Phillip Island, VIC: Destination Guide

Phillip Island 960x 350

Phillip Island offers an undulating coastline bursting with charm and rich environments, all within striking distance of Melbourne.

Read on to discover the best things to do and see on Phillip Island or find and book accommodation on Phillip Island today.

About Phillip Island

Phillip Island is an absolute wonderland of natural beauty and wonder. With its rich Indigenous history, rugged coastlines and abundance of fascinating wildlife, there's little wonder why this coastal treasure is a timeless classic with Victorian holidaymakers.

Things to do on Phillip Island

On any night in Cowes, dinner tables will be filling up with a weekend-heavy blend of customers as restaurants dish out pretty much everything from pizza to four-person seafood platters to the ubiquitous fish & chips.  Phillip Island is also home to some fabulous breweries and vineyards, such as the Rusty Water Brewery, which also has a fantastic restaurant with a gastropub-style menu, and Phillip Island vineyard and wine bar. 

Woolamai, on the other hand, has some of the biggest, most dependable surf in the country, and is therefore popular with surfers the state over. Fishing opportunities are also in abundance, while there is nothing more relaxing that taking a book down to the beach and soaking up the scenic beauty.

Attractions on Phillip Island

Penguin Parade

Every evening, as the sun dips below the horizon, there is a migration on Phillip Island's south-west coastline. Hundreds of tourist feet patter down the wooden gangways cantilevered on the heather and scree hillocks that flank the southern waves, cameras whirring and bleeping, recording the converse migration up the hill by black and white penguins, chests dirty from the steep climb. The indigenous little penguins (formerly known as fairy penguins) return to a nest, little more than a shallow concavity arched with low weeds, huddled in the hillside, where they will feed their waiting young. A trip to Phillip Island would not be complete without a visit to the famed Penguin Parade.

Seal Rocks and The Nobbies   

The Nobbies provides visitors with an intricate boardwalk which offers spectacular views of the rugged Victorian coastline. Visit The Nobbies Centre to learn more about the area's marine life. Seal Rocks is home to Australia's largest colony of fur seals and is located about one and a half kilometres offshore from The Nobbies. The area is home to around 16,000 fur seals who's frolicking antics entertain the half a million visitors who venture to this nature attraction each year.  Ferocious winds sweep this upside down Isle of Wight, a testament to this was the Seal Rock Visitor's Centre roof blowing off in 2002. 

Phillip Island Nature Park

The Phillip Island Nature Park includes the Churchill Island Heritage Farm, Koala Conservation Centre as well as the Penguin Parade. Churchill Island is one of those tidal islands people used to have to wait a few hours to get out to, and then drag brutal wheels through clay and sediment before the water came creeping back up again. These days there is a bridge out to the island, which is occuipied by a single farm. The colonial farm has been restored to its period glory and is overseen by a swag of history buffs. It features extensive gardens and breathtaking vistas over Westernport Bay tro French Island and beyond.

Meanwhile, the Koala Conservation Centre is your chance to get up close and cuddly with one of Australia's most recognisable symbols. There are extensive walking trails to peruse at your leisure which offer the chance to see a myriad of wildlife including wallabies, echidnas and native birds. try the Tree Top Koala Boardwalk, a 20 minute walk in the parkland or head to the visitors centre to learn more about the furry creature through interactive displays.

Moto Grand Prix

In September each year, the island morphs into an altogether different creature: $60 holiday cabins go up to 'price on application'; two-lane roads become three-lane autobahns; and the smaller population living on French island to the north complain of the musky smell of testosterone (or perhaps petrol and burning rubber) wafting north on the Antarctic wind. Yes, the Australia Motorcycle Grad Prix is in town during September, drawing every petrol-head, bike-nut and two-wheeled warrior out of the woodwork for one weekend of debauchery and high speed entertainment.

The really clever folk are self-reliant and camp out at the race track with massive coolers, fridges and big tents. Everyone else ends up renting out every available room, cabin and lean-to in town, however that can be an expensive proposition. The street scene in Cowes durin race weekend is not to be missed. The hive-like hum of motorcycle engines rising up from the sticky asphalt, the shine of chrome and black paint, the petrol and leath smell that hangs in the air on Thompson Street. It's primal panorama.

Getting to Phillip Island

Phillip Island is located on Victoria's southern coast, about 139km south of Melbourne.

By car

If arriving from Melbourne, the South Gippsland Highway will get you to your destination in around two hours.

Where to stay on Phillip Island

If you are looking for holiday accommodation on Phillip Island you have come to the right place. The island has plenty of caravan parks offering everything from onsite cabins to a spot to pitch your tent. There are frequent festivals and major events on Phillip Island where it becomes more difficult to book accommodation so it is advised to book early. Check out the Phillip Island Caravan Park in Newhaven or the assortment of holiday parks in Cowes.

For more accommodation options in and around Phillip Island, click here.

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