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The Top Things to do on Phillip Island

Looking for all the best things to do on Phillip Island? One of the most popular natural destinations that’s reachable within a reasonable distance outside Victorian capital Melbourne, Phillip Island is renowned as a nature destination for multiple reasons, but one in particular: its penguins. With a trip to Phillip Island, you’ll be able to watch groups of incredibly cute Little Penguins make their way to shore every night at the home of the world’s largest Little Penguin colony. Add to this its numerous sheltered beaches, array of family activities, great dining and more, and it’s a smorgasbord of things to see and do.

To begin your Phillip Island adventure, simply choose from the available experiences below and book your ideal journey online today.

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The Top Things to do on Phillip Island

Looking for all the best things to do on Phillip Island? One of the most popular natural destinations that’s reachable within a reasonable distance outside Victorian capital Melbourne, Phillip Island is renowned as a nature destination for multiple reasons, but one in particular: its penguins. With a trip to Phillip Island, you’ll be able to watch groups of incredibly cute Little Penguins make their way to shore every night at the home of the world’s largest Little Penguin colony. Add to this its numerous sheltered beaches, array of family activities, great dining and more, and it’s a smorgasbord of things to see and do.

To begin your Phillip Island adventure, simply choose from the available experiences below and book your ideal journey online today.

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The Top 10 Things to do on Phillip Island, VIC

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by Experience Oz staff
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Nestled comfortably off Australia’s southern coastline not too far away from the bustling capital city of Melbourne, Phillip Island is home to an abundance of wildlife, beautifully framed by its idyllic coastline.

From beaches and racetracks to koala conservations, seal colonies, and penguin parades, Phillip Island has a wide variety of attractions to entertain visitors both young and old, confirming it as one of Victoria’s must-see destinations.

For anyone venturing to Melbourne on the lookout for the best activities and attractions available within a day trip from the city, Phillip Island is the place to be. We’ve put together a list of the Top 10 Things to do on Phillip Island to help you make the most of your visit.

1. The Penguin Parade

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Location: 1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands VIC

If you’re able to stay on the island until the late afternoon, make sure to purchase admission to one of Australia’s (and possibly the world’s) most adorable displays of nature in action at Phillip Island Nature Parks Penguin Parade.

Witness one of the largest penguin colonies in Australia at the famous Penguin Parade on Phillip Island. The nature park is approximately 90 minutes drive from Melbourne and is one of the only places in Australia where you can get up close to these cute creatures and witness them in a natural setting amongst their colony.

With the event not taking place until sunset, there will be plenty of time to explore the Island and tick off as many experiences as you like throughout the day, before making your way west to Summerland Bay.

Witness one of the largest penguin colonies in Australia at the famous Penguin Parade on Phillip Island. The nature park is approximately 90 minutes drive from Melbourne and is one of the only places in Australia where you can get up close to these cute creatures and witness them in a natural setting amongst their colony.

You’ll be able to find the perfect vantage points from viewing platforms on the beach and the surrounding boardwalk, where you’ll be treated to the sights and sounds of tiny waddling penguins as they make their way ashore.

The Penguin Parade offers multiple viewing platforms and boardwalks which are suitable for wheelchairs and prams. The parade also provides underground viewings, allowing for some up close penguin sightings as they waddle up to their burrows under the setting sun, having spent another big day fishing and swimming off the Victorian coast.

In addition to the show the penguins put on, you’ll also get to hear from the rangers that help support these wonderful little birds and their fragile environment. You’ll hear about the penguins’ daily routines and habits, along with various facts about the location and its preservation, while you patiently wait for the sun to set and the penguins to arrive.

A popular experience for visitors of all ages, the Penguin Parade is a definite must-do to wrap up your time on the island!

2. Take a Cruise with Wildlife Coast Cruises

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Location: The Esplanade, Cowes

If cruising out to a place aptly named ‘Seal Rocks’ and hanging out with a few thousand of its furry inhabitants sounds like a good time to you, be sure to book a spot on the Phillip Island Seal Cruise with Wildlife Coast Cruises.

The cruise includes a two-hour voyage departing Cowes Jetty, exploring the island’s spectacular southwest coast and visiting Australia’s largest fur seal colony, which occupy Seal Rocks.

The cruise will see the boat surrounded by approximately five thousand seals (we’re not exaggerating!) whilst also having the chance to spot pods of dolphins and whales, massive varieties of seabirds, and much more in the surrounding waters.

The cruise will see the boat surrounded by approximately five thousand seals (we’re not exaggerating!) whilst also having the chance to spot pods of dolphins and whales, massive varieties of seabirds, and much more in the surrounding waters.

