Alma lives in Iowa but desperately doesn't want to spend another birthday without her estranged daughter Elizabeth, who lives with her own family in Sydney. Not feeling welcome at all in Sydney, she buys a car and goes on a voyage of self-discovery to Melbourne, where adventure and romance help her repair her relationship with her daughter.
Escaping an uninspiring future in a granny flat with her son in Iowa, USA, 60-year-old Alma (Olympia Dukakis) visits her equally precocious daughter in Sydney. However, upon learning that her presence there is about as welcome as a redback spider in the lavatory, she buys a souped-up 1959 Chevy and heads off to see the sights of Melbourne. Inevitably her trip turns into a voyage of self-discovery as she hitches up with a couple of con-artists, finds road-side romance with a hedonistic retired dentist, and befriends the local Aborigines and their customs.
Offering enough originality, wit and charm to keep its wheels firmly on the right track this largely steers clear of sentimentality and is for the most part rather entertaining.