts, there are dedicated tracks with something for everyone to enjoy, from beginner to advanced. Worth exploring with an adventurous dad are trails in the Raglan area, as well as those on Mount Pirongia, at Te Miro and Hamilton’s Pukete Mountain Bike Park.
If golf is the game of choice there are courses throughout the Waikato that welcome visitors, including the newest in the region, Tieke Golf Estate, popular with some of the All Blacks when they are not chasing points on the rugby field – and many of them are dads too.
Of course, for rugby fan dads, a great Father’s Day gift would be tickets to the All Blacks vs Argentina game at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton on September 3. Go to the game early and explore the History Wall that borders the stadium where you can take a photograph of dad standing next to a life-size picture of one of the rugby greats who have played at the stadium.
For many, the ideal way to celebrate family occasions, including Father’s Day, is with a meal out when stories are shared around the table.
The extensive range of eateries throughout Waikato means there is a dining experience to suit all tastes and budgets.
At the top end are the award-winning restaurants where many of the chefs like to dip into the local larder to showcase fresh, seasonal produce and food products. Then there are burger joints, pizza places, and many different ethnic restaurants that promise a world tour for the tastebuds.
If the father figure is partial to craft beer – or cider – the region’s microbreweries offer variety too, from pilsner and pale ales to darker brews. Many have their own taprooms, and their brews are also available at many local bars and restaurants.
As well as beer, hometown success Good George Brewing produces craft gin and vodka. This year the company is celebrating Father’s Day with a special twin pack containing its small batch of distilled Father’s Day Gin and Bacon Vodka, said to be the perfect ingredient in a Bloody Mary cocktail.