Six indulgent day trips for Mother’s Day

Pool on top of the Hot Springs

Wendy Hargreaves

Posted April 26, 2021


Take Mum out of town for a decadent day trip this Mother’s Day.

Bypass the petrol station flowers and chintzy card this Mother’s Day and spoil your mum on 9 May with a decadent day trip she’ll remember.

The first step is to choose a destination and book a champagne breakfast, delicious lunch or heavenly high tea, then be sure to allow time for a spot of relaxation, rejuvenation and, if you’ve done everything right, recovery from a likely overdose of chocolate, scones and general Mother’s Day decadence.

One Spa reception

One Spa


Six indulgent day trips for Mother's Day
 

Mornington Peninsula

A winery in the quiet  Westernport corner of the Mornington Peninsula wins the Mother’s Day trifecta hands down. At just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s CBD, and with sweeping water views, world-class art and exceptional food and wine,  Pt Leo Estate is a destination to savour for a whole day. 

Start by choosing from two dining options: a 45-seat degustation space called Laura or a more casual 110-seat bistro named after the winery. Both menus celebrate local produce from the land and sea. 

Make sure you arrive at least an hour before your lunch booking to allow plenty of time to take in the views and enjoy some wine tasting at the cellar door. And you’ll need at least an hour after lunch to stroll around Pt Leo’s outstanding collection of large-scale sculptures by local and international artists – a perfect aid to digestion. 

To balance out the wining and dining, she’ll love soaking up the serenity at Peninsula Hot Springs. Take the relaxation up a notch with a private sanctuary bathing experience, where she can reset with a rejuvenating soak session infused with her choice of calming lavender milk, essential oils or tulsi tea.

After such an indulgent day, nobody wants to drive home. Why not book a room at RACV’s Cape Schanck Resort (20 minutes’ drive away) and cap off mum’s special day with a relaxation massage or signature facial at One Spa retreat (be sure to add on a scalp massage for extra brownie points), before blissing out in the thermal stone steam room. 

Daylesford

Carving out spa time is mandatory in Victoria’s Central Highlands, especially in the resort towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. And the best time of year to ‘take the waters’ is autumn, when the region’s deciduous trees blaze with colour on every roadside. 

These rich autumn colours make the 90-minute drive north-west of Melbourne part of the adventure. Take the scenic route via Woodend and Trentham, both charming villages full of delicious temptations.  

Home to the nation’s highest concentration of natural mineral springs, there is no shortage of places to take the waters here, but bookings are recommended. Try the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa or the super-luxe Salus Spa in the gardens of the award-winning Lake House. 

I’m not sure if this happens to everyone, but a mineral spa session always ends with hunger pangs, so make sure you have a lunch booking. 

For something special, book a table at the Lake House, where culinary director Alla Wolf-Tasker’s team will be cooking up something extra  special. If the weather permits, enjoy a pre-lunch drink on the deck overlooking Lake Daylesford, a beautiful explosion of colour in autumn. You should also make time to stretch the legs with an after-lunch stroll around the lake. 

Mother’s Day is also celebrated in style at The Convent, a charming 19th-century mansion with stunning views over Daylesford from Wombat Hill. Enjoy brunch or lunch at the cafe then walk off the meal in the three-level art gallery. 

And if you want to make a weekend of it, RACV’s Goldfields Resort is just a 25-minute drive away from Daylesford along the Midlands Highway.

Outside Daylesford Convent

Daylesford Convent


Lorne

Fresh sea air does wonders for your appetite, so a Mother’s Day road trip to Lorne calls for a suitably hearty lunch. The slow-cooked lamb shoulder at Lorne’s Ipsos makes every minute of the two-hour drive from Melbourne worthwhile. Designed for two to share, this fall-off-the-bone Greek-style lamb ($66 for two) comes with braised red cabbage and lemon salt. 

If you take Mum on a walk around Lorne’s northwest-facing Louttit Bay before lunch, you’ll have room for a few extra dishes, such as the flavour-bomb taramasalata dip and the smoked herring and potato croquettes with paprika aioli.  

Relax with a sweet house-made baklava at Ipsos, or make your Mother’s Day meal a progressive lunch with coffee and cake at Qdos, Lorne’s artistic hub tucked in the rainforest behind the town. 

Loved by locals and visitors, Qdos is part gallery, part cafe, with major sculptural works sitting among towering eucalypts in one of the prettiest natural amphitheatres in the Otways. There is always something new to see in the gallery, and the coffee is excellent. 

Finish your Lorne day trip with a chill-out session in the salt room at the nearby Lorne Sea Baths. This centuries-old Eastern European therapy emulates the cleansing properties of salt caves, pumping dry salt particles into the air to purify the airways and skin. And if you’re feeling too relaxed to contemplate driving all the way back home, stay the night at RACV’s Torquay Resort.

Yarra Valley

If your mum loves wine, cheese and chocolate, head straight to the Yarra Valley on Mother’s Day. 

