Phillip Island is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Australia, especially if you want to see penguins. However, they only march onto the shores early evening. So what else can you see during the day to make the most of your trip? Especially if you’re driving 2 hours from Melbourne. With the Penguin Parade on top of everyone’s mind, we’ll show you more fun things to do in the area. Here are the best tourist attractions on Phillip Island.


1. Penguin Parade

Let’s start with the most obvious reason to visit Philip Island. A great tourist attraction for couples and families, the Penguin Parade is world-famous! Watch in wonder as the Little Penguins return to shore at sunset after a big day out fishing in the ocean. Every night, they waddle across the sandy shores and into their burrows in the dunes. See the penguins from boardwalks and viewing platforms in their natural habitat. Or head underground for an eye-level view up close. It can get very cold at night so make sure you wear appropriate clothing. A range of tours are available if you want to get the most out of the experience.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 4pm-9pm
  • Duration: 1-3 hours
  • Address: 1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands VIC 3922

Check Tours Official site


2. Nobbie Centre

On the western tip of Phillip Island, you’ll find the Nobbies Centre at Point Grant with stunning views over the Bass Strait. Wander on the boardwalks outside and look out to Seal Rocks about one kilometer offshore. It’s very likely you’ll see wildlife since it’s home to over 16,000 fur seals. You’ll also see The Nobbies and The Blowhole. Along the boardwalk, there are a number of picturesque spots so take plenty of photos. At the main center, you’ll see the interactive Antarctic Journey and various exhibits about penguin conservation. There is also a cafe and gift shop, making it an ideal place for a lunch break.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-5:30pm
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Address: 1320 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands VIC 392

Check Tours Official site


3. Churchill Island Heritage Farm

Visit the site of the first farm in the state of Victoria at Churchill Island This restored homestead, dating back to the 1850s, has the original cottages onsite. Around the property, you’ll see stunning gardens and orchards, perfect for lunch picnics on sunny days. There are plenty of farm animals to see like Clydesdale horses and highland cattle. Activities during the day include milking cows, shearing sheep, and whip cracking. Or if you want to explore the surroundings, follow the walking trails that loop around the property. There is the North Point loop which is just 2 kilometres and will take around an hour. For a longer walk, go on the Chirchill Island loop which is 4.5 kilometres and takes around 2 hours.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-5pm
  • Duration: 1-3 hours
  • Address: 246 Samuel Amess Dr, Churchill Island VIC 3925

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4. Koala Conservation Reserve

See koalas up close in their natural habitat at the Koala Conservation Centre. The Australian bushland area is also home to an abundance of bird life, wallabies and echidnas. At the entrance, you’ll walk through the interpretive centre. This is where you can learn more about koalas including their history on Phillip Island. Outside the centre, enjoy two boardwalks and see the koalas in their natural habitat – eating, sleeping, and playing. Both boardwalks are easy 20-minute loops so take your time. Or, go behind the scenes with a ranger on a ‘Koala Eco-Explorer Tour’ – you never know what you’ll discover!

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-5:30pm
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Address: 1810 Phillip Island Rd, Rhyll VIC 3923

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5. Maru Koala & Animal Park

Maru Koala & Animal Park is a great place to visit, especially if you have young kids. Besides seeing all kinds of Australian animals, there are opportunities to get closer. You can pat koalas, feed kangaroos, and even reptiles after talk shows. Other animals you’ll see include crocodiles, possums, Tasmanian Devils, dingoes, and wombats. Check the times for keeper talks so you can learn more about your favourite Aussie animals. Cap off a fun day with 18 holes at Pirate Pete’s Mini Golf. There’s also a Homestead Bistro if you want to have lunch at the park.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9:30am-5:30pm
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Address: 1650 Bass Hwy, Grantville VIC 3984

Official site


6. Phillip Island Wildlife Park

If you want to enjoy a relaxing day with Australian animals, the Phillip Island Wildlife Park is a good stop. It’s located just two kilometres from the island’s main township, Cowes. Set over more than sixty acres, you’ll see a number of native animals. Visitors can feed and pat kangaroos in their free-range enclosure, from large red kangaroos to small wallabies. View the koalas at eye level, right up close, on the raised boardwalk. In the trees, you’ll see a range of birds including owls, parrots, and cockatoos.

  • Opening Hours: Friday to Tuesday 11am-5pm; Wednesday closed.
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Address: 2115 Phillip Island Rd, Cowes VIC 3922

Official site


7. A Maze ’N Things

Lose yourself in a magical world, packed with illusions, puzzles, games, and adventure for everyone! The family will enjoy hours and hours of fun at A Maze ’N Things. Tackle the confusing maze with its twisting passageways and many dead ends. See how you go at mini golf against family and friends. Inside the main building, Magic Manor and its interactive displays will definitely amaze you. For thrillseekers, weave among the tree tops on the high ropes course on SkyTrail.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-4pm
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Address: 1805 Phillip Island Rd, Cowes VIC 3922

