Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer. Check out her short stories and nano fiction at www.ficklefiction.com/
Mum Deserves a Special Day Out
9 Unique Mother's Day Gifts and Outings There's no denying Mum is special. She does so much for us so often it is easy to take her for granted. Mother's Day is our chance to say thank you. Thank you for being there through thick and thin, for going the extra mile even when she was exhausted, for caring when no-one else cared.
Take some time to treat Mum to a relaxing and indulgent day and why not choose something a little different. A boat cruise, dining on a heritage tram, riding a steam train, high tea at the zoo or at the Fitzroy Gardens, an art exhibition or the exquisite luxury of Melbourne's best hotels.
Mother's Day Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the Yarra
Mum will appreciate a day off from preparing the family meals on Mothers' Day but imagine her delight if instead of the local restaurant, her dining experience is aboard the Spirit of Melbourne floating restaurant. The Spirit of Melbourne is a double deck boat with floor to ceiling windows. Tables and facilities are as they would be in any restaurant of class.
Mother's Day Lunch Cruise. (Photo from Melbourne River Cruises Facebook Page)
Spend some quality family time while taking in some of Melbourne's most magnificent scenery, lush landscapes and elegant buildings by day and city lights by night. Melbourne River Cruises is offering a choice of lunch or dinner cruises.
You will be hard pressed to choose between the five main courses on offer which include such gourmet delicacies as Char-grilled chicken breast, garlic prawn on a bed of mashed potato, green bean and creamy green peppercorn sauce or Pan fried crispy skin Moroccan salmon lapped on potato rosti, avocado salsa, caper mayonnaise. The children's menu offers two choices. The full menu is available on their website and your selections are made at the time of booking.
The Spirit of Melbourne cruising restaurant. (Photo from Melbourne River Cruises Facebook Page)
The main course is followed by a selection of mini desserts that need to be seen to be believed and tea or coffee served with a chocolate. Wine, beer, soft drink and orange juice are included and available in abundance.
Bookings are made on the website and there is provision to send the booking as a gift.
The food is good, the service impeccable and the views stunning. What more could you ask for?
When: Lunch cruise: 12.30pm to 3.30pm, Sunday 8th May 2016. Dinner Cruise: 6.30pm to 9.00pm. Bookings are essential.
Where: The Melbourne River Cruises boat departs from Southbank Promenade at Berth 3 near the Langham Hotel, in the Southgate Arts and Leisure Precinct.
Cost: Lunch: Adults $95, Children 14-17 years $65 and Children 2-13 years $45. Dinner: Adults $99, Children 14-17 years $65 and Children 2-13 years $45.
Melbourne Zoo Mother's Day High Tea
Melbourne Zoo has lined up a Mother's Day High Tea to treat Mum on her special day. The afternoon buffet incudes a selection of savoury and sweet items served with tea or coffee, and a glass of sparkling wine for adults.
It's all about family on Mothers' Day. (Image from Zoos Victoria Facebook page)
Enjoy an hour of complimentary access to the zoo before the high tea. There's a lot to see so you might want to choose your favourites ahead of time. You can check out the zoo highlights here. Visit the Trail of Elephants where an Asian Village and garden setting has been recreated. Mum and the children are likely to have a laugh at the bare bottoms on show at Baboon Lookout. Walk through the Lemur Island Exhibit and watch these acrobatic little animals performing for their audience.
Take Mum to The Butterfly House, always a favourite with the ladies. No doubt the children will be keen to visit the Australia Bush Exhibit to see the koalas. Don't forget Dad; squeeze in a visit to Lion Gorge so he can see the King of the Beasts.
When: 2pm to 4pm, Sunday 8th May 2016. Bookings are essential.
Where: Leopard Lodge at Melbourne Zoo, Elliott Avenue, Parkville 3052.
Cost: $79 per adult including a glass of sparkling wine or mocktail, $36 per child (4-15 years) Tickets for children under 4 are at your own discretion. See the website for details.
Facilities: Parking is available at the zoo for $2 per day. The Zoo is wheelchair accessible and wheelchairs are available for hire. There are a number of public toilet blocks with disabled access.
Champagne Breakfast on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant
The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant is not one tram but is the world's first fleet of travelling tramcar restaurants, a fitting tribute to a city renowned for its trams. Coloured a distinctive burgundy inside and out, they are hard to miss.
