Destination Guide: Phillip Island
Phillip Island offers an island getaway with a twist, blending plenty of family-friendly attractions with stunning scenery that makes for picture-perfect memories to last a lifetime. Find out more about this enchanting destination, which has plenty of holiday accommodation just waiting to be enjoyed.
About Phillip Island
Phillip Island is located off the coast of Victoria, and has a rich Indigenous history that residents and visitors still honour today. The traditional owners of the land are the Boonwurrung people, and their descendants continue to live in greater Melbourne, taking an active role in maintaining their culture and heritage, including that of Phillip Island.
While Phillip Island was initially fairly isolated due to its separation from the rest of Australia, a ferry service in 1878 kick-started the island's tourism industry. In the 1880s the guest house era began, with visitors able to hire horse drawn vehicles to explore the scenic beaches on the island. This period boomed in the 1920s-1950s, when tourists could stop off at Strawberry Farm to dine on fresh fruit. Initially it was the burrowing mutton birds at the southern side of the island that attracted attention, but by the 1920s the return of the penguins at Summerland Beach ensured all eyes were on these quirky creatures.
Car and bike racing took off in 1928, with the island's dirt roads providing the perfect circuit. Major races including the Australian Grand Prix were held here for a time, before the unsealed roads became too much of a problem. In 1933 a car ferry began running and a bridge was opened in 1940, further increasing the number of tourists visiting the area annually. This motor racing heritage is still celebrated on the island today.
Enjoy motor sports of your own when you take to Phillip Island on a motor cycle. Trike and Bike Rides offers a thrilling way to see the island, giving you the chance to hop aboard a Harley's trike and enjoy a safe, accredited tour in the open wind. Stop for a picnic lunch as you take in views of the coastline, and enjoy top of the line safety mechanisms like helmets, wet weather jackets and gloves.
Step things up on the Phillip Island Circuit, which hosts huge motor racing events each year, including the World Superbike Championship, MotoGP and V8 World Supercar Series. Time your visit to coincide with one of these massive international events, or simply visit the track and enjoy some racing of your own.
Hop aboard a Champ Kart on a 760 metre scale replica of the Grand Prix circuit to race against your loved ones in a safe, controlled environment. Overlook the Bass Strait as you cruise around the track, and receive a personalised lap time print out to compare your results at the end of the race. Motor sport enthusiasts can enjoy a Hot Lap lightning ride around the Grand Prix circuit with an experienced racing driver, with safety ensured by a 5 point harness and a race-prepared vehicle. Reach peak race speeds and experience the thrill of being let loose on the track.
You can also enjoy a guided circuit tour which runs daily at 2:00 p.m., giving you access to exclusive areas including the control tower and race control which broadcasts the circuit's CCTV system. You'll also get to enter the media centre, pit lane and the winner's podium.
Phillip Island is known for its penguins, and at Penguin Parade you'll get to see these little guys in action. Head to the visitor centre to explore interactive displays and learn more about the island's penguins, and make sure you're there at sunset to see the small creatures make their way home. The Summerland beach's penguin colony is full of burrows where the furry friends rest during the day, in one of the largest penguin colonies in Australia.
Stroll the clifftop boardwalks at Nobbies Centre to spot Australian fur seals and migrating whales, or stop before the Penguin Parade entrance at Swan Lake to spot beautiful birds in their natural habitat.
The Koala Conservation Centre gives you the chance to witness one of Australia's most beloved creatures in its natural environment. The woodland boasts treetop boardwalks to provide unique views of these animals, along with a fresh perspective on the natural wetland area. If you're lucky you can even see koala joeys take their first trips out of their mother's pouches, providing plenty of adorable photo opportunities. A Koala Eco-Explorer Tour, led by a ranger, gives guests the chance to discover more information about these creatures. You may also spot wallabies, echidnas, possums and snakes living in harmony in this stunning habitat.
Take the kids to roam around Amaze'n Things, a bright and brilliant world of optical illusions, puzzles and mazes. There's a Puzzle Island extension with activities and interactive exhibits for the kids to enjoy. Check out the Mirror Maze, Illusions Room, Rotating Room and the Southern Hemisphere's highest indoor vertical slide.
The park boasts the country's biggest three-dimensional timber maze and a 19-hole maxi mini golf course, which has to be seen to be believed.
Fuel up at Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, where Panny's Amazing World of Chocolate celebrates all things sweet. Make your own chocolate, stop in at the on-site cafe for lunch and then stock up on delicious handmade Belgian treats at Panny's Chocolate Shop. Guests are welcomed to the factory with a secret recipe white truffle, setting the scene for the deliciousness to follow.
Families and groups can take time out at Phillip Island Tenpin Bowling and Entertainment Centre, which offers bowling and lazer strike to the young and old. The eight-lane bowling alley is open all week from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., providing the perfect wet-weather or late-night adventure. There are also pool tables, air hockey and table tennis to keep you entertained for hours.