Phillip Island in Victoria, Australia, is a really beautiful place that’s often not mentioned in guides about ‘Must See’ places in the country. However, I’d highly recommend doing a day trip from Melbourne as I really loved the scenery!
If you happen to visit Australia, Melbourne most probably is on your list of cities to visit and I have to say: It’s worth it. While Melbourne might not look as fancy as Sydney, it’s still a really enjoyable city with a lot of charm. One of the highlights of visiting Melbourne is doing day trips and going to Phillip Island is a perfect option for those, who would like the see the real beauty of nature in Australia. In this short guide, I’ll explain what you should do while on Phillip Island and what else you need to know about visiting!
There are various ways to get to Phillip Island, but I’d say renting a car is by far the most convenient. The ride from Melbourne is about 90 minutes and very easy and smooth. Plus, you can easily get around Phillip Island in your own pace and explore everything without having to think about schedules.
Other options include a combination of a train and a bus, direct buses from Melbourne and a ferry with a connection to a bus. With rental cars in Melbourne being quite affordable, this would be what I would go for when travelling to Phillip Island.
Honestly, you can’t really go wrong with going to Phillip Island in any seasons. In high season, which is the Australian summer, you’ll find somewhat crowded beaches, but really lovely temperatures. In low seasons, the Australian winter, it can get a bit chilly, particularly in the evenings. On the other hand, it’s really quiet in this season and you’ll have long stretches of beach for yourself. There’s definitely no wrong or right here, my only recommendation would be looking for a sunny day for your ride out to Phillip Island as weather really matters here.
There’s definitely more than just one spot that’s worth seeing on Phillip Island. What I liked the most was visiting the Phillip Island National Park and Cape Woolamai.
Here, you’ll find various hiking paths along the coast, some of them along the beach, others on the cliff.
The views are really beautiful regardless of which of the options you choose.
If you happen to visit in low seasons as I did, you will also have the chance to enjoy the whole scenery for yourself.
While there are a couple of particularly popular spots like the Pinnacles Lookout, I really would recommend to just go wherever you feel like as the whole area is just really nice.
However, be aware that these paths aren’t usually for beginners and while I thought that hiking here was still very enjoyable, it can get strenous from time to time and you should be aware that there’s no infrastructure, so you need to bring your own water etc.
Another really popular spot are the Summerlands, which are particularly popular for whale watching. The Nobbies are what’s most known here as a spot for whale watching and enjoying the scenery.
However, I also thought that various of the other spots in the Summerlands are really worth enjoying.
I also had the chance to check out the Phillip Island Wildlife Park, which is a small and rather cozy feeling wildlife park in the middle of the island.
Here, you can not only see various local animals like wombats, but also various birds and more.
The highlight sure is getting close to the dozens of cangaroos, which want to be fed by you.
There are not a lot of rules and you can just roam around freely, so it’s quite a nice and enjoyable way to get closer to the wildlife when on Phillip Island.
While I’ll focus on one other highlight in the next paragraph, Phillip Island in general has a couple more nice spots to offer, from cute restaurants and cafés to secluded beaches to more parks – it’s really up to you what you want to visit.
One of the most popular attractions on Phillip Island is the Penguine Parade, which is happening every evening. Photos are forbidden, but I still took the chance to see the whole thing by myself. It’s not cheap to visit and there are three different platforms (I chose the second most expensive), offering different views.
You’ll have to wait for quite a while until the penguins show up (usually shortly after dawn), but once they do, it’s really spectacular. They are really close to you and you’ll see hundreds or even thousands (depending on the day).
Especially as the penguins are really small and tend to walk for a kilometer or more once on ground, you’ll see a spectacular happening, which is worth recommending – even though it really got cold on an otherwise nice winter day.
You can easily visit Phillip Island on a day trip from Melbourne and I’d highly recommend doing though. I tremendously enjoyed both, the beautiful nature and the amazing wildlife. From the wildlife parks to the national parks to the penguine parade, nothing disappoints on Phillip Island and it also feels far away from mass tourism and instead very local. If you happen to be in Melbourne, be sure to not miss out on Phillip Island!