Once a year, we honour our mums, mother figures and grandmothers – you know, those women who do things like pair up our socks, remind us to wear a singlet and write embarrassing updates on our Facebook walls. For all those reasons and more (y’know, giving us life), mums deserve a perfect day from their offspring at least once a year. Here’s our pick of things to do around the country that will leave your mum delighted and lead to many, many more Facebook posts.
Explore women's history on foot
If your mum thinks she knows Sydney inside out, this walking tour will provide some eye-opening evidence to the contrary. A special Mother’s Day iteration of the Explore Chippendale Historical Walking Tour, led by historian Dr Bronwyn Hanna, it tells the stories of Sydney’s pioneering working-class women. The walk covers Mortuary Station; the legacy of Strickland Building, Sydney’s first public housing; the lives of urban Aboriginal women at The Block in nearby Redfern; and the White Rabbit Gallery. There’s also the opportunity to have lunch (and wine!) at chic French restaurant Bistrot Gavroche before the walk begins.
Saturday 13 May, 12-4pm (including lunch); Kensington Contemporary Gallery, 32 Kensington Street, Chippendale
Picnic in Wendy Whiteley’s backyard
Following the death of her artist husband, Brett Whiteley, in 1992, Wendy Whiteley channelled her grief into creating the city’s loveliest public garden. The space, at the foot of their Lavender Bay home, was a wasteland of tangled weeds and dumped rubbish; now it’s a monument to love and renewal, thriving with native plants, secret paths and superbly private picnicking spots. Fill a basket with Mum’s favourite treats and spend the day in Wendy’s garden.
Prepare for take-off
Taking Mum out for brunch is a great idea: she gets to sleep in, you don’t have to cook. Go all-out and treat her to a Mother’s Day brunch at Rose Bay Seaplane Terminal’s Empire Lounge overlooking the water at Rose Bay. After that, you’ll take to the sky with a Sydney Seaplanes flight over the sparkling harbour.
Sunday 14 May; Empire Lounge, Lyne Park, Rose Bay
Learn to bake with mother
Like you, bread has a mother. Or rather, it should if it’s a legit loaf of sourdough. For bread enthusiasts, Bourke Street Bakery is the mother lode of artisanal baked goods, with a bread selection that runs the gamut from ciabatta to spelt. During a two-hour Italian Bread Master Class, Mum can work with fresh yeast starter (aka the mother) to make focaccia, grissini and pizza bianco. She’ll be able to take home her handmade creations as well as a tote bag, apron, fresh dough ready to bake at home and a supply of the mother to keep the bread-fest going.
Saturday 13 May, 12-2pm; Bourke Street Bakery Banksmeadow, 18 Anderson Street, Banksmeadow
Lunch with the animals
For wildlife-loving mums, Melbourne Zoo has the perfect plan: lunch with a soundtrack of animal calls (and soft jazz). Arrive at 11am and enjoy a jazz band, bubbles and canapés before heading to the Leopard Lodge for a two-course lunch. Afterwards, take a stroll around the zoo and say happy Mother’s Day to Asian elephant Num-Oi – she’s due to give birth any day.
Sunday 14 May, arrive at 11am for a 12-2pm lunch; Melbourne Zoo, Elliott Avenue, Parkville; (03) 9285 9440
A day of pampering
Sure, your mother loves you but you might consider that, for one day a year, her idea of sheer heaven is a little mum-time. Crown Spa Melbourne at Crown Towers has a special Mother’s Day treatment offer, which includes the Subtle Energies Soothe and Enrich Anti-oxidant Facial with a gift to take home. The one-and-a-half-hour treatment delivers enriching nutrients to dry, sensitive or damaged skin and includes four hours of valet parking and access to the Aqua Retreat, where Mum can wallow in the Vitality Spa, lounge in the steam room and refresh in the Swiss showers.
Crown Towers, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank; (03) 9292 6182
Get a little creative
Mo & Mum is a mother-daughter team that creates beautiful textile art and hosts weaving workshops. Monica (Mo) has moved to Melbourne from Berlin and she’s hosting a Weave a Wall Hanging class on Mother’s Day. She’ll teach weaving techniques, including how to work with different fibres, and show you where to look for inspiration.
Sunday 14 May, 10am-1:30pm; Work-Shop Melbourne, 195 Argyle Street, Fitzroy
Brisbane and Gold Coast
Get some fresh air
Order a Gardens Club picnic basket to pick up when you arrive at the City Botanic Gardens. Let Mum choose a spot, lay out your rug then unpack a hamper full of tasty sandwiches, fruit salad, cold drinks and home-baked goodies for dessert.
