2020 Father's Day gift guide by Executive Traveller

This curated collection of gifts is sure to please any high-flying dad, even when they're grounded.

By Staff Writers, August 20 2020
2020 Father's Day gift guide by Executive Traveller

It’s been a year like no other, and Father’s Day 2020 also takes on a different complexion. That’s especially true for the high-flying dads, the ones who long for that familiar quickening of the pulse during take-off, the serenity of gazing across a sky so brilliantly blue you only ever see it at 35,000 feet, or the tingle of anticipation on descent towards new destinations and fresh challenges.

As such, that special frequent flyer in your life is going to need an extra bit of pampering this year, so we’ve rounded up an array of ideas. Either a doting family can find the perfect foil for dad’s restless wanderlust, or perhaps he can indulge in a spot of retail therapy of his own. As long as he feels the love, he’s less likely to dwell on what’s been lost – for the time-being, at least.

Here are our favourite gift ideas for dads this year:

Sennheiser PXC 550-II wireless adaptive noise-cancelling headphones

Whether your horizons are global or a little more home office-based these days, a set of high-quality, noise-cancelling, wireless headphones remains an absolute necessity for work, travel or relaxation. Sennheiser created the PXC 550-II with 30 hours of battery life to outlast the longest commutes, plus superior audio with active noise cancellation that’s ideal for taking phone calls at home, an integrated voice assistant, and plush ear-enveloping comfort. They’ll even fold up flat into a compact carry case, ready to hit the road or skies – whenever you’re ready to take off again.

$549 from Sennheiser

Exclusive offer for Executive Traveller readers: Receive $150 off the PXC 550-II – simply enter the promo code ET150PXC at the checkout. Limit one per person, to the first 30 readers.

Elements of Byron – Wellness Package

Even dads need a little pampering sometimes. Why not send him off to Byron Bay (when travel restrictions permit) for a five-night Wellness Package at the gorgeous Elements of Byron retreat? Free-standing, fully equipped villas set across 50 acres of lush rainforest offer a private hideaway and stepping-stone to a range of culinary, wellness and entertainment experiences, including an on-site spa centre, daily meditation and yoga, and the resort’s very own horse ranch.

From $1495 for five nights in a Botanica Villa, from Elements of Byron.

Hugo Boss, BOSS Bottled

Hugo Boss says its iconic fragrance, BOSS Bottled, is for men who are “competitive, driven and ambitious”. Who wouldn’t aspire to the renown of such an elegant brand, or to emulate such a heady mixture of success? Expect top notes of apple and citrus balanced with the warm spiciness of cinnamon and cloves, rounded out by hints of sandalwood, vetiver and cedarwood. If confidence can be bottled – in a stunningly simple and eminently masculine package, no less – then this must surely be it.

EDT 100ml, RRP $129 from Myer

TAG Heuer Carrera Chrono Sport   

The Carrera is king in TAG Heuer’s stable of sporty thoroughbreds and has been since its inception in 1963. It’s a watch that is deeply linked with the world of motor sports, but also not without an everyday elegance of its own, thanks to the confident curves of the case. This latest generation clocks in at a sizable 44mm across, and is offered in a range of dial colours — our picks are the cool blue or the vibrant green options. And while the Carrera certainly offers a pretty face, the Heuer 02 calibre that keeps the beat is what really impresses, a modern automatic chronograph with 80 hours of power.

$8,300 from TAG Heuer

Yering Station Shiraz Viognier Twin Pack

It’s been a trying year and in times like these, nothing says “dad, you’re the best”, quite like a couple of well-chosen bottles of a great red such as Yering Station’s Shiraz Viognier. This double pack of the 2015 ‘museum-release’ and its current release 2018 vintage bottle – the latter scoring a highly credible 95 points out of 100 from the influential Halliday Wine Companion – comes from one of the Yarra Valley’s most iconic vineyards and is a formidable pairing priced below their separate retail.

$72 from Yering

RIMOWA Bridge sunglasses

A trusted name in functionally luxurious luggage just became the go-to for travel-friendly sunglasses. The first such offering from the 122-year-old German suitcase maker is the Bridge range, continuing to draw inspiration from early aviation and pilot essentials. A choice of three frame styles updates classic shapes like the pilot, square and pantos with traditional or coloured reflective lenses. The lightweight frames are built to withstand the rigours the travel and come with a protective pouch or case.

$520 from Rimowa

Seiko Prospex - Street Series

Seiko’s dive watches often carry colourful nicknames, and the Prospex SNJ029P is no different. In fact, it’s got one of the most macho imaginable — Arnie. That’s because this feature-packed watch is directly inspired by an 80s model worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in hits such as Commando and Predator. With analogue and digital readouts, solar power, a hefty 47.8mm case and 200 metres of water resistance, this watch is ready for any action.

$895 from Seiko

Rodd & Gunn RG Large Weekender

You’ve always wanted a beautiful, hand-made weekender bag; now, with domestic travel set to be the only game in town for a while, you finally have an excuse. Rodd & Gunn comes to the rescue with this handsome and spacious carry-all, in luxurious chocolate-brown Italian bovine leather. Hand-made in New Zealand where the outdoorsy brand draws inspiration from the picturesque landscape, it features heavy-duty zips, a shoulder strap, cotton plaid lining and a lifetime guarantee. An ideal and – in constrained times – necessary companion for weekends away and short road trips.

$1,499 from Rodd & Gunn

BBQ School 1-on-1 Online Class

With the warmer months looming it’ll soon be time to grab the tongs and fire up the barbie, in the never-ending quest for mastery of the grill. BBQ expert Ben Farley’s BBQ School has taught more than 100,000 people how to cook the perfect steak, and brush up on their barbecued seafood. The BBQ School offers a 2.5-hour, 1-on-1 class to give personalised, step-by-step coaching – and as a bonus, you’ll have a three-course meal at the end to sample the delicacies you create.