Official site


8. Phillip Island Chocolate Factory

Families with a sweet tooth won’t want to miss a visit to the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory. All things chocolate are celebrated and admired here – even your entry ticket is a chocolate bar! Visit the factory shop where you can browse through the whole range of delicious handmade Belgian chocolate goodies. Alternatively, sit at the cafe and relax while the kids roam around the factory. Inside Panny’s Amazing World of Chocolate, you’ll see some amazing displays. There’s a chocolate mosaic of Dame Edna Everage, a chocolate village, and even a giant chocolate statue of Michelangelo’s David.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-5pm
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Address: 930 Phillip Island Rd, Newhaven VIC 3925

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9. Wildlife & Nature Cruises

A range of tours takes in the Phillip Island sites from the water. Enjoy spectacular coastline views as you cruise along in a fast-paced adventure tour. At Seal Rocks, you’ll see one of the largest seal colonies in Australia. There are also specific tours for whale watching. Or explore Cape Woolamai, the Nobbies sea cave, and other coastal landmarks shaped by the waves over centuries.

  • Tours: Daily from 8:30am
  • Duration: 2-4 hours

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10. Phillip Island Winery

Be sure to stop by this family-owned vineyard to taste their award-winning wines including Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They also have Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rose, Shiraz, and sparkling wines. Drop by for lunch and try cheese platters which match perfectly with the wines. Enjoy your wines indoors or perhaps take a seat in the courtyard and enjoy the outdoors. You’ll love the views over Bass Strait and Berry’s Beach. You can also wander through the vineyard and see the vines up close.

  • Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 11:30am-5:30pm; Friday 11:30am-2pm
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Address: 414 Berrys Beach Rd, Ventnor VIC 3922

Check Tours Official site


11. Cape Woolamai

One of the most popular surf beaches in the state, Cape Woolamai is set against a brilliant pink granite backdrop. In fact, it’s the highest point on the island. Take a wander along the sandy shores or follow a walking track to the viewing platforms. Along the way, you’ll have the most stunning scenic vistas. Walking trails include the Pinnacles Walk, Old Granite Quarry, and Cape Woolamai Beacon. The complete walks range from 4 to 7 kilometers.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 24/7
  • Duration: 1-4 hours; full-day tour available
  • Address: South East tip of Phillip Island

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12. National Vietnam Veterans Museum

A volunteer-run museum, the National Vietnam Veterans Museum honours those who served during Australia’s longest war. It covers the experiences of veterans, as well as the impact of the Vietnam War on our society over the years. The museum is home to quite a collection of artifacts from the war and veterans. This includes helicopters, a tank, a bomber, and smaller items such as boots and a helicopter pilot’s helmet. The themed exhibitions are regularly updated for an educational, rewarding, and sometimes emotional visit. Don’t miss the Light & Sound show, as it helps gain a further understanding of the war and its impacts.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-5pm
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Address: 25 Veterans Dr, Newhaven VIC 3925

Official site


13. Phillip Island Grand Prix

An iconic motor racing venue, visitors can see it from the track or take a tour. For an adrenalin rush, do a few laps on the go-karts. Or you can even do a “Hot Lap” where an experienced racing driver takes you around the course. But if you’re just there to enjoy the scenery, check out the historical displays on a guided tour. There’s also “Champion’s Cafe” so you can enjoy a lunch break before exploring the rest of Phillip Island. Keep in mind, that there are events during the year for major races.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Address: 381 Back Beach Rd, Ventnor VIC 3922

Check Tours Official site


Things To Do On Phillip Island For Free

  • The Nobbies Centre –  The Nobbies Centre offers impressive views of the island’s surroundings. From the boardwalk, visitors have a bird’s eye view of the island’s seal colony and popular blowhole. Inside is a range of displays and presentations about island life and habitats.
  • Explore beaches and coastline – Phillip Island’s beaches and coastline offer a variety of activities for visitors. Explore the rock formations at Forrest Caves or go for a dip in the water at Red Rocks Beach. Take a hike to view Pyramid Rock or spend the day fishing from Cowes Jetty.
  • Cape Woolamai bushwalk – Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island’s highest point, offers three different scenic hikes and walks. Each walk starts from Cape Woolamai Beach and loops around the beach and clifftops. They all feature breathtaking scenery and 360-degree views of the island and beyond.

Phillip Island At Night

  • Penguin ParadePhilip Island is home to the world’s largest Little Penguin colony. Every evening, the penguins emerge from the sea and march across the sand to their burrows. From the island’s boardwalks and viewing platforms, visitors can enjoy the parade any night of the year.
  • Phillip Island RSLPhilip Island RSL ‘s Lone Pine Bistro offers quality food and drinks at reasonable prices. Located at the gateway to Cowes, they’re open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. There’s something for everyone, including a kid’s area, live entertainment, and of course, pokie machines for adults.
  • Cowes Restaurants & Bars – Cowes is the commercial hub of Philip Island with a variety of renowned bars and restaurants. There are foods from all over the world, including Greek, Asian, Italian, and Mexican. Some local bars offer ocean views, live entertainment, and classic cocktails.

