I'm a freelance writer living in Melbourne. I love exploring and writing about my adventures!
Published April 19th 2018
Wattle Seed scones are on the menu
The Ecology Cafe
While my family and I were driving through Toolangi (73 km north-east of Melbourne) recently, we spotted a cafe just off the main road nestled amongst the tall trees called the Ecology Cafe. Feeling peckish we decided to stop and check it out, and I'm so glad we did.
So, I'll say right now the coffee was great, and they had a fairly large range of yummy cakes, savoury snacks and hearty meals that are made on site. They looked so good it was difficult to choose. The fellow serving at the time, who by the way was super cool and nice, recommended the wattle seed scones. Surprisingly, they were very wholesome, delicious and served with a generous amount of cream and jam. The wattle seeds gave the scones a nutty and mocha aftertaste. What more could a gal want for an afternoon tea?
Beautiful view inside and out
The cafe itself is filled with natural light and layered timber ceilings that have quite a remarkable style. Talking to the staff, we found that the building was originally a government run and owned building called the Discovery Centre but was closed. It lay unused for several years until the local community came together and petitioned to have it re-opened to the community. Since then it has transformed into a flourishing cafe, co-op bookshop, gallery and community space. The board and local volunteers organise regular events and help run events on site. You can get updates on their Facebook page here
The town of Toolangi is also the home of poet C. J. Dennis, the author of The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, Jim of the Hills, The Glugs of Gosh, Rose of Spadgers, The Singing Gardens and Ginger Mick, to name a few. Toolangi also has some great bushwalking tracks that can be found here. Click on the section Murrindindi for a detailed map and guide.
It is a beautiful building, and what the author didn't notice or forgot to mention is that there is a sculpture trail in the forest behind the centre. There are sculptures that were created recently for the 30th anniversary of the original sculpture event, and also a few of the original sculptures, which have stood the test of time. search toolangi sculpture trail for details
Sadly, this cafe is no longer operating. The owner posted the following on 1 November 2018 on Facebook.
"Hi all of u that liked the Ecology Cafe. Unfortunately Steve And I are no longer running the cafe. The Department have elected a new committee of management back in August. They have decided to open the centre by booking only. I am very sad to see the centre closed and everything that was built up gradually going. The second hand books , the map and information stand, the leadbeater possum display, artworks on commission and the coffee machine are all going. 3 years of my time was invested in this. However the department feel this is the way forward. I have made it known to people in charge how disappointed I am. Let me know if u wish to express any such sentiment