Phillip Island Travel Guide

Our guide toPhillip Island

Phillip Island is a treasure trove of wildlife experiences, adrenaline-packed activities, hiking trails that cut through wetlands or lead to sweeping coastal views, and farm-fresh food grown alongside vines that yield fruit for the region’s premium cool climate wines.

Getting to Phillip Island

You’ll find Phillip Island stretching out into the Bass Strait nestled between San Remo and the Mornington Peninsula after a short 90-minute drive south of Melbourne. Bus services run from Melbourne to several towns on Phillip Island, or if you’re coming from the Mornington Peninsula you can catch a passenger ferry from Stony Point. The island is connected to the mainland via the San Remo Bridge and its locale makes for an easy day trip, weekend escape or week-long affair.

Top Things to Do on Phillip Island

Nature-lovers, adrenaline-junkies and foodies are all catered for on Phillip Island. Ride the perfect wave at one of the many surf beaches; embrace the need for speed on a go kart track with breathtaking coastal views; traverse sea caverns, clifftops, mangroves and mudflats; or dine your way through the island’s long list of cafes, restaurants and wineries.

Wildlife & Nature

Witness the world’s tiniest penguins waddle their way along the beach in the island’s famous Penguin Parade, watch the dizzying spectacle of countless short-tailed shearwaters flood the sky, embrace an up-close encounter with thousands of Australian fur seals, spot the curious wallabies grazing around the island, and walk the tree top boardwalks of the Koala Conservation Reserve – Phillip Island is home to all this and more.

Not only is it abundant in wildlife experiences but Phillip Island is also a hiker’s delight.

Stand atop grass-covered cliffs that jut out over pristine white sandy beaches along the George Bass Coastal Walk. Visit The Nobbies Centre for an interactive Antarctic journey followed by a stroll along the spectacular clifftop boardwalk for views of the island’s rugged south coast – and keep your eyes peeled for penguins relaxing inside their burrows.

Cape Woolamai has a variety of hiking trails to choose from, including the Pinnacles Walk (4km return) and the circuit loop (8km return). Explorers should seek out the Forrest Caves Walk for the sea caverns that are only accessible at low tide via a 2 km return journey. Alternatively, discover the SS Speke shipwreck on the Kitty Miller Bay Walk at low tide.

For something completely different, the boardwalks of Rhyll Inlet will take you through mangroves and mudflats to bask in the company of spoonbills, oyster catchers, herons, egrets and cormorants.

Attractions & Activities

Phillip Island attractions are as vast as they are varied. The Phillip Island Circuit offers kids and adults alike the chance to go full throttle on their 750-metre long go kart track – a replica of the 4.445km world famous Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. They also offer hot laps with an experienced racing driver, guided circuit tours and you can also visit their display on the nostalgic history of motor racing.

Those with a sweet-tooth should make it a priority to visit the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, while those in search of a quality vino can make their way to Purple Hen Wines and Phillip Island Vineyard and Winery.

If you’re up for a short 10-minute drive, exit the island and make your way to Macca’s Farm for a spot of strawberry picking, or visit the historic Churchill Island (an island off and island) to see the first European garden in Victoria and make friends with the Highland Cows at the Churchill Island Heritage Farm.

Beaches & Surfing

Not only is Phillip Island renowned as the home of Victoria’s best beaches, but it also has a surfing history dating back to the 1920’s. Express Point will deliver one of the best barrels of your life if you manage to time your visit right – and respect the locals. Beginners should head to Shelley Beach, while Woolamai serves up some of the best beach breaks in the state – and is also patrolled by surf lifesavers for those more interested in a quick dip and a day on the sand.

Best Places to Stay on Phillip Island

Resorts & Hotels

For a luxurious stay that delivers views of rolling green farmlands on one side and turquoise-blue water views on the other, book a stay at Clifftop Phillip Island. The boutique accommodation features eight individual guest suites located in easy reach of all the island’s main attractions and a fully licensed guest lounge to unwind in at the end of the day’s adventures.

Farm stays don’t get much better than the idyllic Five Acres property located just 10 minutes outside of Cowes. Cosy up to your travel companion in front of the roaring indoor fireplace, admire the sweeping bay views out the window or visit the nearby beaches.

