The ultimate guide for things to do on Phillip Island

A visit to Phillip Island is on the list of so many holidaymakers in Australia both for tourists and locals alike. The idea of seeing little penguins waddle ashore every night of the year is an amazing thought but many ask…what are some of the other best things to do on Phillip Island?

Know before you go. Our top Phillip Island travel tips

There are a few things to consider before you plan your trip to Phillip Island. Below we will help you with all the important things like accommodation on Phillip Island and transport to Phillip Island, so you can have the very best holiday We also want to make sure you see all the best things to do on Phillip Island while you are there.

Where to stay on Phillip Island

There are so many accommodation options on Phillip Island. Below we have included a few options for you to choose from to make sure your stay on Phillip Island is the very best. Along with hotels and apartments, you will also stay at a Phillip Island caravan park.

Budget: Phillip Island YHA provides room to fit singles, couples and families at an affordable price. YHA Phillip Island features Kitchens, Tv Rooms, Laundry, Common areas, tourist information and bike hire. The YHA is in a great location within walking distance of all the San Remo shops and restaurants

Mid-range: Phillip Island Ramada Resort provides accommodation in a range of different stand-alone units that are fully self-contained. The Ramada Resort has an onsite restaurant, gym, swimming pool, bbq and play areas. Located a 5-minute drive from Cowes and 15 minutes from the famous Phillip Island penguin parade on Phillip Island

Luxury: Located in San Remo at the gate to Phillip Island is an amazing 2 bedroom apartment with uninterrupted ocean views. Including air conditioning/heating, washing machine, dishwasher, microwave oven and Nespresso machine. An outdoor BBQ area/ Kitchen allows you to take in the sweeping views on offer

Phillip Island Airbnb alternative for your stay

If you prefer a home away from home-style accommodation on Phillip Island then Air BnB is the best choice for you. There are so many options for singles, families, and budget-friendly options as well.

Getting around Phillip Island

Public transport is limited to some of the top tourist attractions on Phillip Island so having a car where you can get yourself to the best Phillip Island activities really is the way to go.

You can rent a car at Melbourne airport if you flying to Victoria. There is 1 car hire agency on the island with a limited amount of vehicles you can.

Free things to do on Phillip Island

A stay on Phillip Island can add up quickly with some of the most popular things to do on Phillip Island being very expensive. In this post, we will cover the top tourist attractions on Phillip Island as well as adding some free things to do on the Island and Phillip Island Coastal reserve nature walks that this stunning place is known for as well.

Visit the San Remo Jetty for stingrays and pelicans

Every day at 12 noon in the shadow of the Phillip island Bridge a group of pelicans arrive onto the sandy area right near the San Remo jetty to get a feed of fish from the people at the Co-Op. Not just anyone can do Pelican feeding, this is something that has been going on for a while now and they know exactly who will be there to feed them.

people standing on a jetty fishing and looking at fish
People looking at Stingrays on San Remo Jetty

While you are waiting you can go out onto the jetty and look into the shallow waters to see some of the biggest stingrays we have ever seen glide through the water. You could easily watch them for a long time.

See the Shipwreck of the S.S Speke at Kitty Millers Bay

This is a low tide activity so you will need to know when the tide is out to get the best views of the shipwreck.

a rocky beach area with a decaying part of a shipwreck
The remains of the S.S Speke

When the tide is low the remains of the hull of the ship are lying on the rocky bit of beach. While there is not much left now the walk there is lovely and great free activity on Phillip Island.

You can get to the S.S Speke two ways. You can walk along the beach and then over the rocky cliffs’ section to get to the wreck. The other way is to head up onto the grassy dunes and go from there. The way down to the wreck is a little steep if you do take the grassy dunes way. Good walking shoes are a must for either trip.

*In the summer months Kitty Millers Bay would be a great place for a swim. It looks pretty calm and has a large sandy area that would be great. There is ample parking but there is also a large set of stairs to get down to the beach. If it is wet weather when you are visiting you will need to be careful on the steps.