Best Restaurants on Phillip Island

  • Churchill Island CaféLocated off Phillip Island, Churchill Island Café’s outdoor terrace is a popular spot to enjoy the island’s scenic views. They’re known for their all-day breakfasts, a la carte lunch menu, and a Saturday farmer’s market.
  • Cafe & Restaurant at Phillip Island Chocolate FactoryThe Chocolate Factory Café & Restaurant offers chocolate treats that are only found on Philip Island. Relax with a coffee or cake and enjoy scenic views from the café’s popular outdoor balcony. With so many treats to choose from, there’s something for the whole family.
  • Phillip Island WineryFabulous wines and delicious food are just two of the reasons to visit Philip Island Winery. They also offer a variety of special events, including wine tastings, food festivals, or afternoons of music on the grass. It’s the ideal spot to spend a day on Phillip Island with family and friends.
  • Hotel Phillip IslandFor 20 years, Hotel Philip Island has offered a dining experience not found anywhere else on the island. They feature exceptional food, fine wines, cocktails, and the best views on the island. It’s no wonder they’re a favorite spot for locals and visitors.
  • Saltwater Phillip Island (photo above) Saltwater Phillip Island is a popular destination for locals and visitors. With a locally sourced menu, craft beers, and cocktails, it’s always busy. You’ll love the relaxed vibe, and the panoramic waterfront views are the best on the island. This is a good lunch stop if you’re just arriving at Phillip Island early afternoon.

Best Time To Visit Phillip Island

If you’re visiting Philip Island, the best time to go is November through March. These are the warmer months, and it’s the best time to experience everything Philip Island has to offer. But it’s the peak period for the Penguin Parade, and you might end up fighting the crowds. School holidays are generally from the second half of December through to the end of January. A good time to view the Penguin Parade is late autumn or early spring. The weather is not too cold, and the sun sets earlier, so it’s not a late night for the kids. Plus, less crowded boardwalks and viewing platforms make for a more enjoyable experience.


How Many Days to Spend in Phillip Island

It’s common for many visitors to come here on a day trip. A typical itinerary could be a fun day at A Maze ’N Things, Churchill Island Heritage Farm, or one of the wildlife parks. Then head to Nobbie Center in the late afternoon, before heading to the Penguin Parade at night. If you want to make the most of your time there, three to four days should be enough to experience Phillip Island. You can swim at Red Rocks Beach or hike the trails at Cape Woolamai. Be sure to spend a day in Cowes, enjoying a variety of food and drink at the beachfront bars and restaurants.


Where To Stay On Phillip Island

Ramada Resort by Wyndham Phillip Island

  • Ramada Resort [for families]Ramada Resort Philip Island is surrounded by bike trails and nature walks. It’s located right next to Philip Island wildlife park so it’s perfect for families. There are plenty of amenities, including a pool, hot tub, and an onsite café.
  • Hilltop Apartments Phillip Island [for couples]Hilltop Apartments is an adults-only retreat on the outskirts of Cowes. Set in a quiet location, it’s away from the crowds, but within driving distance of the island’s attractions. It’s ideal for a romantic weekend getaway, or a quiet holiday retreat.
  • Bimbadeen Phillip Island Farm Retreats [near Penguin Parade]Bimbadeen Farm Retreats are self-contained units located on a working cattle farm. Each unit features comfortable queen beds, cooking facilities, and a large outdoor deck. If you’re planning to watch the Penguin Parade, it’s the island’s closest accommodation.

Find More Phillip Island Hotels


How to Get to Phillip Island

Phillip Island is about 1 hour and 50 minutes drive from Melbourne. For most locals, this is a fun day trip, particularly on weekends. If you’re a first-time visitor to Melbourne, renting a car is a good option so you can enjoy a flexible itinerary. However, it might be easier and more relaxing to join a bus tour. Road rules and conditions are slightly different in Melbourne compared to the rest of Australia. Particularly when you’re driving out from the CBD and have to turn right! At some intersections, you have to do a hook turn from the left lane. A number of bus tours depart around midday, as they aim to stop by Penguin Parade at night. This is the easiest way to get to Phillip Island from Melbourne.

Find More Places To See On Phillip Island


Summary

Phillip IslandOpening Hours
Penguin ParadeDaily 4pm-9pm
Nobbie CentreDaily 10am-5:30pm
Churchill Island Heritage FarmDaily 10am-5pm
Koala Conservation ReserveDaily 10am-5:30pm
Maru Koala & Animal ParkDaily 9:30am-5:30pm
Phillip Island Wildlife ParkFriday to Tuesday 11am-5pm; Wednesday closed
A Maze ’N ThingsDaily 10am-4pm
Phillip Island Chocolate FactoryDaily 10am-5pm
Wildlife & Nature CruisesDaily from 8:30am
Phillip Island WineryWednesday to Sunday 11:30am-5:30pm; Friday 11:30am-2pm
Cape WoolamaiDaily 24/7
National Vietnam Veterans MuseumDaily 10am-5pm
Phillip Island Grand PrixDaily 9am-5pm
For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!

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