23 Best Things to Do in Phillip Island, Victoria

Phillip Island is a natural wonder on the Victorian coast. It encompasses both Phillip Island’s nature preserve and recreation area, with rolling hills and wide-open spaces. Visitors can enjoy the vast variety of unique wildlife, beautiful Victorian coastline and sandy beaches when they visit Phillip Island but what are the top things to do in Phillip Island for visitors?

Many local Victorians would have visited the Phillip Island attractions at least once in their lifetime but with Phillip Island being one of Victoria’s most popular tourist destinations some of the smaller activities get lost.

Sunset at a beach is one of the best things to do in Phillip Island
One of the many amazing beaches at Phillip Island

In this post, we will give anyone planning a trip to Phillip Island plenty of options so they can see as many Phillip Island spots as they can.

Things to do in Phillip Island

There are so many things to do in Phillip Island from free activities all the way up to the most popular Phillip Island tourist attractions. Your time on the Island will determine what you can do but there’s no need to rush, you can always return to visit Phillip Island.

Seal cruise

Trips out to Seal Rock to see the local seal colony are a great way to spend an afternoon.

a boat with people going on a cruise to see seals at Phillip Island
Heading out on a popular Seal cruise from Cowes

Companies like Wildlife Coast Cruise offer a brilliant, comfortable boat ride out to the rocks most afternoons. The large cruiser suits everyone from singles, and couples to large families and is a relaxing afternoon. Onboard commentary keeps you entertained as well and snacks and drinks available from the onboard bar make for a wonderful adventure. Book a Phillip Island wildlife cruise today.

Hot lap – unique things to do in Phillip Island

Adrenaline seekers will love this! Phillip Island is the premier destination in Victoria for all who love motorsports, including international car racing championships. Holding the Moto GP every year has cemented Phillip Island as the destination for anyone wanting to be fully immersed in the race.

The track is able to be used if you are racing motorbikes and for anyone wanting a hot lap in a fast car. If you love thrill-seeking adventures, this is the best thing to do in Phillip Island. Additionally, Phillip Island is home to a National Surfing Reserve, known for its quality breaks and pristine environment at surf sites like Cape Woolamai and Smiths Beach.

Helicopter ride

Taking a helicopter ride for epic views over Phillip Island will have to be one of the top things to do on Phillip Island as well as one of the most expensive.

A red helicopter flying over the bridge that seperated Rhyll and Newhaven at Phillip Island.
Fun things to do in Phillip Island include a helicopter ride

There are a few different flight paths you can take. There is an 8-minute Cape Woolami and Grand Prix circuit flight, Rhyll, Cowes, GP circuit 12-minute flight and a full Island 25-minute flight. One thing is for sure, this is an unforgettable Phillip Island experience. Search available dates for your Helicopter flight.

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Jetboat ride

If cars and motorbikes aren’t your things, maybe a jetboat ride with heart-stopping twist, sand turns is for you instead. The jet boat will take you on a magnificent but fast tour of the Phillip Island coastline. Book your thrilling Jetboat experience.

Kayak through caves

This one may be for nature lovers who visit Phillip Island. A kayak through caves only accessible by kayak is a wonderful way to see Phillip Island from a different perspective.

Phillip Island attractions

There are some top Phillip Island family attractions that everyone knows about and are the main things to do in Phillip Island. These are the most popular tourist attractions on Phillip Island and have to be mentioned in any things to do on the Phillip Island post. Don’t miss the Phillip Island Jazz Festival, where you can get into the island groove with live jazz performances in Cowes.

Penguin Parade – top things to do in Phillip Island

Watching the Little Penguins waddle ashore is something for all ages. There are different levels of viewing from the grandstand seating to a private spot on the beach. All tickets must be purchased before you arrive and there are sections for all budgets.

Seating platforms at the Phillip Island Penguin Parade
Seating platform at the Phillip Island Penguin Parade

The Penguin Parade is one of the best things to do in Phillip Island. There are multiple options for seeing the Phillip Island Penguins. You can sit in general admission or Penguin Plus, you can do a guided tour with a ranger and more. See all your Phillip Island Penguin options or look at a 4 Park Pass that includes Penguins, Koalas, Arctic Journey and Churchill Island entries.

Koala Conservation Park

One of the most iconic Aussie animals, the koala is now under threat due to decreased native habitat. Places like the Phillip Island Koala Conservation Park are where you can see these amazing animals and help protect our amazing furry friends. Book your entry ticket to Koala Conservation Park or look at a 4 Park Pass that includes Penguins, Koalas, Arctic Journey and Churchill Island entries.

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Churchill Island

Step back in time to Churchill Island. Once a summer retreat, you will find the Island is a small working museum. Here, you can see farmwork displays and beautiful gardens, and the Homestead is still full of old-time necessities.