$400 from BBQ School

SolidTeknics AUS-ION™ 22cm wrought iron sauteuse pan

Yes, 2020 has inadvertently provided us with plenty of time to brush up on the finer culinary skills, but you also want to be able to bang out the basics well. This chef-quality sautese pan is made in Australia by SolidTeknics and is all about one-pan meals such as frittata or scrambled eggs, but its 3mm-thick wrought iron construction also provides the even heating needed for baking bread and cakes, or a small roast. Each pan is even engraved with the month and year of manufacture, making it a generational heirloom. Quite the testament to timeless quality, right there.

$119.95 from SolidTeknics

LUMIRA NO352 Leather & Cedar Scented Candle

There’s scented candles, and there’s LUMIRA. The Sydney-based artisanal scent specialist offers a range inspired by “the spirit of travel”, each redolent of an experience guaranteed to transport the intrepid traveller’s mind to another time and place. They include Balinese Ylang Ylang, Cuban Tobacco, Tuscan Fig, Arabian Oud, Tahitian Coconut and Sicilian Citrus. For something closer to home, try NO352 Leather & Cedar, a warm and spicy concoction inspired by the intimacy and sophistication of the artists’ studios and fashion houses of Sydney’s Surry Hills. LUMIRA candles are made in Australia.

$70 from Lumira

Grow Fruit and Vegetables in Pots by Aaron Bertelsen 

Spending more time at home these days? Keen to become more self-sufficient, but lacking the space to plant a fruit & vegie garden? This glossy, signed edition by renowned gardener and cook Aaron Bertelsen does exactly what it says on the cover – teaching the art of developing a sustainable food source using only planter pots – but also shares more than 50 delicious recipes, complete with beautiful photography, to literally guide the fruits of your labour onto your very own dinner table.

$49.95 from Phaidon

The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey

Rye whiskey has been a staple of rural American life for decades, but we Aussies have been too obsessed with Scottish-style malt whiskies to pay much mind. That’s about to change as local craft distillers such as The Gospel, based in the inner suburb of South Melbourne, put their own slant on a very different grain. The Gospel sources its rye from a single farm in the Murray-Mallee region of South Australia, aiming to capture that local character via an innovative maturation system that is generating astonishingly accomplished results at an obtainable price point.

$92 from The Gospel

Sonos One SL

Just because your favourite travel-friendly headphones are gathering dust at the moment, doesn’t mean you’ve parked your appreciation for true premium audio. Sonos specialises in richly detailed sound for the home and while a single one of these Sonos One SL speakers should sonically enrich any room, two (or more) can be paired for thrilling stereo response. Easy to set up and control via Sonos’ own app, or using Apple AirPlay 2. Sensibly priced too, so you can distribute them around the house and have your favourite tracks follow you from room to room.

$269 from Sonos

Gewurzhaus BBQ Spice Rack

Get ready for the time when you can once again have mates over for a barbie by immersing yourself in the intriguing world of spicy rubs, marinades and glazes via Gewurzhaus’s flavourful BBQ Spice Rack. Six jars packaged in a wooden box that can be turned into a stackable or wall-mounted spice rack include mouth-watering options such as Melbourne Coffee Meat Rub, BBQ Blokes’ Spice, BBQ Glaze Spice, Greek Grilling Spice, Lamb Spice and Spanish Skewer & BBQ Spice. Line up a few choice cuts and experiment, so your mouth-watering favourites are ready when social festivities resume.

$80 from Gewurzhaus

Bean Hunter coffee subscription

Whatever state the world may be in, there’s never a bad time to gift dad a coffee subscription. Melbourne-based caffeine connoisseurs Bean Hunter work with top local roasters to hand-pick coffee from all over the world, featuring a new roaster each delivery to make sure your morning java ritual never gets boring. Just choose how much coffee you want to receive and how often, and a bag of freshly sourced beans will regularly arrive on the doorstep. It’s the gift that keeps giving.

Prices start from $52.65 (250g delivered every four weeks for three months) from Bean Hunter

R.M. Williams x Marc Newson Yard Boot 365

Regular travellers might recall that Marc Newson was the designer of Qantas’s first class lounges and A380 suites, and might also know that R.M. Williams supplies Qantas with its pilots’ uniforms. So there’s a suitably long-haul feel about this collaboration, which sees Newson design a comfortable and hard-wearing boot in the signature R.M. style using a single piece of premium leather. The Yard Boot 365 comes in Kip Leather, Nappa Leather or Italian Suede in a range of colours, complete with full lining, trademark elastic gussets and interwoven tug, plus Poron padding under a full-leather sock lining. It’s designed to go the distance in comfort and project distinctive Antipodean sensibility.

$445 from R.M. Williams

Polar Grit X running watch

With indoor exercise looking less than desirable at the moment, the great outdoors beckons. The Polar Grit X is focused on extreme activity – trail runs and hikes are its forté – but it can also do the basics of tracking and mapping a jog or bike ride at local parks and paths, providing plenty of downloadable data on the crisp display and its companion smartphone app. At 47mm diameter it’s no shrinking violet, so fortunately it’s also lightweight at just 64 grams and exudes charismatic wrist presence.

$599 from Polar

Sock It Up subscription

Yes, socks are the quintessential Dad’s Day staple and possibly not the most original idea going around – unless it’s a sock subscription from Sock It Up, delivering either one or two pairs of combed cotton socks per month to the father who likes to have a covertly colourful presence. These socks are sourced from artisan producers, not an offshore production line, so quality, fit and interesting designs are assured. Most importantly, dad’s unlikely to find anyone else sporting the same pair.

$15/$29 month plus shipping, from Sock It Up