Melbourne is packed with hipster hangouts, top restaurants and is home to one of Australia’s most famous soaps. Neighbours anyone?
But once you’ve had your fill of its epic coffee shops, admired all of its cool street art and enjoyed several scenic strolls around the Royal Botanical Gardens, why not take a drive down the coast and hop on over to Phillip Island?
Located less than two hours from Victoria’s capital, it’s a seriously idyllic spot for a little sun, sea and surf…
So, what’s all the fuss about Phillip Island?
What if we told you this was a real paradise? Would you believe us? Paradise might be an overused word sometimes. But. This. Is. Paradise. And if you don’t believe us? Well you’ll just have to check it out for yourself.
It really would be silly not to take a detour to the paradise that is Phillip Island if you’re in the Melbourne area. So, don’t miss out! After all, it’s a major magnet for beach bums, nature lovers and sun-seeking celebs (the Hemsworth brothers are among its famous fans…)
For an island that’s only just over 100 square kilometres large, it sure packs a lot onto its serene shores! Ready to check it out? Here’s just a handful of things to look forward to during a day trip to Phillip Island.
One word: PENGUINS
Oh. My. God. Penguins in Australia. Yes you heard us right!
If you’ve always had a fascination with these cute, black and white, you’re in for a real treat on Phillip Island! That’s because it’s home to one of the biggest colonies of Little Penguins – the smallest and cutest species of penguin on the planet. Hands up if you just can’t contain yourself!
Penguin Parade is a must see – happening almost every night of the year, you’ll see hundreds of these little guys waddle up from the sea and into their beach burrows! To watch the little dudes in action simply head to the Summerlands Beach area on the island’s west coast. There’s a penguin watching platform for 180-degree views of the Parade. Fancy a VIP penguin treat? You can even sit on a secluded nearby beach with an expert for a once-in-a-lifetime, VIP experience.
Penguin Parade, 1019 Ventnor Rd, Ventnor VIC 3922
Can’t get enough of Aussie wildlife? See if you can spot some sleepy koalas
Penguins not enough? Need some more Aussie-animal action? Cuddly koalas just about do it?
The Koala Conservation Centre is an area of lush woodland where you can see koalas snoozing in their natural habitat. You can stroll down purpose-built raised walkways, checking the trees overhead for signs of these sluggish animals.
Want to learn more about their habitats? Check out the interactive displays in the visitors centre. You might even see some other native Aussie wildlife in the reserve, including wallabies, bats and various rainbow-coloured birds. You little ripper!
1810 Phillip Island Rd, Rhyll VIC 3923
Do you have a need for speed? Then don’t skip the Phillip Island Circuit
Avid follower of the Formula 1? Yes it might seem a bit bizarre given its beauty and laidback beach vibe, but Phillip Island is actually the location of one of Australia’s premier racetracks. The Phillip Island Circuit regularly hosts some fast-paced motor races, including the Australian Grand Prix and the Superbike World Championship!
If you want some fast action, don’t forget to check the circuit’s website before you go to see which events are coming up during your holiday. And even if there’s nothing going on, you can still take a tour of the famous track, try out the race simulators or even test your driving skills at the adjacent go kart track.
381 Back Beach Rd, Ventnor VIC 3922
Want to catch some waves? Surfs up at Woolamai Beach
Ready to ride the Aussie waves? Well, you’re in luck – Phillip Island is brilliant for surfing. In fact it’s a world class destination and was even made the first National Surfing Reserve in Victoria in 2013!
And where’s the top surfing spot? It’s all about the Woolamai stretch of coastline. As well as being a top locals’ haunt it’s also made up of breaks with fantastically whimsical names – think Magic Lands and Forrest Caves! Never ridden a wave before? You my friend are what they call a grommet down under – that’s a complete beginner to you and me. Well you might want to head further up the coast to Smiths Beach which has slightly gentler waves and some well-reviewed surf schools.
Woolamai Surf Beach, VIC 3925
And why not finish your day trip off with some seal spotting?
Ready for some more wildlife spotting? Phillip Island is where you’ll find Australia’s largest population of fur seals!
These loveable marine mammals are usually found at the Nobbies – a series of rugged headlands on Phillip Island’s western tip which are accessed via wooden boardwalks. Here you’ll find loads of viewing platforms where you can peer down at these silky sea creatures as they lounge around the rocks and splash around in the shallows.
The Nobbies is one of Victoria’s prime ecotourism attractions and the main visitors centre even has a cool exhibition on Antarctic journeys! Why not check it out?
The Nobbies Centre, 1320 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands VIC 3922, Australia
Getting to Phillip Island
Ready to make the most of Phillip Island? You’ll find it about 90 minutes away from Melbourne by road. To reach it, hop in your hire car and drive down the M1 towards Pakenham. Take the C422 exit towards Koo Wee Rup and after approximately 11km, turn left onto the M420 towards Phillip Island.
You then just need to stay on the M420 for 30km and then merge onto the Phillip Island Link Road. You’ll then reach the bridge connecting Phillip Island to the mainland in under 20 minutes.
Want to soak up even more of Australia on an epic driving holiday? Take a trip to the Hunter Valley wine region just outside Sydney or discover which exciting attractions are within 60 minutes of Perth. You might also want to check out our guide to driving around Australia – it’s packed with handy advice, especially for those hoping to explore the Outback…