Originally known as Woody Point, it is the major access point for those visiting Phillip Island as it lies directly across the bridge which joins the island and the mainland at San Remo. It is thus a popular day trip from Melbourne and, as such, it is well-equipped to supply the visitor with accommodation, restaurants and other facilities and attractions.

Where is it?: 124 km south of Melbourne at the road entrance to Phillip Island.

The Phillip Island Tourist Information Centre is located on the roadside just a kilometre west of the Newhaven bridge on the southern side of Phillip Island Road. It has been built to resemble one of the chicory kilns which still dot the island. The centre is open from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. daily with extended hours in the school holidays. Tickets can be purchased here for the Penguin Parade, Churchill Island, ferry cruises and scenic air flights. A Phillip Island Nature Pass covers entry charges to the Penguin Parade, Churchill Island, the Sea Rocks Sea Life Centre and the Koala Conservation Centre, tel: 1300 366 422. Barbecues, playgrounds and public toilets can be found in Richard Grayden Park on Forrest Ave.

Things To See and Do

Cape Woolamai: located at the tip of the island’s south-eastern peninsula, directly south of Newhaven. The turnoff into Woolamai Rd is on the left, 3 km west of the Newhaven bridge. It leads to a carpark at Woolamai Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. Woolamai Beach faces out to Bass Strait on the western side of the peninsula. It is considered one of the island’s best surfing beaches but it is known for its strong rips and currents so be sure to stay between the flags when swimming. Behind the beach, and to its south, is the Cape Woolamai State Faunal Reserve which features some dry coast scrub and some spectacular and rugged coastal scenery. The rocks of Cape Woolamai are home to around one million short-tailed shearwaters, otherwise known as mutton birds.

The Colonnades: At the northern end of Woolamai Rd there is a turnoff which heads south-west to The Colonnades – an unusual rock formation resembling organ pipes on the cliff face. It is best seen at low tide. You can also take a walk to the site by heading north from the Woolamai Surf Beach carpark along the western edge of the peninsula.

Fishing: Anglers can dangle a line off the jetty. They will find plenty of squid, snapper, channel whiting, gummy shark, flathead, King George whiting, flounder, Australian salmon, garfish, trevally and pike about. There is an all-tide boat ramp and a slipway. Fishing trips and boat charter services are offered by Flytrek Australia (tel: 03 5952 5300) and T-Cat Fishing Charters, tel: (0409) 504 974.

The Pinnacles Walk (4 km return) heads south from the shelter at the beach carpark along the western edge of the peninsula past some offshore rock formations known as The Pinnacles. The Cape Woolamai Granite Quarry Loop is a longer walk (8 km return) which also takes in the Pinnacles and the highest point on the island (109 metres) from whence there are excellent views. It passes Gull Island, offshore, and a secluded cove which was once a granite quarry employing 300 people. At the quarry wooden pegs were hammered into the rocks. These would swell when wet, thus cracking the rock.

Surrounding Area

Churchill Island: This tiny and historic island covers only 57 hectares. It is located offshore, just to the north-west of Newhaven. To get there take the signposted turnoff which heads north off Phillip Island Road just 1 km west of the Newhaven bridge. It takes you across a narrow timber bridge to the island. This bridge replaced access by longboat in 1961. Access is from 10.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. daily although passage across the bridge can be impossible during extreme high tide. Note that there is an entry fee, tel; (03) 5956 7214.

Forrest Caves: Continue west along Phillip Island Road. A little less than a kilometre west of the Woolamai Rd turnoff the driver descends a hill. A sign on the left declares ‘Forrest Caves’. There is a carpark and a dirt track which leads to the water’s edge and a series of steps which facilitate views of Forrest Caves – a series of large sea-eroded caverns which are best seen at low tide. The coastline here is home to another set of muttonbird rookeries. The birds are present between the end of September and April and they are best seen at dusk.

Surf Beach and Surfies Point: Nearly 2 km further west along Phillip Island Rd is a turnoff on the left into The Esplanade which heads out past a carpark associated with Surf Beach and Surfies Point. As their names indicate these are noted surfing spots. You can walk along the beach from the carpark to the back of the Surf Beach Estate. It takes about 45 minutes. Further east is Sunderland Bay.

The Australian Dairy Centre is located just over the bridge on Phillip Island Rd at Newhaven. It is a cheese factory with samples and sales of Australian cheeses and a dairy museum. There is a souvenir and gift shop and a cafeteria. The centre is open from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. daily, tel: (03) 5956 7583 or (0419) 576 638.

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