Mother’s Day, traditionally, has meant flowers, cards, chocolates, maybe even breakfast in bed (socks in our household have been a staple).

But this Mother’s Day, instead of toast crumbs on the pillow or wonderful (but weird) socks, why not enjoy a day of exploration and discovery at your own pace? 

Take the time to plan a day trip (and we have done the hard work for you below) and create lasting memories that will be treasured for years to come.

Empire Experiences are lucky to have locations in two unique yet equally interesting settings with their own drawcards. 

And while you can spend ages browsing for trinkets and treasures at Empire Revival Paddington and then dropping into the café next door on your stroll down La Trobe Terrace, it is The Emporium in Kalbar that forms a wonderful base for a day exploring some of the many wonders the Scenic Rim has to offer.

inside Empire revival in paddington
You can also explore and discover treasures and trinkets closer to home at Empire Revival in Paddington.

Start with a (short) roadtrip

Head to the historic town of Kalbar, just 55 minutes south of Brisbane. 

As you leave Brisbane and head south, old suburbs and new developments will eventually make way for paddocks, farmhouses, cows and horses framed by the majestic Great Dividing Range.

When you get to Kalbar, you can drive around the town and take in the many heritage-listed buildings, including Wiss House, the School of Arts Memorial Hall, and St John’s Lutheran Church.

Explore The Emporium for a unique Mother’s Day gift

The Emporium is located in another heritage-listed building, the old Wiss Brothers Store, on the main street of Kalbar.

The store has been lovingly returned to an unequalled shopping destination — as it was in its heyday at the beginning of the last century. 

inside the emporium in kalbar
The heritage-listed Wiss Brother’s Store is now home to The Emporium, Empire Revival’s sister store in Kalbar.
greg making a coffee
The team at The Emporium are crack hands at fresh coffee and hot teas.

A sister store to the renowned Empire Revival in Paddington, The Emporium offers visitors a similar Aladdin’s cave of discoveries but with a unique Kalbar twist. Think a dynamic mix of old, new and odd with an emphasis on handcrafted and sustainable. 

The Emporium works with local, national, and international artisans to curate a special range of beautiful homewares, gardenware, jewellery, art, clothing and skincare. It offers truly special products for Mum set in beautiful and quirky displays: a veritable banquet for the senses. 

You can even enjoy a fresh cup of tea or coffee from the in-house café while you browse.

 See the world from above

Once you have indulged in some retail therapy in The Emporium, jump in the car and head 35 kilometres south (via Aratula to grab a pie or slice of cake at the bakery), where you will find the Governor’s Chair lookout via the old Spicer’s Gap road.

While the last section of road, climbing into the Main Range National Park, is unsealed for several kilometres, narrow and a bit rough in places – easy for a 4WD but take a little more care in a 2WD – the view is truly worth the effort.

Once at the carpark it’s an easy walk along a path (300m) to the lookout. There are steps here, so it isn’t suitable for wheelchairs.

Alternatively, take the shorter drive to Lake Moogerah and enjoy an ice cream and a walk on the dam wall.

kids looking at the view over governor's chair
Even the smaller ones are fascinated by the amazing views from the vantage point of Governor’s Chair Lookout

Time for a late lunch at the pub

Head back down Spicer’s Gap road (which used to be the original pass over the range to Sydney) and traverse country roads past Lake Moogerah to reach the small town of Roadvale. With a population of just 286, there are few facilities here. But they do have the region’s first gastropub, with the venerable Roadvale Hotel having recently received a major makeover.

the roadvale hotel at dusk
The recently renovated Roadvale Hotel is a great stop for lunch. Australian Good Food Guide Hatted Chef Daniel Groneberg is in charge of the kitchen there.

In charge of the kitchen is award-winning Australian Good Food Guide Hatted Chef Daniel Groneberg, whose menu always highlights the beautiful produce the Scenic Rim has to offer. If you don’t want to miss out on Mother’s Day it may pay to book.

(PS – we know it’s not Father’s Day, but the Panorama Motorcycle Museum is nearby and only open on Sundays… just a thought)

view from kooroomba vineyard
Kooroomba is a great spot to take in the views and a taste of what the vineyard has to offer.

An afternoon tasting

Take a detour via more country lanes and head for one of two nearby wineries. Bunjurgen Estate Vineyard and the Kooroomba Vineyards are close and offer cellar doors for their boutique wines you can taste and buy (though Bunjurgen does require bookings sometimes).

Want to stay longer?

If you feel like staying a night, the Wiss Cottage, right next to The Emporium, is available to book for couples looking to extend their stay in the Scenic Rim a little longer.

Wiss Cottage is the first Australian home of German immigrant Lionel Wiss and his young family. As newly-arrived merchants, they concentrated on building their mercantile business located next door, so the cottage is modest but comfortable. Today it is fully restored while retaining the charm and simplicity of a home that is over 130 years old.

external photo of wiss cottage
Treat yourself to a night or two in the beautiful Wiss Cottage right next to The Emporium in Kalbar.

New memories – old socks 

You may miss out on new socks, but you and your family will have new memories and maybe even a new favourite curio or gift from The Emporium Kalbar.

The Scenic Rim has so much to offer and really deserves more than one daytrip, but if you don’t have quite enough time at your disposal, head to our Paddington store for a browse instead. There are plenty of gorgeous things to see a little closer to home!

Experience the joy of discovery in more than 1000 square metres of interior designers, jewellers, local artisans, quirky collectors and old-school antique dealers set against the backdrop of the beautiful Plaza Theatre. 

Whatever you decide to do, we hope you have a fantastic Mother’s Day.