Your guide to Phillip Island: attractions, activities, food, and accommodation

Wildlife Seal Cruise Phillip Island

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted June 27, 2022

Fairy penguins, wildlife cruises, wineries, bars, and bush. There’s plenty to see, eat, drink and do in Victoria’s Phillip Island. 

Just 90 minutes from Melbourne lies the world’s largest colony of Little Penguins. In Phillip Island, off the southern coast of Victoria, adults and children alike can indulge in a weekend of fun and activity, from a wildlife cruise to see the summer seals or winter whales, a chocolaterie with the world's largest chocolate waterfall, an Antarctic Discovery tour, or a frolic on the beach while feeding the pelicans at nearby San Remo. 

A popular beachside getaway for Victorians, Australians and international tourists alike, Phillip Island has long been seen as the ultimate escape. This holiday locale has plenty to do year-round, from coastline walks and seaside fun, to visiting natural wildlife and activities the whole family can enjoy.  

Whether you’re looking to visit during summer or winter, for a weekend or longer stay, here’s our guide on what to do, eat, drink, and where to stay in Phillip Island on Victoria’s southern coast. 

What to do in Phillip Island

Where to stay in Phillip Island

Those looking to go inland may look to stay around the main area of Cowes; which is home to restaurants, shops and activities.  

However, if you’re looking for more of a resort feel away from the hustle and bustle, the RACV Inverloch Resort is a leisurely 45-minute drive by the coast. Consisting of ocean views, an indoor pool and spa, a golf course, and a myriad of dining options, get the resort feel on your weekend getaway. 

Activities in Phillip Island

Visitors young and old, local and international will be enchanted by the variety of activities and things to do in this seaside town. 

Don’t let the idea of a beachside town make you think it’s sleepy – Phillip Island has so much to do, you’ll be hard-pressed to fit it all into one visit – and 3.5 million visitors each year agree.


See natural wildlife at the Phillip Island Nature Parks. 

Nature and wildlife

See the Little Penguins at their sandbar hangout 

Obviously, no visit to Phillip Island is complete without a visit to the Phillip Island Penguin Parade. With a Little Penguin colony of over 40,000 (and plenty more fun facts, like high divorce rates between penguins), head to the RACV Penguins Plus Viewing Platform at sunset to see the world’s smallest penguins in all their blue-feathered glory. 

Spot fur seals with a glass of vino 

Those who like their animal encounters up close and personal can consider a Wildlife Coast Cruise boat tour. With a serviced bar and snacks on tour, take to the seas and spot literally thousands of Australian Fur Seals up close as they bathe on rocks, splash about the seas, and may even come up to your boat to say hello!

Plus, over winter, take the opportunity to spot the world’s largest mammal on their Winter Whale Cruise.  

Nature hotspots

For day-trippers, take the whole family to one of the many Phillip Island Nature Parks adventure hotspots on the Island, from a visit to Churchill Island (including farming activities) to a climate and conservation journey at Antarctic Journey, or even patting the koalas and kangaroos at the Maru Koala and Animal Park. 

Land, sea, and sand 

Looking to take in all nature has to offer? There are several trails for those looking to get off the beaten track, from biking by the beach, hiking to Cape Woolamai, wandering the Western port wetlands, or bird watching at Rhyll Inlet.

Avid stargazers can also head to local lookouts for a chance at spotting the aurora australis or Milkyway over winter, or can head to the Bunurong Coastal Reserve near the RACV Inverloch Resort.  

Of course, don’t forget the beach! From watching pelicans frolic on the Cowes foreshore and Main Beach to hitting the waves at Surf Beach and Flynn’s Reef, there’s plenty of fun to be had spending the day on sea and sand. 


Wildlife Sea Cruise

Spot hundreds of seals up close on a Wildlife Coast Cruise in Phillip Island. Image: Jessica Taylor Yates. 

Attractions and experiences 

For the kids

Families will love a visit to A Maze N Things, an interactive museum that must be seen to be believed. 

If the weather calls for an indoor activity, head on down to the Tenpin Bowling and Entertainment Centre, which also encompasses laser tag, pool, table tennis, a playground, restaurant and bar, or Grumpy’s Crazy Golf - an enclosed indoor mini golf course that’s been standing almost as long as Phillip Island itself! 

Action and adventure

Thrillseekers can indulge in experiences on land and water, from go-karting, race car driving and helicopter rides to kayaking, fishing, boating, surfing and nature climbing. 

Of course, car enthusiasts will no doubt be excited for a visit to the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, home to both the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and World Superbike Championships.

Art and Culture

While there are plenty of adventures to be had, consider taking in the culture and history of this fascinating area at a range of galleries and exhibits in the area. 

Phillip Island is recognised as the Traditional Land and Waters of the Bunurong People, and their artworks can be viewed at the Mingara Gallery & Exhibition Spaces. 

Art aficionados can also consider heading on the Phillip Island and Bass Coast Artists and Creators Trail, featuring a range of artworks and galleries of mosaics, coastal scenes, timber sculptures, contemporary works and more. 


Phillip Island Penguins

The Phillip Island Penguin Parade is one of Victoria’s hottest tourist destinations. Image: Phillip Island Nature Parks. 

Where to eat and drink around Phillip Island

Phillip Island is home to dozens of decadent and budget-friendly restaurants, cafes, and pubs across the region.

For a snack, consider a stop by the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, and marvel at the 12,000-piece chocolate mosaic of Australia’s own Dame Edna Everage.

If you’re looking for something a little more up-market, enjoy seasonal produce at the Cape Kitchen. Guests of the Resort can also enjoy fine dining at the esteemed restaurant Radius, which features local wines and fresh produce to be enjoyed while taking in panoramic views of the idyllic coastline. 


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