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Four indulgent day trips for Mother’s Day
Take mum out of town for a decadent day trip this Mother's Day.
Nothing says “I love you, mum” like a bunch of petrol station flowers and a chintzy card, right? Yeah, maybe not. This Mother’s Day, bypass the orchids and spoil your mum with a decadent day trip on 12 May.
The first step is to choose a destination and book a scrumptious lunch, then be sure to allow time for a spot of relaxation, rejuvenation and, if you've done everything right, recovery from a likely chocolate overdose.
And, if you still want to buy her flowers, here's our guide to this year's most popular blooms.
Four indulgent Mother's Day day trips
A winery in the quiet Westernport corner of the Mornington Peninsula wins the Mother’s Day trifecta hands down, with sweeping water views, world-class art and exceptional food and wine.
Pt Leo Estate is a destination to savour for a whole day, just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s CBD.
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, thanks to thoughtful cooking by Sydney expat Phil Wood (ex-Rockpool).
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 50 large-scale sculptures by local and international artists – a perfect aid to digestion.
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 late-afternoon hammam bathing experience at the One Spa retreat.
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.
Stretch the legs and suck in the fresh air, but don’t dawdle too long. If you’ve done your homework, mum’s booked in for a mineral spa treatment, and you want to make sure she has plenty of time to relax.
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 (Mineral Springs Reserve Road, Hepburn Springs), Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel (124 Main Road, Hepburn Springs) or the super-luxe Salus Spa in the gardens of the award-winning Lake House hotel (4 King Street, Daylesford).
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 chef Alla Wolf-Tasker 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 a set menu 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.
Oozy cheese fondue from fromagerie Milk The Cow.
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 (48 Mountjoy Parade) 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 a fresh green salad and almond tarator sauce.
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 ultimate salty-sweet combo – fried battered fetta with sesame and honey dressing.
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 (35 Allenvale Road, Lorne) 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 massage at Endota Spa, a tranquil space in the heritage-listed Erskine House at Mantra Lorne, or take your mum for 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.
If your mum loves chocolate, head straight to the Yarra Valley on Mother’s Day. The famously sweet Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery (35 Old Healesville Road, Yarra Glen) 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 No7 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 wine blending or gin tasting class at Rochford Estate. And, if she loves her coffee, you can't go past an intimate coffee-tasting experience at Silva Cofee's roastery door. (More: Where to blend your own wine in Victoria.)