Things To See and Do
Penguin Parade: Phillip Island is home to some of Victoria’s
most popular wildlife experiences. The most famous of these is the
Little Penguin Parade each night (entry fees apply; Bookings call (03)
5951 2800 within Australia, or +613 5951 2800 from outside Australia).
Tourists can also watch penguins at sunrise as they leave their burrows
and scamper down the ocean to feed. There are one-and-a-half hour
guided tours available for groups of up to 20, which take in a stroll
down to the ocean and then back up to the Visitor’s Centre for a
Make sure you book a place if you want to see the Penguin Parade as the
number of persons permitted into the viewing area each night are
limited, therefore you can’t be guaranteed entry unless you have
a booking. There’s no public transport when you get to Phillip
Island, so it can be tricky trying to get to the Penguin Parade from
the main township of Cowes, which is over 10km away.
Wildlife: everything from
koalas and kangaroos to fur seals can be seen at close range on Phillip
Island. The Nobbies Centre allows visitors to explore and discover the
secrets of the southern marine environment including seals, sharks and
dolphins via interactive displays and cameras that allow you to zoom in
and out on these marine creatures. Koalas can be viewed at the close
viewing area and tree-top boardwalk at the visitor Centre of the Koala
Conservation Centre (entry fees apply).
Conservation Hill and Rhyll Mangrove boardwalk overlook the Rhyll
wetlands and Rhyll Inlet, offering excellent bird watching
opportunities as well as hundreds of tiny crabs. Swan Lake nature trail
leads to the only permanent freshwater lake on the island and offers
viewing hides, to watch the lake’s bird life. Australia’s
largest colony of fur seals is located about 1.5km off shore at Seal
Rocks, which sit at the extreme westerly tip of Phillip Island. Seals
can be observed from the Seal Rocks Sea Life Centre at Point Grant but
charter cruises allow a more up-close view of these furry predators.
San Remo village is where the ritual of pelican feeding takes place
every day at 11.30 am. These enormous birds congregate daily on the San
Remo beach adjacent to the fishing fleet to receive their free meal.
Cape Woolamai, which features rugged granite cliffs and black basalt
outcrops, is home to Phillip Island’s largest colony of
Short-tailed Shearwaters, a migratory sea bird that arrive in the
thousands between November and April.
Wallabies, wombats, emus, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, koalas and other
native birds and animals are on display (mostly enclosed) at Phillip
Island Wildlife Park, 1 km south of the island’s main town of
Cowes. Not all are native to Phillip Island, however. The park displays
a broad cross section of Australia’s unique fauna (around 100
different species), and is a good place to see the most well known all
together in one place and up close. Each visitors gets a bag of food to
feed the kangaroos and wallabies that roam the grounds. The island is
also home to Mutton Birds, wallabies, wombats, possums, echidnas and
Coastal scenery: Phillip Island has some spectacular coastal scenery,
being exposed to Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean and boasts such
features as Cape Woolamai, the Blowhole, Seal Rocks, the Collonades,
The Nobbies, Pyramid Rock and the Pinnacles. As Phillip Island is 26
kilometres long and 9 kilometres wide, you will need either to be
travelling by car or on a coach tour to see much of it, since there is
no public transport.
Water sports: During the warmer months, the island offers plenty of
swimming opportunities with sheltered bay beaches and 26 wild surf
beaches. These are generally located towards the south coast of the
Island, facing the ocean (Bass Strait), while swimming beaches are
generally to the north, facing the bay (Western Port Bay). World
renowned Woolamai beach at Cape Woolamai is recognised as one of the
best surf beaches in the country. More sheltered swimming beaches are
located on either side of the Phillip Island Tourist Road Bridge.
Children’s Beach, another sheltered family beach, lies just
across the Tourist Road Bridge in San Remo. Fishing boats are available
for charter at San Remo and Rhyll, or you can try casting a line
yourself at the numerous well known fishing spots around the coast.
Phillip Island has several outstanding dive sites. Favourites include
the Pinnacle, a granite rock swarming with fish life, and Collins Cave
with its towering vertical walls, its swim-throughs and its profusion
of fish and crayfish. Night diving on a large wrecked ship is also