Less than two hours from Melbourne, Phillip Island is the perfect destination for wildlife and wilderness lovers. Think waddling little penguins, koalas sleeping in the trees and vast, undulating landscapes, complete with protected nature parks. Beyond that there’s the world-famous Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, a mix of fishing villages and coastal gems – plenty to keep you busy. We caught up with Visit Victoria to bring you this guide to visiting Phillip Island. Here’s where to begin:
What to see
Nature is at Phillip Island’s very core. You can barely scour an inch of it without being wowed by the breadth and beauty of wildlife and landscapes on offer here. The most famous of course is the Penguin Parade, a display that sees the world’s smallest penguins emerging from the water and journeying across the sand at sunset to their burrows. This daily ritual is easily one of our planet’s greatest spectacles. Another Australian wildlife staple, koalas, can be found here too – head for the Koala Conservation Centre to catch a glimpse – or why not seek out the country’s biggest fur seal colony on a Wild Oceans EcoBoat tour?
On the western tip of the island you can embark on an Antarctic Journey at The Nobbies. A partnership with WWF Australia has resulted in the creation of a multimedia experience that will see you surrounded by whales, seals, penguins and sharks, as well as the icy landscapes of the South Pole. There’s even an augmented reality section, where you can interact with the animals first-hand. And be sure to take in Victoria’s first farm and learn all about its heritage and history on Churchill Island.
These experiences can be bundled together as a part of the 4 or 5 Parks Pass, which supports the Phillip Island Nature Parks. So you can save money, and invest in local conservation and environmental research efforts too.
Where to eat and drink
Seafood is blissful on Phillip Island. From famous eateries, to family-run wineries, to charming beachside cafés, fresh catch and locally grown produce is a big deal on every menu. Come armed with your appetite and a penchant for island life and you’ll love these Visit Victoria faves: The Cape Kitchen and its Southern Ocean views; the waterfront Foreshore Bar and Restaurant; and The Shearing Shed – beloved for its vast farmland setting.
If it’s delicious grapes you’re after, try Purple Hen Wines, or for world-class coffee (and mouth-watering fudge), sample the delights of micro-roastery and eatery BEANd.
Choosing where to stay
At Flight Centre, we work closely with our Travel Experts on the ground in Victoria to bring you the very best hotel options. The places we recommend in the beautiful surrounds of Phillip Island are no different, think indulgent resorts and alternative accommodation types, from beachside lodges to budget-friendly B&Bs. Chat to one our Travel Experts about finding the right accommodation to suit you.
Hitting the shops
Phillip Island is full to the brim with quirky stores, each one bursting with a unique brand of charm and character. Shops for souvenirs, boutique wares and clothing – to name a few. There’s even a shop called Mosaics by the Bay, which is dedicated to this art form and runs regular workshops. It’s also perfect for buying some one of a kind, seaside-inspired mementos.
Experiencing Phillip Island like a local
If you want to see Phillip Island like the locals do, pull on your walking boots and get out on foot – this is a natural paradise after all. And with wilderness trails, beach walks and clifftop hikes all over, you’ll constantly stumble across new hidden gems. And you can tailor your exploration to your own fitness levels too: take a gentle stroll along secluded sands or through verdant wetlands, or kick things up a gear with a rugged coastal walk.
Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife too: rare migratory birds can be spotted amid the mangroves on the Bush to Bay Trail, from the Koala Conservation Centre to Rhyll, while wallabies bound around Conservation Hill and Rhyll Inlet. Birders will love the avifauna on display along the Cape Woolamai Trail, while those who are more into landscapes can gaze across Point Grant and The Nobbies as they make their way along the clifftop trail from Pyramid Rock to Berry’s Beach.
Make an appointment with one of our Travel Experts to start planning your Phillip Island holiday.