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Things to do in Phillip Island: Your Ultimate Guide

Escape the city for a taste of island life, with the best things to do in Phillip Island.

Isola Di Capri

Just a short 90-minute drive from Melbourne, Phillip Island is the perfect destination for a weekend away. There are an abundance of fun things to do in Phillip Island, and far more than its given credit for. While the incredible motorcycle Grand Prix circuit and its adorable penguin community are well known, those aren't the only two things to do down on the island. From exploring stunning beaches and coastal hikes to indulging in the exquisite local food offerings, there are plenty of both paid and free things to do in Phillip Island that will have your day full. There's enough to keep anyone coming back weekend after weekend.

So, if you're craving a weekend by the coast where you can switch off and unwind, this is the place to do it. Helping you make the most out of every minute, our trusty guide has you covered with the best things to do in Phillip Island. 

Things to do in Phillip Island: Explore

Cape Woolamai

Hike Cape Woolamai

Head to Cape Woolamai to check out one of the most popular surf beaches in Australia and to take in the scenery. Cape Woolamai is known to have some of Phillip Island's most popular walks, and is home to the Pinnacles Lookout. If you’re feeling adventurous, head out on a coastal hike along the pink granite cliffs to the top of the cape, where you’ll get a picture postcard view back along the sparkling coastline. The full circuit is approximately 8.5 kilometres, and takes around three and a half hours to complete, so strap on your hiking shoes!

Cape Woolamai is also one of the most famous surf beaches in the country. While it isn't recommended that regular beachgoers swim in these waters, experienced surfers can catch some large waves (but this beach isn't for the faint-hearted!).

Summerland Beach

Laze about Summerland Beach

Summerland Beach isn’t only a place for quirky animal encounters - although we adore the Penguin Parade - it’s also one of the most picturesque beaches on the island. It’s a famed surfing spot that introduced surfing on the island in the 1920s, and thanks to its flat sandy bottom, it’s also a haven for swimmers. 

Ocean Adventures Phillip Island

Jet Boat Action with Ocean Adventures Phillip Island

Ocean Adventures Phillip Island is all about fun, safe and personalised adventure-based activities for families, couples and travellers alike. It's beauty lies in its ability to highlight some of Phillip Island's most majestic scenery. 

Fun fact: The Ocean Adventures Drift Jetboat Tour and Thundercat racing boat experience are the only vessels of their design operating in Victoria. Tours Depart from headquarters in San Remo.

180 Marine Parade, San Remo

Learn some history at Churchill Island Heritage Farm

Churchill Island sits just off the shore of Phillip Island but holds a special mark in the area’s history. It was the site of the first European agricultural pursuits in Victoria and is now a historic working farm with a restored farmhouse and cottages that gives visitors a glimpse into the early lives of Australian settlers. You'll bear witness to activities such as cow milking, blacksmithing, sheep shearing and working dog demonstrations, as well as meet the horses, cattle, and other farm animals. It's the perfect outing for the family!

246 Samuel Amess Drive, Churchill Island 

Nobbies Centre

Head on an Antarctic Journey

Facing out onto the Southern Ocean, Nobbies Centre features an interactive experience for all the family. The multimedia installation will take you on a real-world sensory trip across the Antarctic, all the way to the great southern continent. An augmented reality feature can also show you standing on an ice sheet petting a penguin or stroking a seal. 

320 Ventnor Road, Summerlands 

Wildlife Coast Cruises

Sail off Into the Sunset

Cruise into a Western Port Bay sunset aboard the beautiful 19-meter vessel, the ‘Kasey Lee’ with a Phillip Island Sunset Cruise. The perfect way to end your day, admire a cocktail of colours painted across the sky and enjoy the twilight views as the island comes to life. As your boat sets sail, grab a drink of choice from the fully licenced onboard bar to get your evening started and savour a complimentary selection of nibbles while cruising Phillip Island’s balmy seas. Departing from the stunning Cowes Jetty, your sunset cruise takes you on a unique tour through turquoise waters to the historic Sandy Point – one of the area’s most scenic stretches.

From $65 per person

11-13 The Esplanade, Cowes

Phillip Island Helicopters

Reach New Heights With a Helicopter Tour

Phillip Island is a world to discover by land – and by flight. Soaring high over one of the most breathtaking landscapes in Victoria, take a scenic flight over crystal clear waters, stunning sandy beaches and a myriad of marine life to reveal all its beauty at once. See Cape Woolamai, Seal Rocks, the Australian Grand Prix track, Summerland Bay (home of the Penguin Parade) and miles of gorgeous coastline. Offering a variety of tours, Phillip Island Helicopters feature everything from short joyrides to longer scenic tours soaring above the region’s most iconic landmarks.

From $130 per person

1 Veterans Drive, Newhaven

Watch the Playful Penguins

Each night at sunset, the colony of little penguins come to shore after a day out fishing in the ocean – and believe us, there’s nothing better than ending your day watching these majestic creatures march their way into shore. The main penguin parade viewing area is at Summerland Beach and has tiered seating, providing a breathtaking 180-degree view of the beach below. There's also the Penguin Plus experience and underground viewing platforms for a close-up view. 

Summerland Beach

Island Foreshore Market

Cowes Island Foreshore Market

Between October and June on an assortment of dates, you can catch the Island Foreshore Market from 3pm to 9pm. This market is a joyous affair, filled with small businesses selling their homemade goods including jewellery, candles, clothing and more. You can also enjoy live music from local bands and artists throughout the night - just pick up a bite to eat from one of the food trucks and go sit on the grass in front of the stage to watch!

