Holiday escapes for mothers without the kids: Time to retreat

Take some mummy time, urges Tracey Spicer.

When I heard a loud thud - and equally loud expletive - I knew something had gone horribly wrong.

My friend and I were on a yoga retreat, which included extended periods of silence.

"I had no idea we'd be joining the Carmelite nuns," I quipped to my fellow chatterbox.

We lasted eight hours until she fell down the stairs of our villa, screaming "shit!" at the top of her lungs until the ambulance came.

Still, we look back with longing: That weekend was the first time we'd been away from our babies and toddlers.

There I was, propped up in bed, on six sumptuous pillows, watching endless hours of pay TV

And boy, was it bliss.

It reminded me of something Mum said when I was a teenager: "I love you kids but I really enjoy my own company, from time to time."

As a hormonal teenager, I was creeped out because I thought she was talking about "self-pleasure". Apparently not.

These days I crave time to myself, or with other women.


Enter The Langham Hotel Melbourne, with an offer of a weekend in an elegantly-appointed suite overlooking the Yarra.

"Oh, I couldn't possibly leave the k... heck, what am I saying? Yes, of course!!!" I replied.

So there I was, propped up in bed, on six sumptuous pillows, watching endless hours of pay TV and eating chocolate from the mini-bar.

That is, when I wasn't reading a book by the pool, getting a facial in the day spa, or sipping a cocktail in the lounge.

Yes, start sending the hate mail now.

Or book your own Mummy* trip away. How about right after the school holidays?

Here are some suggestions:

Wild Women on Top: No, it's not the name of a brothel. This is the brainchild of mother-of-three, Di Westaway, who's passionate about improving women's mental and physical health. "We always think about everyone else, instead of ourselves," she says, as I puff and pant on a training walk around Sydney's North Head. She leads short and long treks in Australia and overseas. The next one is a Wild Weekend Escape in Tassie, summiting Mount Anne in the South West Wilderness.

Senses of the South: Tina Fleming started these weekends away on the NSW south coast, after noticing the number of 40-something women going on food tours in South America and safaris in Kenya. "My budget doesn't stretch that far, so I decided there should be a cheaper alternative for women like me, to get out there and have an adventure," she says. Each adventure includes paddock-to-plate dining, vineyard visits, and surfing lessons.

Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat: Truly, this is a perfect piece of paradise in the Gold Coast hinterland. You walk through an artificial waterfall (which, fortunately, stops in the nick of time!) to the largest day spa in the Southern Hemisphere. On one glorious weekend to celebrate my sister's 40th, we ate delicious organic food, practised tai chi at sunrise, and learned to "horse whisper". Yes, it's worth every cent.

Mantra on Jolimont: To be honest, I'm not much of a horse-racing fan. Can't bear all that "fashionable fillies" stuff. But a lot of my friends love a girly weekend away during the Spring Racing Carnival. If you do too, the Mantra has a "Joli Good Deal' from $229 a night, with a bottle of wine, late check-out, and breakfast for two.

Despite ending up with a sprained ankle, and wounded pride, my yoga buddy is ready for another retreat. We just need to find a place with no stairs....

*Don't worry: I'll be doing Daddy trips away shortly...