You may even get to milk a cow if you are lucky. Churchill Island also has a farmers market held on the 4th Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Book your entry to Churchill Island or look at a 4 Park Pass that includes Penguins, Koalas, Arctic Journey and Churchill Island entries.

The Nobbies

The Nobbies is a free lookout into Bass Straight and onto Seal Rock. You can walk the boardwalks for free and see the local Cape Barren geese roaming freely. There is also an abundance of birdlife here as well.

walking platforms for scenic views at the Nobbies
The Nobbies is a scenic Phillip Island attraction

*The Nobbies is also home to the Arctic Journey

Go on an Arctic journey

Located at the Nobbies, you will find the Nobbies Center, Arctic Journey. While aimed at kids visiting Philip Island, if you want to discover more about Antarctica, climate change and the impact humans have on this, then a trip to the Nobbies Acti journey is a must. Book entry tickets to the Arctic Journey or look at a 4 Park Pass that includes Penguins, Koalas, Arctic Journey and Churchill Island entries.

Planning to explore Victoria more? Here are the best things to do in Halls Gap, the gateway to the Grampians!

Free things to do on Phillip Island

While on holiday in Victoria, all activities on Phillip Island can add up quickly. It is always a great idea to incorporate some of the free things to do in Phillip Island to even out your holiday on Phillip Island.

Pelican feeding at San Remo

At 12 noon daily the co-op sends down a bucket of fish to feed the local pelicans. You will know it is going to happen when suddenly you see a large number of pelicans making their way to the shore.

Pelican birds on the beach at Rhyll waiting to be feed
Pelican feeding is a family-friendly free thing to do on Phillip Island

*While you are there, spend some time watching the giant stingrays glide through the water from the banks in the shallows or from above on the jetty, which is one of the best free things to do in Phillip Island.

S.S. Speke Shipwreck

This is a low tide activity on Phillip Island. The S.S. Speke ship was caught on the rocks of Kitty Millers Bay back in 1906 (although some say 1905), and now only a tiny amount remains.

You can park in the car park at Kitty Millers Bay and walk either over the rocks or along the headland before heading down to see the wreck.

Phillip Island Beaches

For some visitors to Phillip Island, they are only worried about the Phillip Island Beaches. Whether you want to sunbathe, swim, or learn to surf, there is a beach on Philip Island. Phillip Island has some of the best beaches in Victoria for surfing.

  • Kitty Millers Bay (kid-friendly)
  • Smiths Beach (surfing, kid-friendly)
  • Cowes Beach (kid-friendly)
  • Ryhll (fishing, kid-friendly)
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Oswin Roberts reserve

Getting back to nature in Phillip Island is easy and the perfect place to do this is the Oswin Roberts Reserve. This amazing, dense section of the Australian bush is the last remaining on Phillip Island.

Here, you will find plenty of wildlife life, wallabies, birds and possibly a koala high in the treetops. If you want to escape the crowds, this is one of the best things to do in Phillip Island.

Cape Woolamai Walk

The Cape Woolamai walk will give you outstanding views. The rugged coastline along Phillip Island is a fantastic sight and can produce some of the most stunning photographs on your trip to Phillip Island.

Cape Woolami at Phillip Island
The rugged coastline at Cape Wollamai

If you decide to do the Cape Woolamai walk be aware that it is an 8.5k walk that can take upwards of 2.5 hours. On this walk you need to make sure you are physically capable of completing the walk, let someone know where you are and take water or snacks with you.

Fishing on Phillip Island

Casting a rod is one of the best things on Phillip Island. Many will take a fishing rod to Phillip Island with them and try their luck with either surf fishing, off the shore or on a jetty. This is one of the best things to do in Phillip Island that is free and possibly catches you dinner!

Budget travel in Melbourne? Yes! Here are the best free things to do in Melbourne

Check out some street art

Street art and street murals are gaining momentum all around Victoria, with many small towns inviting artists to paint some of the walls. Phillip Island is no different, and you will find some large walls painted in Cowes and at the Nobbies.

Places to see wall art in Phillip Island:

  • Nobbies visitor centre
  • Anglican Church in Cowes

Phillip Island activities for kids

Phillip Island is the perfect place for a family holiday, and there are heaps of things to do on Phillip Island with kids. While plenty of the above activities on Phillip Island are appropriate for children, these are aimed right at them.

Amaze ‘n things

Spending an afternoon or a morning at Amaze n Things is an excellent way for the kids to get the best out of their child at Phillip Island. Here, you will find a maze, mini-golf, a house of tricks and a sky trail to enjoy.

Phillip Island Amaze N Things
Amaze ‘n’ things in Phillip Island with kids is fun

Panny’s Phillip Island Chocolate Factory

Don’t think this is just for the kids. This is one place everyone, young and old, will love. You can do a tour of the Chocolate Factory and then spend time in the cafe tasting the unique chocolate products they have on offer or you can buy up big at the onsite shop. Put this on your list of things to do in Phillip Island.