During your time at Seal Rocks, you’ll also get to see the inquisitive nature of seals first hand, as they approach the boat for a better look at its occupants, all while providing some incredible photo opportunities.

Along with the aquatic wildlife, you will also be treated to a complimentary morning or afternoon tea to ensure you’re able to take in the sights and sounds in complete comfort.

Daily cruises leave at 2 pm, departing from Cowes Jetty on the northern coast of the island, with extra cruises leaving at 11 am and 4.30pm in summer and during school holidays.

3. Eco Cruises

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Location: The Esplanade, Cowes

Despite its small size, Phillip Island is blessed with an incredible variety of wildlife. The island is home to seals, penguins, and migrating whales throughout the year, all within the confines of its ruggedly beautiful coastline.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one way to explore the Island’s spectacular shores and extensive marine life, look no further than the Eco Boat Adventure Tour with Phillip Island Nature Parks.

The tour includes 90-minutes of high-speed cruising in a purpose-built vessel along Phillip Island’s photogenic coastline before pulling into a protected inlet, which is home to large numbers of boisterous fur seals.

Known to be curious by nature, the seals won’t be able to resist swimming over to greet the boat and checking out its occupants.

Beyond a friendly greeting, the seals are often seen putting on a playful show for guests, including ducking their heads in and out of the water and jumping over one another.

The tour also takes you to Nobbies sea-cave, shaped by centuries of waves crashing into the rocky embankments, before heading over to the Cat Bay National Surfing Reserve, famous for its longboard break.

As an appropriately exciting end to the journey, your experienced captain will give the Eco Boat a workout with a bit of wave running on the trip back in, finishing up at the jetty with plenty of time to make your way over to the Penguin Parade for a sunset viewing.

4. Antarctic Journey at Nobbies Centre

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Location: 1320 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands

Immerse yourself in a spectacular multimedia wildlife experience during your Antarctic Journey at Nobbies Centre, thanks to Phillip Island Nature parks and WWF Australia.

The attraction includes hands-on activities and state-of-the-art technology that takes you on an expedition to the world’s most extreme continent, Antarctica.

With multimedia displays and virtual interactive experiences, the Antarctic Journey at Nobbies is the perfect place for families looking for experiences that are both fun and informative, at a price they can afford.

With multimedia displays and virtual interactive experiences, the Antarctic Journey at Nobbies is the perfect place for families looking for experiences that are both fun and informative, at a price they can afford.

Attractions at the centre include the Lab, where you’ll be able to “Feel the freeze” in an Antarctic Chill Zone complete with thermal imaging, which compares your own thermal activity to that of an Emperor Penguin.

There is also a Sound Lab and Research Station where you’ll be exposed to the sights and sounds of Antarctic wildlife, including animal calls, Antarctic landscapes, ongoing research activities, and conservation values helping to bring the world’s most remote continent to life before your eyes.

As is often the way with exhibitions, Nobbies save the best till last with their stunningly unique ‘augmented reality’ technology, used to transport you to an ice floe, immersed in audio and visual stimulants that place you right in the heart of the action.

5. Koala Conservation Centre

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Location: 1810 Phillip Island Road, Phillip Island

If wildlife is your thing and you’ve been patiently waiting for a chance to see some Australian natives on the island, then Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Koala Conservation Centre is the place for you!

Offering a range of family-friendly activities and opportunities to explore Phillip Island’s rugged native bushland, the reserve provides possibly your best chance of spotting Australian wildlife on the island, while they enjoy the freedom of their natural habitat.

Stroll through the woodland forest along the boardwalk and come face to face with Koalas in their natural environment.

With two treetop boardwalks providing up-close koala viewings, the conservation centre also offers plenty of opportunities to get the binoculars out and spot your fair share of wallabies, echidnas, and colourful native birds.

The two boardwalks, the Koala Boardwalk and Woodland Boardwalk, each take around 20-minutes to complete, covering 800 and 600-metre loops respectively.

Suitable for all ages and fitness levels, the Koala Conservation Centre provides a perfect touch of nature to any Phillip Island itinerary, including plenty of opportunities to take some spectacular photos along the way.

6. Churchill Island Heritage Farm

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Location: 246 Samuel Amess Dr, Churchill Island

A piece of Victorian history, the Churchill Island Heritage Farm makes for the ideal place to enjoy a relaxing stroll through fragrant cottage gardens and freshly clipped grass, surrounded by a beautifully preserved glimpse into past lives of early Australian settlers and traditional farming practices.

Located on Churchill Island, just off the northeast coast of Phillip Island, the farm shares in an important piece of European settlement history, being the site of the first European agricultural pursuits in all of Victoria.

