Things to do in Melbourne

The best day trips from Melbourne to Phillip Island

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Just 140 kms south-east of Melbourne dividing Western Port Bay and Bass Strait lies Phillip Island, a jewel surrounded by sea. The island is one of the most scenic natural hotspots in all of Australia and is known for its wildlife parks, nocturnal sight of penguins walking home, motorsport history and sandy, sun kissed beaches.The 2 hour journey from Melbourne to Phillip Island packs enough time for exploring all that the island has to offer, making for an ideal day trip destination. With feeding kangaroos by hand, enjoying the view of breath-taking coastal scenery and surfing in the tranquil beaches, a Phillip Island tour is just the escape you need.

Why You Must Take A Melbourne To Phillip Island Tour

melbourne to phillip island tour

Over 3.5 million people visit Phillip Island Nature Park annually and it has made a name for itself. It contrasts Melbourne’s busy and sophisticated lifestyle with idyllic seaside means of living. Beaches, birds and breathtaking natural beauty are what Phillip Island is made of. The water adventures are unparalleled by any other. Surfing is one of the top loved water adventures on the island with 4 sites along its coast to be recognised as a National Surfing Reserve for its pristine environment and quality breaks. It is only second to the famous Phillip Island Penguin Parade.

Drive over San Remo Bridge, which is not only the gateway to Phillip Island but a charming seaside town, a scenic start to your day. It is home to exciting activities like penguin parades, the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and a whole lot of Kangaroos. Catch spectacular views of the south coast of Victoria, traverse the many nature parks and trek the steep mountains of the Island on your day trip from Melbourne.

Phillip Island Tickets

Check out our collection of Phillip Island tickets - from Phillip Island tours and the Penguin Parade to the interactive attraction A Maze'N Things, and much more.

Phillip Island Attractions

Tour Itinerary- Top 9 Things To Do In Phillip Island

 phillip island penguin parade
1. Phillip Island Penguin Parade

You’ll witness hundreds of burrows as you pass by this part of the Island. Wondering why? They belong to the smallest of penguin species, the Little Penguins. These cute creatures are not more than 32 centimeters in height waddling together in colonies from the sea to their burrows. Catch this heartwarming sight as these penguins emerge from the waters to the safety of their homes. If this sounds interesting , visit Phillip Island Penguin Parade, Australia’s most loved attraction.

melbourne to phillip island tour
2. Churchill Island Heritage Farm

Churchill Island is 19th century farm in Western Port, Victoria connected to Phillip Island by a bridge. Learn farm activities such as whip cracking, cow milking, sheep rearing while you play with the working dogs, Clydesdale horses, highland cattle and baby animals. You can enjoy the farm activities from 1 PM to 3:20 PM. Checkout Churchill Heritage Farm with Phillip Island Nature Park Tickets.

melbourne to phillip island tour
3. Phillip Island Wildlife Park

Rush to the largest wildlife animal sanctuary in Phillip Island after your time with the farm animals. Spread across 60 acres, Phillip Island Wildlife Park is home to over 100 different species of Australian animals. Experience close encounters, hand feed and pat kangaroos and wallabies. Be amazed by the enormous birds such as emu and encounter various species of owls.

melbourne to phillip island tour
4. Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve

Begin your day at the southern coast of Victoria, a world-class destination with great surfing history. The Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve is the first of its kind in Victoria and the reserve comprises of four breaks, Woolamai, Smiths, Summerland and Cat Bay. Some are notable for their strong tidal waves, and others for their history and importance in providing safe breaks for the surfers of the future. A walk and swim at any of the beaches of the island also makes for a wonderful time.

melbourne to phillip island tour
5. The Nobbies Centre

This ecotourism attraction located at Point Grant, on the western tip of Phillip Island is a feast for the eyes with a great view looking out to Bass Strait. Get to experience Seal Rocks, The Nobbies and The Blowhole with a visit to the centre. With an estimated 16,000 fur seals inhabiting the area, the Nobbies Centre is home to Australia’s largest colony of fur seals.

melbourne to phillip island tour
6. A Maze'N Things

This unique theme park on Phillip Island is grand fun for friends and family. Get set for interactive displays, optical illusions, outdoor rides and attractions, a tricky maze, and outdoor activities like golf. Book A Maze'N Things tickets for a day full of entertainment and excitement.

melbourne to phillip island tour
7. Koala Reserve

Did you know that Koalas sleep up to 20 hours a day? Undoubtedly, their charm and sleeping hours are something to be jealous of. 13 injured Koalas during the devastating 2019 fires are being treated at Phillip Island Nature Parks. Spot Annie the koala, whose pictures went viral during the fires to see how she's recovering.

melbourne to phillip island tour
8. The Antarctic Journey

Take a virtual journey to the Antarctic. Learn about climate resilience, conservation and the ecosystem. This immersive experience is a joint initiative by Phillip Island Nature Parks and WWF Australia. Spend a fun day learning about sustainable seafood options and life at the research centre.

melbourne to phillip island tour
9. Phillip Island Cruise

You cannot visit a picturesque island and not take a cruise along the coast. Watch Dolphins and Whales play and swirl around your boat while you embrace the salty breeze. A cruise amidst the Australian waters is a cinematic experience you should not fail to catch. Phillip Island Whale Cruise and Phillip Island Dolphin Cruise provide long hours of this experience.

Phillip Island Weather- Best Time To Visit

The climate of Phillip Island is Mediterranean, moderated by a coastal location. The towns are crowded from the November to April as the island sees the peak in penguin numbers that waddle back to the shore.The island is less busy during the cooler months from May to September and the accommodations are reasonable. If you are travelling on a budget make sure you book tickets online to save a few dollars.

