Phillip Island lies south of Melbourne and forms a natural breakwater to protect the shallow waters of Westernport Bay. It is a popular destination for day trips. Access from the mainland is via the bridge from San Remo to Newhaven. There are large colonies of Little Penguins and seals on the rocky outcrops. There are several other species of land and sea mammals that attract the 3.5 million visitors per annum. The Chocolate Factory and A Maze 'N puzzle theme park are popular attractions for visitors of all ages. The Phillip Island racing circuit has hosted World Championships and Grands Prix.
Every day at sunset, the Little Penguins in the colony on the Summerland Peninsula in the Philip Island Nature Park, walk along the beach from the sea to their sleeping areas. The colony is one of the largest in Australia. The first tourists began watching the parade in the 1920s. There are a number of options to view the penguins. General viewing is available on tiered seating on stands overlooking the beach and underground viewing is from a bird hide. Similarly, there are a choice of guided tours available. Access has been made easy for prams, wheelchairs and assistance dogs.
1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands, Victoria 3922, Phone: +61-03-59-51-28-00
2.National Vietnam Veteran's Museum
© National Vietnam Veteran's Museum
Vietnam was Australia's longest war. The NVVM has grown organically from the first personal donations to the current permanent displays. The Department of Veteran Affairs provided the initial funding. The museum was first housed in a garage on San Remo but as contributions flowed in the space filled. A complex of five shops was leased from 1999 to 2003. The museum decided to build its own premises near the airstrip on neighboring Phillip Island. The collection includes a tank, helicopters, uniforms and personal artifacts. The shop sells books, posters, badges, clothing and other memorabilia.
25 Veterans Drive, Newhaven, Phillip Island VIC 3925, Phone: +61-03-59-56-64-00
3.Panny's Amazing World of Chocolate
The chocolate factory is an extravaganza of tastes and smells. The entrance ticket is a chocolate and each visitor receives an additional free sample. There are animatronics, a model village and a beach scene made entirely of chocolate, a world map and the world's largest chocolate waterfall. Sculptures, statues and collages are all made out of chocolate. Visitors can test their skills at various games for chocolate prizes, they can make their own and watch the professionals at work. At the shop, patrons can eat, drink or buy presentation chocolates. School groups are welcome.
930 Phillip Island Rd, Newhaven VIC 3925, Phone: +61-03-59-56-66-00
The Nobbies are a number of small rocks that jut out of the sea at Point Grant and provide a resting place for the largest seal colony in Australia. They are close to the area where the Little Penguins parade. The Visitors Center is a three-story glass structure that affords panoramic views of the Bass Strait, the seals, bird life and the flowers in spring. There are interactive displays of sharks, seals, whales and other marine life. A boardwalk leads along the rugged coastline to the Blow Hole. Admission is free to the Nobbies. It is open from 11 am till an hour before sunset every day.
5.Phillip Island Circuit
Motor racing on Phillip Island began in 1928 with the 100 Mile Road Race through the gravel streets. The circuit was used as the home of the Australian Grand Prix until 1935. In 1956, local businessmen built a new track with steep gradients that were severely damaged during each race and had to be abandoned when repairs became too costly. In 1988 it was refurbished. The Australian Motorcylce Grand Prix and the Superbike World Championships were held at the new track. A 750 m replica has been built for go karting. At the visitor center, there is a display of the History of Motor Sport and a race simulator.
RMB 500GP Back Beach Road, Cowes, Victoria, 3922, Phone: +61-03-59-52-94-00
6.Wildlife Coast Cruises
© Nicolas Faramaz/stock.adobe.com
Wildlife Coast Cruises operates two 65-foot Catamarans and specializes in wildlife ecotours around Phillip Island. Tours focus on bird watching, marine mammals and coastal scenery. Pelagic birds are seasonal but all year round guests will see Silver Gulls, oyster catchers, terns, penguins and cormorants. Sea lions, seals, dolphins and whales are the mammals likely to be spotted. Cruises are also on offer to enjoy lunch with the captain, to take in the sunset or to visit the Peninsula Market. A pirate cruise is aimed at the younger sailors. There are discounts for groups and private cruises can be arranged.
11/13 The Esplanade, Cowes Vic, Phone: +61-03-00-76-37-39
© Loes Kieboom/stock.adobe.com
The Koala Reserve is a Philip Island Nature Parks attraction. There are two treetop boardwalks in the reserve that enable visitors to watch these shy creatures up close, in their natural habitat. The boardwalks are 600m and 800m long and take about 20 minutes to complete. They are accessible to prams and wheelchairs. Abundant bird life inhabits the woodland and there may be opportunities to see wallabies, bats and the egg-laying echidnas, Australia's spiny anteaters. The 6 ha of bush land has several accessible trails and there are interactive displays in the interpretive center.
1810 Phillip Island Road, Phillip Island, Victoria 3923, Phone: +61-03-59-51-28-00
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8.Maru Koala and Animal Park
This award-winning, family-run animal park is situated on the mainland, about 20 minutes' drive from Phillip Island. Keepers give presentations several times a day on various animals and topics. The park has snakes, kangaroos, koala bears, wallabies, dingoes and other species. Visitors can purchase food for the animals. Proceeds from the food sales go towards paying for the orphaned and injured animals that the park cares for. Other attractions include a Dinosaur indoor playroom and a mini golf course. Light meals and other refreshments are available at the bistro. The park caters for school groups and children's parties.
© Loes Kieboom/stock.adobe.com
Cowes is the commercial hub of Phillip Island. It was named after Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England. The roads in the town are named after villages on the Isle of Wight. Most of the houses belong to absentee landlords who live in cities on the mainland and use the properties as holiday retreats. Shopping and dining are highlights of a visit to Cowes. The yacht club is a short walk from town. The beaches are north facing with interesting rock pools. Boats can be hired for fishing or cruising round the island. Ferries leave from Cowes in several directions.
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10.A Maze 'n Things
© A Maze 'n Things
This theme park will baffle and amuse visitors for hours. On Puzzle Island, there is the shrinking room, the gravity room and a mirror maze. The illusions in the Magic Manor include flying chandeliers, a mysterious cave and magic rabbits. Visitors can make their own movie, play Maxi Mini Golf and test their skills in the 3D maze or the Sky Trail, an aerial obstacle course. The shop sells puzzles, board games, jigsaw puzzles and other toys. The café provides welcome refreshment. The park is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 5 pm.
1805 Phillip Island Rd, Cowes VIC 3922, Australia, Phone: +61-03-59-52-22-83
10 Best Things to Do in Philip Island, Victoria, Australia
- Penguin Parade, Photo: jovannig/stock.adobe.com
- National Vietnam Veteran's Museum, Photo: National Vietnam Veteran's Museum
- Panny's Amazing World of Chocolate, Photo: BillionPhotos.com/stock.adobe.com
- The Nobbies, Photo: leelakajonkij/stock.adobe.com
- Phillip Island Circuit, Photo: robsonphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Wildlife Coast Cruises, Photo: Nicolas Faramaz/stock.adobe.com
- Koala Reserve, Photo: Loes Kieboom/stock.adobe.com
- Maru Koala and Animal Park, Photo: Namchetoukla/stock.adobe.com
- Cowes, Photo: Loes Kieboom/stock.adobe.com
- A Maze 'n Things, Photo: A Maze 'n Things
- Cover Photo: Javen/stock.adobe.com