Champagne Breakfast on Melbourne's Iconic Tramcar Restaurant. (Photo from The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant Facebook Page)
Mum could not help but feel like a queen in such beautiful colonial style surrounds, seated at tables set with pristine white table cloths, on seats with studded velvet upholstery, looking out windows furnished with elegant burgundy drapes. To step in these trams is to step back in time, but don't worry, despite their meticulous attention to period décor the trams are air conditioned and stabilised for a comfortable ride.
A four course champagne breakfast (Photo from The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant Facebook Page)
Where: The trams depart from and return to Tram stop #125, corner of Normanby Road, near the corner of Clarendon Street, South Melbourne. Check their website for a map.
Cost: $99 per person
Mother's Day High Tea in the Park
Here's a chance to treat Mum and do some greater good at the same time. Alison, proprietor of the party shop, Design Hire Enjoy has organised Mother's Day High Tea in the Park to support the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The Foundation raises money for research into the prevention and cure of breast cancer.
This elegant event is being held in the Fitzroy Gardens at the Old Bandstand, a heritage Corinthian style structure that has stood in the gardens since 1864, as enduring and solid as a Mother's love.
There will be eight high tea items and a dessert buffet which will include cupcakes from Love Always Cupcakes, and pastries from Brioche by Philip of Eastland. There is a choice of High Tea or Royal High Tea which includes a glass of champagne.
(Photo from Design Hire Enjoy - Mothers' Day High Tea in the Park Facebook Page)
Raffles held on the day offer prizes including a month's worth of yoga and a free yoga class from Yoga 37 and a $100 voucher to spend at The Brass COG restaurant along with other tremendous wins donated by supportive businesses.
Mum can be indulged at the pamper stations which include Bubbles and Bounce Entertainment and stylists.
Why not arrive a little early or stay a little later and take the time to explore the Fitzroy Gardens. Flower beds provide carpets of colour in season but the Gardens are known more for their mature trees, magnificent fountains and statues and of course the iconic Captain Cooks' Cottage and Model Tudor Village.
Where: Old Bandstand, Fitzroy Gardens, 150 Clarendon Street, East Melbourne. The Old Bandstand is adjacent to the Gipps Street entrance to the gardens.
Cost: High Tea $98 or Royal High Tea $108
Facilities: There are public toilets near the Gipps Street entrance. There are no BBQ's or picnic tables in the gardens.
Mother's Day Rail and Sail
Take Mum back in time to a calm, romantic period. Start the journey aboard the Victoria Star, an Art Deco charter ship. Depart from Victoria Harbour, cruise the Yarra River, travel beneath the Bolte and Westgate Bridges, past Melbourne's docks, the historic ship yards at Williamstown and the tower at Port Gellibrand. Travel on past Point Cook, Point Wilson and Point Arlington to Corio Bay at Geelong. Snacks are sold on board and there is a licensed bar.
(Photo from Steamrail Victoria - Mothers' Day Rail and Sail Day Excursion Facebook Page)
Transfer from boat to rail and climb aboard the Geelong Flyer, just one of the beautifully restored steam trains in the Steamrail Victoria fleet. Ride in beautifully restored compartments in a train where you can still open the windows. In the 1920's the Geelong Flyer was the fastest train in Australia but there will be no rush on Mother's Day.
The trip can be taken in reverse commencing by steam train from Geelong and returning to Melbourne by boat or may be taken entirely by steam train.
Where: Check the brochure for times and departure points.
Cost: Prices range from rail only $25 for children to adults $99 for rail and sail. Mum's get discounted tickets. The full price list can be found here.
Mother's Day Afternoon Tea at the Windsor
The Windsor Hotel was originally built in 1883 and is the only surviving city 19th century grand hotel in Australia. It maintains its Victoria period décor to this day and lays claim to being one of Melbourne's best hotels, an elegant lady worthy of her five star rating.
Afternoon Tea at the Windsor is rather special at any time but even more so on Mother's Day. Mum will be treated to French pastries, savoury finger sandwiches and canapés, and freshly baked scones. In true high tea tradition these will be served on three tier stands. This indulgence is rounded off with a dessert buffet and washed down with tea or sparkling wine.
As part of the package each mother is treated to a dessert of soft centred raspberry and pistachio mousse cake, white chocolate and hazelnut crumble.
Afternoon tea is being served in The Grand Ballroom and The Bourke Room each of which has three sittings and One Eleven Spring Street Restaurant which has two sittings.
