Located 140km South East of Melbourne, Phillip Island is a tourist Mecca suitable for a wide variety of activities. Part of the Bass Coast Shire, the Island has a land mass stretching 26km in length and 9km in width. Here we briefly describe some of the most popular tourist attractions of Phillip Island. Apart from these, Phillip Island also has its beaches, lookout points and beautiful little towns.
Phillip Island Nature Parks was created in 1996 and comprises over 1,805 hectares of Crown Land set aside under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978. Phillip Island promises visitors some magnificent coastal scenery and diverse wild life. The island is frequented by bush walkers, rock climbers, fishing enthusiasts, fossickers, natural historians, bird watchers and holiday makers. At no other part of Australian Coastline, it is possible to see seals, Penguins, Mutton birds and Koalas within such a small area and such a close range. There are fine wide sandy beaches for surfing and bathing.
Newhaven is the first township reached after crossing the bridge and the information centre is located there.
A Maze’N Things
Address: 1805 Phillip Island Road, Cowes
A Maze’N Things is an attraction designed for Children, but suitable for all ages. It has different sections like Puzzle Island, Magic Manor, Maxi Mini Golf, Sky trail and The Maze. Puzzle Island is mostly based on Mirror illusions and puzzles to keep the children engaged, while magic manor is mostly about interactive magic illusions.
Churchill Island Heritage Farm
Address: 246 Samuel Amess Drive, Churchill Island
This was the site of one of the first agricultural pursuits in Victoria by the European Settlers. This is still a working farm and the restored farmhouse and cottage offers a glimpse back to the past. The Island is connected to Phillip Island by a narrow bridge. The main attraction here is the homestead built by Amess family who held the island from 1872 to 1929.
The European history of Churchill Island began in 1801, when Lieutenant James Grant landed here during the survey of Western Port. His convict crew built a small wooden structure here. This was the first documented European structure in Victoria. The crew also planted seeds of wheat, corn, potatoes, peas, coffee berries, apples and other edible crops. The seeds were given by John Churchill, Esquire, of Dawlish, in the country of Devon in England, when the vessel Lady Nelson left England for the exploration, telling the commander of the vessel, “to plant them for the future benefit of our fellow men, be they country men, Europeans or savages”. The Island was named after John Churchill. This is an important place in the history of European settlement in Victoria. Churchill Island changed many hands before Sir John Knott, chairman of the newly formed Victoria Conservation Trust, convinced Mr. Alex Classou of Patra orange juice fame to sell it to the Government of Victoria in 1976.
Churchill Island is closer to the eastern side of Phillip Island nearly connected with mangroves, surrounded by mudflats. Today the island is a popular tourist attraction and visitors take a stroll through the coastline and the cottage gardens. The Homestead that was built in 1872 is preserved for future generations. Visitors can take a ride in the coach at the gardens, see the majestic West Highland Cattle and join the Farm demonstrations including sheep shearing, whip cracking and cow milking, which are held each afternoon. Churchill Island is considered as a good venue for public, corporate and private functions. This is also a popular wedding venue.
Koala Conservation Centre
Address: 1790 Phillip Island Road, Cowes
The Koala population in Australia is currently under great threat of extinction due to habitat destruction. The Koalas were first introduced to Phillip Island in the 1870’s and the population grew quick to an extend that 3000 Koalas were removed from the island in 1978. By the mid 1980’s, the Koala population declined substantially due to habitat loss, human interference and spread of diseases. This lead to the establishment of Koala working group in 1985 and Koala conservation centre in 1991. The Koala Conservation Centre was opened to public in 1992. The aim of the centre was to protect an area of habitat, so a population of Koalas could live and breed safely and provide the visitors with an opportunity to view them in their natural habitat.
The Eucalyptus woodland here provides habitat for many types of animals. Swamp wallabies are often, and echidnas are occasionally seen here. Possums and bats are more commonly seen at night.
The visitor can watch the Koalas, walking along the treetop boardwalks. These elevated boardwalks will bring the visitors closer to the treetop. The Centre also has a native bushwalking trail. Inside the ticketing office there is an informative display about Koalas explaining types and life stages of Koalas. A gift shop and café are also located there.
Phillip Island Wildlife Park
Address: 2115 Phillip Island Road, Cowes
This is one of the best attractions in Phillip Island. It is a must visit location and home to some of the friendliest birds and animals in Southern Hemisphere. Set on nearly 60 acres of land, this wildlife park is home to nearly 100 different species of Australian animals.
Visitors can hand feed and have close encounters with the wildlife. Kangaroos and Emus, black swans, Cape Barren Goose and the Wallabies are at the park in a free-range environment, where visitors can pat them and feed them. Many species of birds most of them overly friendly, including a Little Corella that will say hello if you walk past him are some of the attractions of the Park. The park will prove to be a unique experience for both the children and the adults.
National Vietnam Veterans Museum
Address: 15 Veterans Drive, Newhaven
This is one of the least visited Phillip Island attractions. An unnecessary war of extreme cruelty inflicted upon the ordinary citizens of Vietnam. A war, Australia had to be a part of, due to its strategic alliances. The Museum seeks to remember, interpret and understand the experiences of the veterans of the Vietnam conflict and the enduring impact of the war on society. It has a good number of collections of Vietnam war artefacts with detailed information and imagery.
The museum will be a good experience for anyone interested in Australian war history.
Address: 1320 Ventnor Road, Summerlands
Nobbies Centre is home to interactive Antarctic Journey, which is designed for children. Adult only groups may not find it worth the ticket price. But the clifftop boardwalks which is free gives spectacular views of the Nobbies and the seal rocks. The Seal Rock is Australia’s largest fur seal colony. coastal wildlife cruise from Cowes Jetty takes visitors within meters of the seals, enabling to witness them in their natural environment. From Nobbies Centre, only the rock formation is visible and not the seals.
There is a cafe and a gift shop at the Nobbies Centre. Opening hour and ticket prices are available from their website.
Address: 1019 Ventnor Road, Summerlands
Penguin Parade is what ensured Phillip Island an important place in Australia’s tourism map. Most of the visitors to Phillip Island head for this attraction, which makes it important to pre-book during peak seasons. Every night of the year, during sunset, these little penguins (Fairy Penguins) waddle up to the beach to their homes in the sand dunes, after a hard day of fishing.
It is an amazing opportunity to view the smallest penguins in the world in their natural habitat. The sight of the penguins marching up the shore and watching them at close range are heart-warming. Fairy Penguin is a little flightless bird that breeds on the island.
Address: Pyramid Rock Rd, Ventnor
Pyramid Rock at Phillip Island is where columns of basalt shaped like a pyramid emerge from a platform of granite. It is located east of Nobbies. From the carpark follow the coastal cliff top track from Berrys beach to reach the viewing platforms.
Phillip Island Chocolate Factory
Address: 930 Phillip Island Rd, Newhaven VIC 3925
In this chocolate factory, the entire process of Chocolate making is sequentially displayed from harvesting of Coco to the finished product, which makes it educational for children and adults. There is a Chocolate waterfall where around 400kg of molten chocolate cascade down slowly. An impressive life size statue of Michelangelo’s David and a mosaic of Edna Everage will catch anyone’s attention. There are many interactive plays to engage the children. There are machines with buttons to push and levers to pull, games of skill, lots of chocolate exhibitions and attractions and a unique hands-on chocolate making device where you create your own chocolate masterpiece that travels along a conveyor belt and is delivered to you, ready to eat.