Search for Wallabies and Koalas at the Oswin Roberts Reserve

Seeing Australian wildlife in their natural habitat is one of the top things to do on Phillip Island. At the Oswin Roberts Reserve, you can go on a few different walks that take you around some amazing bushland and into areas where you can see some amazing animals.

a wallaby standing in a green paddock of grass at sunset in Phillip Island
Spotting amazing wildlife is one of the best free things to do on Phillip Island

The walks are as short as 30 minutes all the way to a couple of hours so it is up to you how long you want to go for and what you want to see. The wallabies in this area are not tame and will more than likely hop away as you approach.

If you plan on walking in some of the Oswin Roberts Reserve you need to make sure you have enough water, sunscreen, good shoes and someone knows where you are. While it is a popular walking trail on Phillip Island you still need to be prepared.

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Visit the Nobbies

You can visit the Nobbies for views over to Seal Rock and they are free. There is plenty of birdlife there as well for you to have a look at as you walk over the viewing platforms. There is also a dirt track from the Nobbies along the coastline that you can take for some amazing views over the rocky coastline. It is great on a windy day to see the waves smashing up against the coast.

2 rocky small islands in roough seas in Phillip Island
The view from the Nobbies looking out into Bass Straight

*There are paid activities at the Nobbies that we will cover as well.

Get something yummy at Panny’s Phillip Island Chocolate Factory

Nearly everyone loves chocolate and Phillip Island has its own chocolate factory. You can go on a tour of the amazing world of chocolate factory, or you can just have something yummy in the café on site.

You must take some home though so you can share with your family and friends.

Wander the Churchill Island Farmers Market

A wander around the market on Churchill Island Heritage Farm is a great way to start your Saturday morning on Phillip Island. Entry to the Churchill Island farmers market is free, and it is up to you what you decide to spend on the local produce that is on sale there.

a green rural paddock with tents and people. A farmers market is one of the best things to do on Phillip Island
The farmer’s market in full swing at Churchill Island

The market is held right next to the homestead so you can incorporate your visit to Churchill Island Heritage Park with a visit to the farmers market.

The Churchill Island Farmers Market is held on the first Saturday of the month and goes from 8.00 am until 1.00 pm.

Do one of the amazing walks on Phillip Island

One thing about Philip Island that you will love is the abundance of nature and the walks you can do. Some of the walks can last hours whereas some are only short and perfect for people who aren’t avid hikers.

A lady looking at the beach while standing on some rocks at Forest Cave in Phillip Island
Standing on the Rocks at Forest Caves

You can choose walks on the beach or ones in the bush but whatever you chose make sure you are prepared with water, sunscreen, phone reception and let someone know where you are going if there is an emergency. Some of the most popular walks on Philip Island are:

Cape Woolamai Walk

Forrest Caves Walk

Churchill Island Walk

Pyramid Rock Walk

Rhyll Inlet Walk

Swan Lake Walk

Top tourist attractions on Phillip Island

There are so many amazing things to do on Phillip Island and knowing what you want to see will help you decide how long to stay. Your Phillip Island itinerary should have some of the top tourist activities on it and here we have some of the best for you to choose from.

Get a 4 Park Pass and see the top tourist attractions on Phillip Island

If you don’t plan on seeing some of the big tourist attractions on Phillip Island then purchasing a 4 park pass is the best idea and a money saver as well. The 4 park pass, will give you entry to the most popular Phillip Island attractions and save you money as well.

Penguin Parade

This has to be the biggest of all the Phillip Island activities and one that draws the biggest crowds to the Island. The Phillip Island Nature Park is open every night and you are best to book your Phillip Island penguin parade tickets online.

Visit Antarctica

At the Nobbies centre Antarctic Journey, you are taken on a journey through time to Antarctica. The interactive displays give you the feeling you are visiting Antarctica yourself and the information you gain about the continent is amazing.

The Antarctic Discovery Centre, sitting on a hill at the Nobbies in Phillip Island
The Antarctic Journey centre at the Nobbies

Churchill Island

Go back in time to Churchill Island and see what life in early colonial times was like on the Island. You can see some of the work animals they used, you can have a try at milking a cow and cracking a whip! The Homestead is also great to have a look inside to see what a home looked like in those days.

