Visiting Phillip Island
By chance we found ourselves less than two hours from Phillip Island and its world renowned penguins! I love penguins so it was a no brainer that we would visit Phillip Island. We researched how to get there, booked an Airbnb and wrote a rough itinerary of things to do. The post will offer advice on how to get to Phillip Island, where to stay and what to do while on the island.
How to get to Phillip Island
We travelled from the Mornington Peninsula to Phillip Island which involved a lift to Stony Point and a ferry to Cowes on Phillip Island. We were really lucky that our host, the lovely Jahna, gave us a lift from Rye to Stony point. Otherwise we would have had to go up to Frankston and then get a train back down to Stony Point. The ferry costs $13.00 and takes around 45 minutes. The disembark port for Phillip Island is Cowes. You can get the full timetable and more information on the ferry here.
You can get to Phillip Island from Melbourne by Coach. We got the coach back to Melbourne, it cost around $12 and took approximately 3 hours. We got on at Wimbledon Heights, changed at Koo-Wee-Rup and disembarked at Central Station Melbourne. It was a comfortable but busy bus so get to the stop early! Full details about the coach are here.
Our accommodation on Phillip Island
We researched where we would stay on Phillip Island taking into consideration hostels, hotels and Airbnb. As usual Airbnb came up with the best value for money option for us. We booked to stay with the adorable Susie at Wimbledon Heights.
This Airbnb was one of the best so far. It was spacious, well equipped and came with breakfast! Susie was also really generous with her living space, movie collection and time. She has bikes for guests and when we discovered a flat tyre she rushed out and got it replaced. What a sweetheart!
The location of Susie’s house was a little bit inconvenient because Phillip Island has limited public transport (here’s more information about the bus) and we don’t have a car. We were quite happy to stay in at night and cook dinner but if you like to eat out or stay out late the pub accommodation in Cowes is probably best.
Things to do on Phillip Island
There is a lot to do on Phillip Island. From the famous penguins to chocolate tasting, Phillip Island has a lot to offer for such a small island.
The Penguin Parade
We visited the penguins on the only dry night we had on Phillip Island. We visited in December which is the start of the busy season for the penguins. During the busy season you should book your ticket in advance but you don’t need to in December.
You can buy entrance to various penguin experiences ranging from standard entrance at $23.80 to the ultimate adventure tour at $84.30. We opted for the standard ticket. With standard entrance you get access to the two main stands that approximately 50% of the penguins walk between. We arrived early so we got good seats. A “good seat” is near the water at the inside of the stand. The penguins come out of the sea and walk up between the two stands. When we were there the penguins arrived at 9pm and the weather was mild. I’d recommend taking a book and a hoodie to keep you warm and busy while you wait on the penguins.
We saw about 20 penguins arriving on the shore. We then walked back to the centre which is where the magic happens. The penguin’s nests are around the boardwalk so you get within a few feet of the penguins returning home to their young. It’s a great experience, I’ve never been that close to a penguin even at the zoo!
A note about the penguin parade is that you need a car to visit, we cycled there, it took over an hour and the roads are mainly dirt tracks with no street lights, this caused a problem with cycling back. We were stranded! Lucky for us our Airbnb host Susie came to the rescue and picked us up! She really saved the day.
Koala Conservation Centre
Since arriving in Oz we’ve been on the look out for Koalas so we were excited to visit the Koala Conservation Centre on Phillip Island. We spent a morning there watching Koalas on the board walks and having lunch in the small cafe.
We saw around 10 koalas during our visit and both “walks” offer ample opportunity to koala spot! We even got to see a Koala that was awake which is a rare occurrence since they sleep most of the day.
The centre seems well run and the rangers are friendly and knowledgeable. This attraction is well worth the $11.80 entrance fee.
Phillip Island Wildlife park
Jake is a web designer so I’ve learnt to apprieciate a good website, I’ve also come to notice when a website is bad and the Phillip Island Wildlife Park has a pretty poor website. This made me think the attraction might not be very good but we actually had a great morning there.
The entrance fee is $17.00 and you get a bag of food for the animals included in the cost. The lady at the reception was very welcoming and helpful.As soon as you leave the reception you are surrounded by animals. They have a good variety of typical aussie animals and some even roam around freely and you can feed them. It was amazing to be able to feed kangaroo and wallabies.
We spent about 4 hours at the park and we throughly enjoyed it. I’d highly recommend this place to animal lovers and families.
You can get more information about the park on their website.
Other attractions on Phillip Island
We only visited three of the attractions on Phillip Island but there are ample other things to do including seal spotting, Churchill Island and a chocolate factory. You can see more attractions here.
We loved visiting Phillip Island and getting to grips with all the Aussie wildlife, hopefully you will too.
Have you been to Phillip Island? Did you visit any of the other attractions we didn’t? We’d love to hear your review of the attractions and the island.