City Botanic Gardens, Alice Street, Brisbane City
Catch a flick
Jump in the car and take Mum to Yatala Drive-In. Pop into the 1950s-style American diner (it’s straight out of Grease) and stock up on choc-tops and popcorn then settle in for movie night with Mum. And we can’t stress this enough: let her choose the film!
100 Jacobs Well Road, Stapylton; (07) 3287 2930
Mother’s Day yoga workshop
For mums with wellness aspirations, try a yoga-and-breakfast session at the beautiful Shambhala at Como The Treasury. Begin with a vinyasa class led by Como’s yoga instructor, Stephanie Johnson, then once you’re stretched and rejuvenated, head to the Post restaurant for a healthy breakfast from the Como Shambhala Cuisine menu.
Saturday 13 May, 8am-9:15am and Sunday 14 May, 9am-10:15am; Como The Treasury, 1 Cathedral Avenue, Perth; (08) 6168 7878
Quokkas and mums
They’re the cheeriest of marsupials and they’re also excellent photo-bombers. And Rottnest Island has the largest known population. On Mother’s Day, mums ride Rottnest Fast Ferries free as long as two fare-paying passengers accompany her. Take a picnic and make sure Mum’s phone is fully charged, ready for quokka selfie Facebook updates.
Shop 56, Southside Drive, Hillarys Boat Harbour, Hillarys; (08) 9246 1039
A work of glass
The Venetian island of Murano produces the world’s most famous hand-blown glassware but Australia also has top artisans who work with glass. On Mother’s Day, your mum can have a session with a professional artist and make her own flower from molten glass at Canberra Glassworks.
Saturday 13 May and Sunday 14 May, 10am-4pm; Canberra Glassworks, 11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston; (02) 6260 7005
Mother’s Day clothes swap
For mums with a fashion fixation or just an overstuffed wardrobe, head to NewActon for the Suitcase Rummage, a mini market in the grounds of A. Baker where stallholders sell from suitcases. Also happening is Clothes Swap & Style Canberra, a chance for Mum to exchange her old stuff, put together a look and sip wine with new friends at the Nishi Playhouse, above the Palace Electric Cinema.
Suitcase Rummage, Sunday 14 May, 11am-3pm, and Clothes Swap & Style Canberra, Sunday 14 May, 11am-1pm; NewActon Precinct, 15 Edinburgh Avenue, Canberra; (02) 6287 6170
As part of the month-long South Australia’s History Festival, Adelaide Gaol is hosting a ghoulish Ghost Tour & Investigation. The 147-year-old building has seen 45 hangings and allegedly has at least 12 spirits haunting it. It’s perfect for mums with an interest in the past – or a penchant for telling really scary ghost stories.
Image by Sara Oliphant
Sunday 14 May, 7:30-9:30pm; 18 Gaol Road, Thebarton; 1300 390 119
A visit to the iconic Adelaide Central Market on Mother’s Day is always a good idea. While you and Mum work your way through the stalls, sampling the producers’ delicious wares, you can pick up the makings of a picnic. Once you’re suitably stocked, head over to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens to enjoy it.
44-60 Gouger Street, Adelaide; (08) 8203 7494
The Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival is a 12-year-old event held along one-and-a-half kilometres of Timor Sea foreshore. Expect food, art, dance and music, with sustainable practices such as Hydration Stations to refill BYO water bottles and eco food packaging. Mother’s Day marks the final night of the festival and there are free buses and a free bike valet service.
2pm-late; Nightcliff Foreshore; 0452 450 810
Show her the light
Following a sell-out season, Bruce Munro’s stunning exhibition at Uluru, Field of Light, has been extended until March 2018. The work illuminates as darkness settles over the land, lighting up Uluru and the surrounding desert. Take Mum for a wander around the site before retiring for canapés and sparkling wine high above the spectacle with the Field of Light Star Pass. Bookings are essential. (02) 8296 8010
Wine and modern art
Take Mum on an outing to Mona, arguably the most talked-about modern-art museum in the world. Hit a home run by following up your visit with a trip to Moorilla cellar door for a guided tour of the on-site vineyard and winery, plus a tasting in the barrel room. Bookings are essential.
Sunday 14 May, 3:30pm; 655 Main Road, Berriedale
Spa day indulgence
The Savoy Pure Spa Indulgence package at Savoy Day Spa comprises two-and-a-half hours of distraction-free pampering. Tell Mum to arrive early to spend some time unwinding in the pool, spa, sauna and steam room before receiving the full-body Caribbean Therapy Scrub. Next, there’s a therapeutic full-body massage and a Botanical Kinetics Express Facial. All treatments use Aveda products and the skilled beauty therapists will touch up mum’s make-up so she leaves feeling like a million bucks.
38 Elizabeth Street, Hobart; (03) 6224 1586