Farmed since the 1850s, all 57 hectares of this tiny island are now open to the public as an historic working farm.

A piece of Victorian history, the Churchill Island Heritage Farm makes for the ideal place to enjoy a relaxing stroll through fragrant cottage gardens and freshly clipped grass, surrounded by a beautifully preserved glimpse into past lives of early Australian settlers and traditional farming practices.

Boasting significant natural and cultural values, the island includes world-class wetlands, ancient Moonah trees, heritage gardens, and beautifully preserved historic buildings that have become increasingly desirable for weddings.

Be sure to catch the daily farming activities between 2pm and 3.30pm to see this historic site in action.

7. Phillip Island Circuit

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Location: Back Beach Rd, Phillip Island

Phillip Island’s very own Phillip Island Circuit plays host to a number of world-renowned events throughout the year, including the Superbike World Championship, Victorian State Racing Championship and the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

If your trip to Phillip Island is timed well enough to coincide with one of these events, be sure to secure your spot on the sideline and take in the sights and sounds of world-class riders and drivers as they whiz past on one of Australia’s most beloved tracks.

The circuit also gives visitors a chance to squish into some European SODI Go Karts for a spin around their scaled-down replica of the world-famous track, or take part in Hot Laps, a lightning fast ride around the actual circuit with an experienced racing driver.

The circuit also gives visitors a chance to squish into some European SODI Go Karts for a spin around their scaled-down replica of the world-famous track, or take part in Hot Laps, a lightning fast ride around the actual circuit with an experienced racing driver.

With a variety of options to explore the circuit, including tours, getting in the passenger seat, or getting behind the wheel on a replica track, the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit is one of the island’s must-see attractions for full-throttle motor-heads and casual fans alike.

8. The National Vietnam Veterans Museum

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Location: 25 Veterans Dr, Newhaven

A must-see for history buffs, particularly those with an interest in historical conflicts, The National Vietnam Veterans Museum is a beautifully preserved and presented a collection of items and exhibits from the Vietnam War (1955 – 1975).

Located at Newhaven, on the eastern-most side of Phillip Island, the museum incorporates two levels of fascinating photos, articles and artefacts, along with political cartoons and literature from the era.

Some of the standout exhibits include full-scale tanks and a variety of aircraft, including a former RAAF Huey A2-110 – complete with battle repair scars from the Vietnam War – and the iconic M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier.

Some of the standout exhibits include full-scale tanks and a variety of aircraft, including a former RAAF Huey A2-110 – complete with battle repair scars from the Vietnam War – and the iconic M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier.

Open daily from 10am to 5pm, with reasonably priced tickets and the option of a guided tour for an additional fee, the Museum is well worth a visit before you leave the Island.

9. A Maze'N Things

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Location: Phillip Island Road, Phillip Island

If you’re travelling with kids and have a flair for the unusual, A Maze'N Things is an award-winning park with plenty of charisma that provides a unique approach to keeping the whole family entertained.

The park offers anything from illusions and puzzles to mini golf, mazes, and the exciting Look Out! Slide.

This attraction is sure to guarantee a few laughs and hours of entertainment regardless of your age.

The high-quality attractions have been entertaining visitors both young and old since the park’s inception, providing guests with several hours’ of entertainment as they work their mind through the various challenges.

A Maze ‘n Things’ newest attraction, Magic Manor, includes a variety of interactive displays featuring illusions, magic rabbits, scare rooms, and mysterious caves among various other elements that are sure to leave you smiling, surprised and perhaps even astounded.

10. Cowes Beach

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Location: Cowes, VIC

Positioned in the middle of the island’s north shore, Cowes acts as Phillip Island’s commercial hub. Bustling with visitors from all over the world who have decided to take advantage of its wide range of accommodation options, Cowes is the largest accommodation hub on the island.

If you’re planning to stay on the island itself, Cowes makes for the perfect place to drop your bags and set up home base.

This seaside village is the perfect weekend escape from Melbourne by the beach. A perfect choice for those who are visiting the region to the see the Penguin Parade or are coming to experiencing the excitement of the Grand Prix racing.

This small coastal town is located within close proximately to all the best spots and experiences the island has to offer, meaning you’ll never be too far away from something to see or do.

Beyond its appeal as a holiday hub, Cowes is also home to one of the island’s most popular beach destinations; Cowes Beach. With a relaxing seaside vibe, this north-facing beach provides the ideal setting for picnics, swimming, water sports and sunbaking during the summer months.

The beach is also relatively sheltered from the wind and strong tides, making it less susceptible to poor conditions and great for families with young kids, providing you with the best chance of setting up a picnic on the sand to take a peaceful breather between activities.

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