On the corner of Blackjack Road and the Midland Highway in Harcourt, Central Victoria, there is a garden nursery cafe with a difference.
It's 'Skydancers' and as the name describes, there are indeed pretty, little butterflies there hovering about overhead. Their breeding enclosure, which is cleverly built into the nursery section of the venue, can be viewed either externally from the garden or through a large window in the Skydancers cafe.
During my visit, I opted for the cafe side and sat close by so that while lingering over my 'Roasted pumpkin and creamy pesto fettucini' ($15.50), I was able to observe the enchanting insects at various stages of their life-cycle.
Some were still in caterpillar form and happily munched away at garden leaves just as I was munching on my pasta. Others had cocooned themselves away and looked like bats hanging in a cave, the way they were dripped from different sticks and bars. The best of course were the butterflies in full, majestic flight and it truly was a pretty thing to sit at my meal with them fluttering about and sometimes landing on the glass beside me.
My meal concluded with an elegant, stack of soft chocolate biscuits layered with fresh cream. It was a delicious treat complimented with a well-made latte that came served adorably, in a locally manufactured Bendigo Pottery ceramic cup.
8232; One final indulgence at Skydancers was a quick peruse through Skydancers gift store. Elegant and fashionable, it had handbags, scarves, hand-crafted artisan jewellery and a selection of table lamps, venetian-style mirrors, frames and other very, very beautiful things for the home.
Dramatic vases extended the overall gardening theme of Skydancers, with the suggestion that cut flowers from your very own garden could be displayed within them. Little bowls alluded to the same charming fantasy providing a dare that they could be filled with fragrant pot-pourri made from your own preserved petals.
Being not-so-green-in-the-thumb myself, I left with an Ecoya, individually boxed, soy wax candle to scent my home. Between the lunch, the butterflies, the garden and the shopping, I went away feeling decadent and lovely.
Skydancers is open from Monday to Friday, 9:00am until 5:30pm, Saturdays and Sundays, from 9:00am until 4:00pm. It is located twenty-four kilometres outside of Bendigo, and takes approximately an hour and a half to reach from Melbourne.
Other meals available on their menu include 'Home-made lasagne' ($16.00), 'Baby-beet, lamb and spinach salad' ($18.00) 'Beer-battered whiting with chips' ($16.00) chicken burgers, steak sandwich and caeser salad. Light lunches such as 'Home-made pot pies' ($11.00), foccacias and wedges are listed also.
Skydancers is a licensed venue and supports local wineries. Harcourt Valley's Riesling, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, is served there as well as Black Jack's Shiraz.