Hotel Windsor (Photo By 7 Years Later... (Flickr) CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Where: The Hotel Windsor, 111 Spring Street, Melbourne
Cost: Prices are $45 for children 3 to 6 years, $65 for children 7-12 years, $99 for adults in the Grand Ballroom and the Bourke Room which both offer a glass of sparkling wine or $109 for adults at One Eleven Spring Street Restaurant which offers unlimited sparkling wine.
Mother's Day High Tea and Whistler's Mother Exhibition
High Tea is special at any time. What Mum could resist that eclectic mix of fresh sandwich fingers, petite pastries, scones with jam and cream and tiny elegant cakes, all served in lavish surrounds on tiered platters and complimented with tea in pretty china cups.
As if that was not enough, The National Gallery has taken the High Tea one step further by combining it with the Whistlers Mother Exhibition.
This iconic 1871 painting, actually titled 'Portrait of the Artist's Mother' will be exhibited at the gallery until the 19th of June 2016. The exhibition displays information about the life of Whistler's mother, the composition of the painting, the story of how the painting came to be and includes a short film.
National Gallery of Victoria (Photo By Robert Merkel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Mum's day doesn't have to end there. General entry to the Galley is free so why not escort Mum on a tour of varied and beautiful works of art in the Gallery's collection. Imagine Mum standing in front of one of the two original Rembrandt paintings on display.
When: Sunday 8th May, between 11am to 4pm. Bookings are essential.
Where: The Tea Room, National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne.
Cost: High Tea Only: Members $67.50, Adults $75.00, High Tea and Admission to the Whistlers Mother Exhibition: Members $76.50, Adults $87.00. General entry to the National Gallery is free.
Mornington Railway Mother's Day Special
Take Mum a step back in time, riding the rails in 100 year old passenger carriages behind a heritage steam train on the Mornington Railway. On Mother's Day each Mum will receive a card and a small gift.
As well as the train ride, there are site tours taking in the historic overhead footbridge and signal box and other interesting railway things. Speak to the station master for a site tour.
K163 in action. (Image from Mornington Railway Facebook Page)
Enthusiastic and passionate volunteers restore these heritage steam and diesel trains and operate the Mornington Railway. The heritage broad gauge railway operates between Moorooduc and Mornington, running the first three Sundays of every month.
When: 11:00am then at 12:15, 1:45, 3:00pm. Sunday 8th May, 2016
Where: 460 Moorooduc Highway, Moorooduc, via Two Bays Road. Directions can be found here.
Cost: Return fares are Adult $18, Concession $14, Children (4-16 years) $9, Family (2 Adults and 2 children) $48 Check the website for current fares.
Facilities: Public toilets at Moorooduc. Parking at Moorooduc is via Two Bays Road using the Mt Eliza Regional Park Entrance. There is wheelchair access. A kiosk serves light refreshments and has a BBQ.
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins – 4 Ways to Spoil Mum
Positioned at the Paris end of Collins Street, the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins is a hotel of distinction. It is offering four choices for a Mother's Day of exquisite indulgence. Sofitel on Collins is Hotel for the Arts hosting up to 16 temporary exhibitions annually. Its walls are adorned with contemporary artwork, adding even more sophistication to Mum's dining experience.
Treat Mum to High Tea at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins (Photo from Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Facebook Page)
Champagne Brunch is being served in No. 35, a venue according Mum sweeping vistas across the city to the bay. The experience commences with a glass of Pommery Champagne and continues with a buffet lunch.
A High Tea buffet is being served in Sofi's Lounge at 10am, 12.30pm and 3pm. Mum will be treated to hot and cold savouries, freshly baked scones, cakes and desserts complimented by a continuous service of French sparkling wine, tea and coffee.
High Tea (Photo from Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Facebook Page)
Afternoon tea is being served in Level 35 Tower Suites which overlook the city. Finger sandwiches and sweets will be presented on the traditional three tiered stands and are compliment with a glass of sparkling wine and tea or coffee. Seatings are at 12pm (noon) and 3pm.
Finally top Mum's special day off with dinner at No. 35 which accords fabulous Melbourne views. A four course menu including drinks is on offer.
When: Sunday 8th May, 2016 for Brunch, High Tea, Tea or Dinner. Check the website and click on the gold bars for session times.
I can vouch for Whistler's Mother exhibition. Beautifully staged. Take a guided tour as part of the exhibition. High tea would be lovely. But the outdoor area is a good place to stop for a recharge too.