When we toured Phillip island, we decided to stay back for a night. We had a long weekend and had the flexibility, but as tourist you would be thinking if a day trip would do or should I spend an extra night. Like we said before, it finally comes down to your interest, budget & time.
Phillip island is known for its penguins, not just one or two. You can see thousands in one place, that’s why there are so many tours operated to this small island. Its relatively nearer when compared to Great ocean road. Apart from the penguin parade, you have all the usual island activities.
Here is the catch!!
The Penguins normally arrive after the sunset & in summers, the sun set will be around 8.30 pm, which leave only 30 minutes for the tour operators to wind up and head back to Melbourne. If you have your own car, you can stay back till the Centre closes. Drive will take 2 hours to reach Melbourne.
How to get there?
There is a low cost option of using the public transportation to get to the island, but you need to get three to four connections and provided you have ample time. If you are renting a car, it saves you time & flexibility to stop at various spots.
V line services depart from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne’s CBD. The last stop is Cowes on Phillip Island, but it also stops at other towns on Phillip Island too before it gets to Cowes.
Things to Know before you go
Peak Season & Group Tourists:
December to February is the Summer season in Australia. Coupled with Christmas holidays, you can expect huge number of international tourists & inter-state travellers. Pros - Good weather & Longer daytime
Driving & time duration:
This is the shortest day tour you can take from Melbourne, the easiest one as well. You should reach Phillip island in 2 hours time. You can drive through some of the beaches across Mornington peninsula if you start early and then visit Phillip island
Food: You can find good restaurants, Fish & Chips, Pizza shops and supermarkets to buy from. It is not expensive. Cowes is the main strip across the islands whee
Fuel: If you are driving, try to fill up your tank in Melbourne. Fuel is cheaper in Metro Melbourne than regional victoria. You do have petrol stations on the way. Nothing to worry
Water: Tap water is Clean & safe. Do carry reusable bottles and refill it in cafe's or restaurants. Bottles will cost you 1~2AUD in a convenience store
Wifi & Mobile data: If you stop at any restaurants on the way, yes, there will be Wi-Fi. You will have no reception at certain points in the regional area. If you are here in Australia for more than 4 days, do get a Sim. It will be of so much value
You would have certainly read this somewhere before coming to Australia "It is home to some of the worlds dangerous Animals". Travelling into regional areas & national parks, do watch for the warning signs and be mindful of your surroundings. If you are near the seashore, check for the currents, signs of jellyfish & sharks. Do not go off the main roads, the cliffs are unstable at some places
There is a YHA in Newhaven, just near the bridge to access Phillip Island. You can hire bikes and surfboards! We stayed in an AIRBNB accommodation. It is always a good idea, economical if you are sharing and you get to interact with a local
Things to do in a Day in Philip Island
Start the day by visiting the Chocolate factory, this was a different experience for us. You can see what is exactly happening inside a chocolate factory! There are so many fun games & activities, you can win chocolate prizes. Our favourite was the chocolate waterfall
The Chocolate factory is located just at the entrance of the island, you will not miss it
Cowes beach & red rocks, arguably the calmest beach in Philip island. It also has the red colored rocky area, good for taking pictures. Mostly its relaxing and having a swim. Woolmai beach is known for surfing, but we preferred the cowes
Nobbies, At the southwest point of Phillip Island you’ll find the Nobbies, a rocky outcrop where thousands of sea lions have made their home. You can’t see the seals from here, but you can walk along the boardwalk to catch some fantastic coastal views
A Maze N things, we didn’t have the time to try this. But its something different to do than just sightseeing.
Highlights of penguin parade
We did pre book our tickets as we were sure of doing this irrespective of the weather. Come on, how often do you get a chance to see penguins, coming in huge numbers. The Gallery fills up so quickly, people try to get the front row seats
In summer/winter, penguins will return to their homes during sunset. You will have to wait till 8.30pm during summer & 5.30pm during winter
Even if you don’t get the premium seats doesn’t matter, after 30 minutes or so, 80% of the people leave the area. They’ll be a part of the large tour group or da trips from Melbourne.
Do not pay extra to upgrade your seats. It is not worth.
After 30 minutes or so, move towards the walkways where you can see all the penguins returning to their home at a metre distance. This is the closest you can get.
Interested in staying overnight?
There are so many Airbnb’s to choose from. We loved or stay in Phillip island. Have your morning breakfast, explore the mornington peninsula while returning back to Melbourne.
You can spend half a day in Peninsula hot springs, spot Wild kangaroos & Visit the beaches along Mornington peninsula
Peninsula Hot Springs
Conclusion & Our Recommendation
You can easily spend 2 full days in Phillip island. Many activities to do and lots to see. If you are on tight schedule, you can skip Phillip island
Our Recommendation is definitely to stay overnight if time permits
Our Recommendation: Optional