Holiday Parks

Big4 Phillip Island Caravan Park features villas, cabins, powered caravan sites and non-powered camping grounds as well as drive-thru campsite options. Set up camp alongside the dune-protected beachfront, entertain the kids at the jumping pillow, playground, games room, outdoor cinema and with a variety of sporting activities and equipment.

Camping & Glamping

Stay at the spectacular beachfront sites or cabins on 10 acres of parkland at Cowes Foreshore Tourist Park. The park offers flat, grassed powered, unpowered and drive-thru sites available to book for all-sized caravans, motorhomes, RVs, camper trailers and tents.

If you’d prefer to bring an indulgent dose of luxury to your camping experience, then glamping on Phillip Island is for you. The Sheltered Glamping Co offers a unique and exclusive glamping-styled campground that operates sustainably with minimal impact on the land. Alternatively, Phillip Island Glamping offers a beachside glamping experience in a luxuriously prepared bell tent.

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Best Places to Eat & Drink on Phillip Island

Every culinary journey throughout Phillip Island should begin with an unhealthy-sized portion of the island’s best fish and chips from Fisherman’s Wharf on the Cowes Esplanade.

Follow it up with a generous scoop – or two – of gelati from Isola Di Capri to enjoy on a stroll along the beach. The family-run restaurant also serves up quality traditional Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner.

Enjoy 270-degree waterfront views at Saltwater as you dine on quality local produce from the selection of modern dishes on offer. If authentic Mediterranean and Greek food is what your palate seeks, visit Bani’s Kitchen.

The Cape Kitchen waterfront restaurant has curated a menu full of carefully sourced local and seasonal produce combined into a delicious selection of dishes for breakfast, lunch and dessert. Don’t go past the poached rhubarb with ice cream and the Gippsland Cheese plate.

The island’s thriving café scene includes the Cheeky Goose Café, Three Aces Café and Phillip Island Coffee Co. You can also welcome the day at the island’s only plant-based café, Island Whole Foods, for a mouth-watering selection of smoothie bowls (we recommend trying the Snickers), superfood smoothies, buckwheat pancakes, coffee and more.

Ocean Reach Brewing pairs the island’s juiciest burgers with tasty, locally-brewed beer for takeaway. Hotel Phillip Island is the perfect, over-achieving all-rounder. The brunching crowd will want to experience their breakfast spread, while late-comers can get their fill of quality pub grub washed down with their choice from the extensive cocktail, wine and beer list.

Tours and Packages for Phillip Island

There are a wide variety of attractions and activities available on the island and there are just as many experts on hand to help you get the most out of the experiences on offer.

If seeing the island’s estimated 25,000 Australian fur seal colony is at the top of your list, then book a tour with Wildlife Coast Cruises for a two-hour coastal cruise to Seal Rocks and back. The tour operator will take you on the two-kilometre journey out to the colony to drift within metres of these playful, curious marine mammals.

Tickets to the world-renowned Phillip Island Penguin Parade sell out fast, so it is advisable to book in advance of your visit if you want to see these little penguins waddle along the sand from the water back to their homes at sunset. There are a range of self-guided tickets and ranger-guided tours available to book for all ages, as well as a 4 Parks Pass that combines entry to the Penguin Parade with the interactive Antarctic Journey experience at the Nobbies, entry to the Koala Conservation Centre, and a visit to Churchill Island Heritage Farm.

Pick up the pace on the water with an exhilarating ride on a jet boat. The Drift Jet Boat Tour will combine the best of the island’s scenery with adventure-filled fun. Listen to commentary on the island’s historical and environmental sites as you speed past the granite cliff coast of Cape Woolamai on the 35-minute Ocean Adventures Phillip Island.

Now that you’ve experienced the island from the water it is time to take in its beauty from above. Phillip Island Helicopters offer scenic flights with seven different flight paths to choose from, including a variety of combinations that take in the diverse natural beauty of Phillip Island’s rugged coasts and rural aspects, and trips out over nearby Mornington Peninsula.