The Sunday drive, once a family institution, has fallen out of favour as our busy lives have taken over. However, it’s great tradition that deserves to be revived – and when better than on Mother’s Day?
This is a wonderful opportunity to take your mother, mother-in-law, partner or someone special out for a drive. Here are eight scenic drives to take from all of our eight capital cities.
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While Wollongong and the Royal National Park have appeal, the best place for a drive out of Sydney is the Blue Mountains. Head straight for Leura and perhaps a visit to the crafts (or enticing chocolate and lolly) shops around Leura Mall then follow the signs to Leura Cascades, a charming place for a picnic.
Continue around to the Three Sisters where the lookout is well worth exploring. While in Katoomba, it’s always worth having tea at the Art Deco Paragon Café that will definitely take your Mum – and you perhaps – back to the tea shops of her youth.
But don’t stop there. Head west down the highway to Medlow Bath and the newly renovated Hydro Majestic. It offers the most magnificent vistas over the Megalong Valley. Then it’s downhill nearly all the way home.
Located west of Katoomba, Megalong Valley is magnificient
There’s certainly enough to fill a day on the Mornington Peninsula. Maybe the day could be based around the noon Mother’s Day lunch at Woodman Estate in Moorooduc. Looking over the lake this is like an English country house. For some hot craft action, visit Gordon Studio Glassblowers in Red Hill where you can watch glass art being created between 10am and 5pm every day.
Red Hill Estate winery is a good place to visit too, both for tasting and buying. Or nearby Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove provides a chance to sample olive oils and wines while surrounded by some great contemporary sculpture.
See fabulous views at the Mornington Peninsula from Olivers Hill
The views across to the Glass House Mountains from here is excellent and the chance to interact with the exotic birds in the giant aviary is great. There’s no shortage of restaurants in Maleny so the ideal may be to park the car and walk around the village.
Bird World at the beautiful Maleny Botanical Gardens have a variety of exotic birds
Continue on to Montville if just for a look at the Montville Chapel that has a grand vista and is made of natural stone and lots of glass to make the most of it. Montville is another pretty village that’s well worth a walk.
Why not head for the hills? The Adelaide Hills have a lot going for them, whether it’s a visit to the Beerenberg Strawberry Farm (and jam emporium) or a visit to Udder Delights for good cheese including one very expensive one (well $150 for 500g of King Saul Raw Milk Blue) there’s no shortage of food options around Hahndorf.
There’s a good chance that your mother will love the charming Cedars the home of Hans Heysen the German artist who so well captured his adopted homeland.
Admire the the beautiful autumn colours in Adelaide Hills
The best way to see the hills is to take the challenge of visiting all the sculptures along the Sculpture Trail. These works have been created locally by Australian and International artists and each well fits into its location.
This distances are always a bit greater in WA so under 500 kilometres for the day should be okay, shouldn’t it? A trip up to Cervantes still requires less driving than aiming for Margaret River for the day – and you simply can’t drive to Rotto.
The Pinncales of Cerevantes are amazing limestone formations
As Australia’s lobster capital, Cervantes is the perfect place to spoil anyone with a taste for crustaceans. If she prefers her organisms more primitive then go east of town one kilometre to Lake Thetis where you can see living thrombolites, rock-like secretions of blue-green algae that go back to the beginning of life on earth.
More spectacular, however, is the Pinnacles Desert. Particularly around sunset the thousands of limestone spire protruding from the coastal sand look like the setting for a sci-fi movie. It’s easy to drive a conventional vehicle around the 4km loop road.
For a place with such a violent past, both historic and recent, Port Arthur presents an air of tranquillity. The ruins of the prison stand in manicured coastal gardens and lawns. In recent years the site has been extensively renovated and is consistently rated as one of Australia’s major tourist attractions. If you haven’t been for a few years, you’ll soon see why the recent conservation project has won so many awards. And it’s less than 100 km from Hobart.
The historic site of Port Arthur
While the main attractions are the penitentiary, the commandant’s house, the hospital and separate prison it can also be leisurely with a harbour cruise included in your ticket price and the chance to take a stroll past the civil officers’ row to the ruins of the convict church.
Less than 120 km from Darwin, a picnic at Litchfield National Park is a great day out. More specifically, doing the park as a loop coming off the Stuart Highway and back through Berry Springs ensures you hardly double up on any part of the trip. While Florence Falls is going to be less crowded your mother needs to be pretty mobile to access it so the vast pool at Wangi Falls may be the better option.
If you really want to spoil her, consider visiting the park by helicopter on a half-day tour. At this time of the year, it will be a longer flight from Noonamah so it isn't cheap but it is spectacular.
Florence Falls of Litchfield National Park
The Snowy Mountains in autumn is a great day trip from Canberra. Consider heading through the Snowy Vineyard and Microbrewery on the banks of the Snowy River in Dalgety.
Past Jindabyne, take the Alpine Way to Thredbo where the resort has moved from being a winter ski hill to a year-round destination. The location is so pretty that just a walk around the village (blissfully without the ski crowds) is pleasant in the crisp mountain air.
Put on a pair of hiking boots and conquer the summit of Mt Kosciuszko
There’s a special Mother’s Day lunch and tea in the Cascades Restaurant. Depending how active you all want to be, it will be a very memorable Mother’s Day if you take the Kosciuszko Express chairlift onto the main range and do the 13 km return walk to the top of Australia. It’s a moderate walk that takes between four and six hours. Still, summiting one of the world’s Seven Summits is worth the effort.
Do you remember going on Sunday drives with your family as a kid? Join the conversation below.