Recommended Phillip Island Penguin Parade Tickets

Check out all Phillip Island and Penguin Parade Tickets.

Melbourne To Phillip Island Tour- Day Trip Transport Options

Checkout Phillip Island Penguin Parade Tour that includes transders from Melbourne to Phillip Island and back for a smooth journey.

By Car
The journey from Melbourne to Phillip Island takes only about 2 hours by road. San Remo Bridge connects Phillip Islands to mainland Victoria and is only 120 Kms from Melbourne. Take the Monash Freeway (M1) to either South Gippsland Freeway (M420), Clyde Road (C407) or Koo Wee Rup Road (C422) exit. Follow the M420 and B420 sings to get to South Gippsland Highway over to Bass Highway to reach Phillip Island Road.
There is no car ferry to Phillip Island. If you wish to bring your own or rented vehicle, you must pass by the bridge at San Remo.

By Bus
Many buses from V/Line services run to towns in the Island including Newhaven, Cape Woolamai, Cowes from Melbourne and back. There is no direct bus to the island, hence the travel needs a change of bus at Koo Wee Rup and takes 2 hours to get to the bridge. The journey from there to the town gets around 20 to 25 minutes.

By Train
There is no direct train to the island from the mainland and hence will need a transfer via ferry or bus. If you prefer to take the bus, catch the train to Dandenong then take a V/Line bus to the Island. The bus journey from Dandenong to the Phillip Island bridge takes around one hour and 45 minutes, and a further 20 to 25 minutes to Cowes

By Ferry
If you want your make your travel more exciting, catch a suburban train from Melbourne to Frankston, then get to Stony Point from there. At Stony Point Jetty, board the Inter Island Ferries passenger catamaran which docks at the Cowes Jetty. The entire journey takes only about 2 hours.

By Air
If you are willing to spend lavishly on your experience you can also travel by air as Phillip Island has its own airfield. Facing the Phillip Island road at Newheavens are Phillip Island Helicopters who also offer charter services. In about 30 minutes you will be flown from a suitable landing location in Melbourne to Phillip Island.

Melbourne To Phillip Island Tour- Handy Tips For First Time Travelers

  • As the Island is visited by many travelers around the world, plan your trip on a weekday for solace and less tourist hordes.
  • Book your seats in advance if you wish to catch the Penguin Parade. If you don’t manage to snag the good seats, you may just see the shadow of the waddle.
  • Don’t miss out the gorgeous view from the lookout point over the famous blowhole along the Nobbies boardwalk.
  • As the island gets visitors in all seasons, make sure you book your hotel or townships in the town as early as possible.

Phillip Island Accommodation

Phillip Island Hotels

The shores and sands of this thrilling island need more than a day of yours to be explored. Hence, here are some of the people’s favourite hotels to take a break.

phillip island hotels
The Waves Apartments

Waves Apartments is one of the top-notch and most loved stays. They are bright, well-serviced apartments with a balcony overlooking the sea. They also have a courtyard and free parking for guests.

phillip island accommodation
Island Bay Ranch

Located in the centre of Phillip Island, Island Bay Ranch is a country-style stay combined with modern amenities. They have an excellent pool, a beach within walking distance, and beautiful views in the outdoor seating.

phillip island accommodation
Clifftop Boutique Accommodation

If you are looking for a hotel with more lux, Clifftop Boutique is one of the best picks with victorian style rooms within a glasshouse on the beachside.

phillip island accommodation
Glen Isla House

Glen Isla House is a heritage property with luxurious rooms, lovely gardens, and a back exit leading to the beach. The service is fabulous and the 1900’s setting makes for a peaceful and relaxing stay.

Phillip Island Restaurants

Where to eat

Here is a list of the top suggested of the Island restaurants by the locals as well as travellers.

 fish and chips
Cheeky Goose Cafe

Just as quirky as its name is the ambience at Cheeky Goose Cafe. The cafe offers a great selection of food including dietary options.
Must try - Calamari. Fish & chips

Eggs Benedict
MadCowes Cafe

A fine place for breakfast by the ocean with excellent service. MadCowes Cafe is located at Cowes and is a walkable distance from the shopping area.
Must try - Coffee, Eggs Benedict

 sea food
Rusty Water Brewery Restaurant

Rusty Water Brewery Restaurant offers dining and bar services. The food is exemplary and the service is great. A must visit for the evening with your loved ones.
Must try - Barramundi, hot duck salad

phillip island hotel
The Cape Kitchen

If you are in the mood for fancy dining, you must consider checking in The Cape Kitchen. Their ambience is calming and the breeze by the ocean makes it all the more wonderful.
Must try - Eggs Florentine, Cheese cake

Other Day Trips From Melbourne

Melbourne To Yarra Valley

Melbourne To Yarra Valley

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Recommended Experiences
Yarra Valley Full Day Gourmet Tour

Great Ocean Road Day Tour

Great Ocean Road trip

Travel the 243-kilometre stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. The overwhelming joy of driving along the sea has given the road its rightful name. Visit the picturesque seaside village of Anglesea and Lorne, and the Cape Otway Lighthouse. Drive through the Great Otway National Park and watch birds and koalas in their natural habitat. Skydive over the Great Ocean Road if the thumping of your heart gives you a kick. Float through the sky for 5-7 minutes and appreciate the views of Melbourne, the surfing mecca Torquay, and the golden beaches of Great Ocean Road from your aerial vantage point. With so much fun and adventure packed in one tour, this is an experience you’ll never forget.

Read More
Great Ocean Road Tour From Melbourne

Phillip Island Tour FAQs

All your Phillip Island questions answered

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Phillip Island Guide

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