Maru Koala and animal park

The iconic Australian animals are known worldwide, and seeing them in real life is one of the top things to do in Phillip Island. For many, hand-feeding a kangaroo is a wonderful experience; here at Maru Animal Park, you can do just that.

Phillip Island Wildlife Park

Phillip Island Wildlife Park will give you an up-close and personal animal experience on the Island. This is the place for anyone visiting Phillip Island who wants to get close to the iconic Australian animals.

Phillip Island go-kart track – things to do in Phillip Island

Thrill-seekers of all ages will find this one of the best things to do on Phillip Island. At Phillip Island Go Karts you get to have fun on a 750m Phillip Island Go Kart track replica of the world-renowned Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

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Where to eat on Phillip Island

There are so many places to eat on Phillip Island that all cuisines are catered for. You will find plenty of variety with some places even able to cater for a picnic if this is what you prefer.

When is the best time to visit Phillip Island?

Summer in Phillip Island sees most of the towns packed with holidaymakers.

How to get to Phillip Island

Driving to Phillip Island from Melbourne is the best way to see the island and all the Phillip Island tourist attractions. Phillip Island is located approximately a 90-minute drive from Melbourne.

While there is a V/Line (Victoria’s rural transport operator) bus that runs daily to Phillip Island, there is no regular and reliable public transport to get you around Phillip Island to see all the tourist attractions.

Phillip Island accommodation

There are just so many Phillip Island accommodation options for everyone and every budget. You can either decide to stay on Phillip Island at Cowes, Rhyll or New Haven or you can stay in San Remo, whatever works for you. There is accommodation on Phillip Island

Luxury accommodation: The Waves is a luxurious apartment complex located in Cowes on Phillip Island. It offers stunning ocean views and easy-to restaurants, cafés and more in Cowes. The Waves is the perfect place to stay if you are looking for a relaxing holiday by the sea. See more pictures, reviews, and availability at The Waves

Midrange Accommodation: Ramada Resort Phillip Island is the perfect place to stay for an idyllic holiday. With its on-site pool, restaurant and gym, guests will have everything they need within the resort. Ramada is ideally located near Cowes with great access to the Penguin Parade and the Nobbies. For more information and booking click here.

Budget accommodation: The Youth Hostel Association (YHA) Phillip Island is a great place to stay when exploring the area. The hostel has a rooftop lounge, kitchen, and dining area as well as a cafe that sells light snacks and drinks.

Bike hire is available on-site, making it easy to explore the island. Accommodation options include dorms and ensuite rooms. The hostel is located in the town of Newhaven, close to the beach and other attractions. Search reviews and availability at this Phillip Island hostel.

Caravan Parks: If you’re looking for a place to stay on Phillip Island Ingenia Park is the perfect option. The park offers cabins and powered and unpowered sites. Facilities at Ingenia Holiday Parks include a games room, camp kitchen, jumping pillow, go-carts and free wifi. Search your stay at Ingenia Holiday Park on Phillip Island

The island is also home to an array of interesting tourist attractions, including a world-famous race track, a colony of adorable penguins, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. So if you’re looking for an amazing Australian holiday destination, be sure to put Phillip Island on your Victoria Itinerary!

We hope this article from us here at Explore Victoria has inspired you to embark on your adventure in Victoria, Australia, from popular caravan parks and pristine beaches to drives along the Great Ocean Road. Enjoy weekends away on the Mornington Peninsula and discover the cosmopolitan charm of Melbourne, Victoria, with a range of experiences for every traveller who wants to visit Victoria.

Whether you’re drawn to the rugged beauty of the Grampians, the cultural richness of Ballarat, or the autumn colours of Bright and Northern Victoria, there’s no shortage of hidden gems waiting to be discovered in Victoria.

Even if you love exploring Gippsland or driving the Great Alpine Road, Victoria has something special for you, and there is so much more for you to discover. If you are looking for more incredible and best places to visit in Melbourne or more travel in Victoria destinations, Explore Victoria has some more articles below for you to check out. Expand your horizons and get out and about in Victoria, Australia, for an unforgettable experience. 

If you have an idea, attraction, or top spot in Victoria, please comment or email us at contact@explorevictoriaaustralia.com.

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Author Bio

Bec Wyld is the creative force behind the words, blending Explore Victora with a touch of wanderlust. With an innate ability to tell a story that resonates, Bec invites readers on a journey through her home of Victoria Australia. Beyond the keyboard, Bec works in Aged Care helping people to live a better life. With a pen in one hand and on the road in front Bec is on a quest to inspire those looking to explore Victoria through words, images and lifestyle