The famously sweet  Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery is always generous with tastings, or you can book her in for a Taste & Create workshop where she can choose from more than 50 exotic ingredients to craft her very own Rocky Road.

Stop in for brunch and a cheeky sip at Healesville’s No. 7 wine bar and restaurant, check out the latest exhibition at TarraWarra Museum of Art (RACV members save 10 per cent on entry), taste your way through a selection of fresh, housemade cheeses at Yarra Valley Dairy, then sit back and enjoy a cheese platter with some of your favourites (plus a glass of wine, of course).

Put her in good spirits with a tipple at Rochford Estate. And, if she loves her coffee, you can’t go past an intimate coffee-tasting experience at Silva Coffee's roastery door. (More: Where to blend your own wine in Victoria.)

If a laid-back lunch is more her style, check out our guide to the Yarra Valley's best boutique wineries, or check out our guide to the eight things to do in the Yarra Valley other than drink wine.

Round out the day with a pamper session at One Spa, at RACV Healesville Country Club and Resort. Bliss out with a full body relaxation therapy, such as a mud detox or aromasoul body scrub, get your glow on with an indulgent 75-minute age-defying facial or keep it simple with a luxe pedicure, complete with soak, scrub, massage and polish.

Cellar Door at Brown Brothers

Brown Brothers Cellar Door


Bendigo

Mums with a passion for fashion and a taste for fine food and wine will get a kick out of a trip to Victoria’s fourth-largest city. Start the day in Parisian style with a croissant and cafe au lait at the postcard-pretty Bluebird Cafe then trip back in time to swinging 1960s London at the Bendigo Art Gallery’s Mary Quant: Fashion Revolutionary exhibition (until 11 July). The gallery is renowned for its blockbuster fashion exhibitions and this one lives up to the hype, with more than 110 original garments, plus videos, photos and sketches, that capture the visionary style of the woman who transformed the way we dress.

For a taste of why Bendigo was recently named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, treat Mum to lunch at the acclaimed Masons, where the excellent-value Roaming Lunch (Fridays and Saturdays) offers six tasting plates that showcase the best of the region’s produce, with dishes such as fried zucchini flower and smoked ricotta.

Work off lunch with a post-prandial stroll along Bendigo’s wide boulevards, marvelling at the magestic gold-rush architecture and perusing charming boutiques and antique emporiums. Keep an eye out for Mary Quant-themed window displays and surprise Mum with a sweet treat to take home from Indulge chocolaterie or a bunch of designer blooms from Libertine in funky Chancery Lane.

As the sun sets on your perfect day out, toast her good health with a glass of fine local red amid the bottle-lined walls at Wine Bank on View, a cosy, clubby wine bar of your dreams housed inside the lovingly restored 1876 Union Bank building.

High Country

Forget champagne breakfasts, follow the Prosecco Road to Victoria’s High Country and treat Mum to a day of sparkling Italian indulgence. As well as fine wines, rustic Italian fare and fairytale waterfalls, the region’s breathtaking alpine landscapes make a stunning backdrop for a Mother’s Day road trip.

Kick off with a prosecco brunch at Brown Brothers in Milawa before heading to Milawa Cheese Company for a guided tasting of their fabulous fromages. Don’t miss a bite of their award-winning King River Gold or the creamy Ashed Chevre, which is coated in a layer of ash made from their very own terrace vines.

Sip on small-batch gins at nearby Hurdle Creek Still, where you can warm up with a sip of their limited seasonal release Aronia Gin, a sloe-style gin made using locally grown aronia berries. And if your Mum is a coffee fan, treat her to a bottle of their decadent Dark Cacao Liqueur, which will elevate any espresso martini to the next level.

Need to relax the pace a little? Learn about the history of Italian winemaking in the King Valley, Australia’s unofficial capital of Italian wine. She will love the prosciutto and a private wine tasting at Pizzini, one of the region’s most decorated cellar doors.

If all the exploring has you feeling peckish, head stright to the recently renovated Chrismont Cellar Door, where the restaurant and larder’s simple seasonal menu pays homage to both its Italian heritage and high country setting. Think pistacchio-crumbed lamb, house-made gnocchi with taleggio, pears, bacon and walnuts, and saffron risotto with shredded osso bucco and King Valley pine mushrooms.

After satiating your appetite, head to the cellar door, where classic Italian varietals including sangiovese, sagrantino, barbera and nebbiolo reign supreme. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask for a sip of the marzemino, which hails from the Alto Adige region in Italy’s north. Chrismont is one of only three known producers in Australia growing and making the velvety, violet-hued drop, which is a match made in heaven with bold, blue-vein cheeses.

Round out the day with a bit of outdoorsy fun. The high country is home to its fair share of waterfall walks and majestic lookouts. One must-do is Power’s Lookout, a rocky escarpment high above the King Valley that offers spectacular views over the Wabonga Plateau and Mount Cobbler.


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