Koala Conservation Reserve

The Koala Conservation Park is where you can see koalas that have had some help with rehabilitation. These amazing creatures are fabulous to see. This is a great family-friendly activity on Phillip Island and the paths that are around the park are great for little legs and prams. You can also visit the Phillip Island wildlife park.

a koala in a tree
Images from Phillip Island Nature Parks | 2016

Drive like a pro on the Phillip Island Circuit

For some people the need for speed is real and here on Phillip Island, you can do just that. You can do a hot lap of the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit or if you don’t need speed in your life you can have a watch of people driving around it.

Many times during the year when there is not an official race on you can visit the circuit and watch the cars racing around it. It a great activity if you love cars.

Be amazed at A’maze n Things

Such a fun place to visit on Phillip Island and a great activity for kids. A Maze n Things is a top spot to spend a few hours wandering around all of the rooms with illusions, magic, tricks and of course a maze for you to get lost in!

Go on a seal watching cruise with Wildlife Coast Cruises

Located in Cowes you can board the boat, The Casey Lee and go on a seal-watching cruise for approximately 2 hours in length. The crew will get you out to seal rock on the boat safely. At Seal Rocks, you can see them lazing about on the rocks or swimming out around them. The boat is a large vessel and has seating both indoors or out, you may even get lucky and see whales or Dolphins

A boat in choppy waters with seals swimming around it
A wildlife cruise is one of the many things to do on Phillip Island

There are toilets, a bar and snacks on board so it is a great Phillip Island activity for the whole family to enjoy. If seal watching is not your cup of tea then there are other tours that are offered throughout the year.

Maru Koala & Animal Park

Located just off the Island at Granville is the Maru Animal Park. At the park, you will get up close and personal with some of the animals who live there. The Kangaroo enclosure is a highlight, there are 10 or more Kangaroos that will happily come and eat out of your hand (you will be given food on entry. Please do not feed the animals anything else).

There are koalas, wombats, snakes, Tasmanian Devil, emu’s and more waiting for you. Several times a day they have animal shows, where the keepers talk about them and show you certain animals up close. After you finish with the animals try a game of mini-golf on the Pirate Pete Course.

Groupon is well worth checking out for discount accommodation, food and drinks during your stay on Phillip Island

Frequently asked Questions about Phillip Island

Is it free to go to Phillip Island?

Yes there is no fee to go to Phillip Island, you can drive to Phillip Island or catch public transport

Are the Nobbies free?

You can access the boardwalks at the Nobbies free of charge, you only need to pay if you want to go to the Antarctic Journey centre

Can you see Penguins at Phillip Island for free?

You may be able to spot Penguins from the Nobbies boardwalk in the early evening coming into nest for the night

What time do the Penguins come ashore at Phillip Island?

The Penguins come ashore at dusk

Places to eat on Phillip Island

There are so many options for some amazing food on Phillip Island. We have eaten at a few places when we stayed so we hope they may be able to help you have an amazing meal during your stay on Phillip Island.

The Haven Wave Cafe

Located at the Big Wave complex in Newhaven his amazing little cafe is the spot for coffee and a brilliant lunch. You can eat in or you can take something away to enjoy while you are exploring the Island.

a cafe with benches stools for outdoor seating in Phillip Island

Trish and Sal will definitely look after you and they are the nicest people. All the cakes and slices are homemade by Trish. I can highly recommend the jelly slice! At times Trish also has homemade jams and jellies that you can purchase too.

The San Remo Co-op

An amazing spot to watch the boats come in and the cars drive over the bridge you can get some amazing seafood right here. With seating outside at the shop or the park next door you can get something to stay and eat or to take away

The Spicy Duck

An amazing little Thai shop that is absolutely delicious and great value for money. You can get some amazing modern Thai dishes here. Seating is inside or outside on some picnic tables. The takeaway is also offered.

We hope this article from us here at Travels in Gippsland has you inspired to plan a trip to Phillip Island. There are so many amazing things to do for all budgets that you will never want to leave. For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in Gippsland click through to our visit Phillip Island page for more brilliant inspiration.

More Gippsland travel inspiration for your trip