3.00pm to 9.00pm

Various dates, see website for details

The Esplanade, Cowes

Things to do in Phillip Island: Eat

Pino's Trattoria

Pino's Trattoria

Tucked away from the main street in Cowes, you will find one of Phillip Island’s best known Italian restaurants. Pino's Trattoria is an institution that has been serving locals and tourists alike for the past 30 years. They serve up simple and honest Italian food, and are known for the best pizza and pasta in town. They also make a mean Italian aperitivo! Bring your family and friends to Pino’s, for lunch through late night dinners; you'll instantly be smitten by the beautiful piazza area outside.

Sitchu Tip: Not just for dine-in, takeaway meals are also available.

29 Thompson Avenue, Cowes

Isola Di Capri

Run by the Fumagalli family, this popular island restaurant has been serving up quality Italian food – along with its adjoining gelateria – for over 27 years. The restaurant is BYO, which makes it a wonderful place for celebrations, and is the perfect place to enjoy, antipasti, pizza or pasta, all year round.

2 Thompson Avenue, Cowes



Kelp is a small, warm and vibrant cocktail bar and eatery dreamed up by a young local couple determined to bring something different to town. Their evolving menu is ideal for anyone, ranging from burgers and tacos to small and large share plates. You'll find inspiration from all things Americas throughout their menu, from Canada all the way down to Chile, with big flares of the centre piece - Mexico.

​Drinks wise, there are 4 beer taps and an extensive (and delicious) cocktail list, to ensure there is something for everyone. 

141 Marine Parade, San Remo

Phillip Island Chocolate Factory

Phillip Island Chocolate Factory

This factory isn't just for kids. If you're a sweet tooth, the café and restaurant at the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory showcase the best chocolates around. Head chocolatier Panny will tantalise the taste buds with a selection of sweet treats, including his famous chocolate fondue. You can also indulge in hours of chocolate-making fun – there’s even a chocolate waterfall and a hands-on chocolate-making machine. Tempted, much?

930 Phillip Island Road, Newhaven 

Things to do in Phillip Island: Drink

Ocean Reach Brewing TapHouse

Ocean Reach Brewing TapHouse

Ocean Reach Brewery is one of the first brewers to actually brew their handcrafted ales and ciders on the island. The golden nectar is brewed and poured at their brewpub in the centre of Cowes in a compact operation. The owners have a special philosophy: “made on the island, for the island”, using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients, combining them with a passion for craft beer.

47 Thompson Avenue, Cowes 

Grenache Wine Bar

Grenache Wine Bar

Also located in the heart of Cowes is the Grenache Wine Bar, a one-stop shop for wine lovers. The cellar door/wine bar space has an elegant atmosphere lovingly created by local owners Jerome & Shelley. Depending on the weather, you can take a seat at the front windows and watch the street go by or hunker down at the back by the fireplace. Taste some wines from their impressive local and international list, or sip on quality gin. Grenache Wine Bar also has an evolving food menu, so there's always something new (and delicious) to try when you visit. 

55a Thompson Avenue, Cowes 

Phillip Island Winery

Gippsland is fast becoming known as one of Australia’s premier wine regions, so whilst visiting the island, why not stop into the Phillip Island Winery, where food, wine, and a little extra are all on the menu? The exquisite cellar door has wines and ciders available for tasting and to take away. While you’re there, be sure to visit ‘The Yards’ – the island's go-to florist.

414 Berrys Beach Road, Ventnor 

Things to do in Phillip Island: Relax

Island Days (Image Credit: Visit Melbourne)

Treat Yourself at Island Days

Island Days, set on a gorgeous private property in Silverleaves, prides itself on a local and eco-based philosophy that provides guests space to “disconnect to reconnect”. Their bespoke packages offer a plethora of customisable experiences from luxury spa treatments and meditation to luxe picnics complete with local wine and grazing plates. Whether you’re a couple looking to dial up the romance or heading away with the girls for the weekend, Island Days’ all-encompassing Rolodex of experiences will have you instantly feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.


Cowes Beach (Image Credit: IG @getawayglamping_au)

Spend a Relaxing Day at Cowes Beach

What better way to unwind and reset than reading a book on the beach while you soak up some sun and hear the waves calmly lapping against the shore? If you're looking for free things to do in Phillip Island that will guarantee you a good time, we recommend grabbing your current read and laying your beach towel down on the sand and having a good ol' beach day.

If all that relaxing has started to work up an appetite, you can take a stroll along the sand to the jetty, where you'll find a cafe and bar offering coffee, foccacias, Spanish tapas and paella.

her. Skin & Day Spa

Have a Self-Care Day at her. Skin & Day Spa

Is it really a holiday if you haven't treated yourself to a self-care day? her. Skin & Day Spa was the first luxury day spa in Phillip Island, and the beauty and spa therapists that work there deliver luxurious treatments that will have you in a complete state of zen. Take a trip to the day spa or give your skin some TLC in the skin clinic before heading into their infrared sauna.

2/15 The Esplanade, Cowes

Things to do in Phillip Island: Stay

Five Acres 

Nestled amongst rolling farmland with uninterrupted sweeping views over Western Port Bay, sit three standalone luxury cabins, all exquisitely crafted to provide the ultimate coastal retreat. The Cabins at Five Acres offers guests an unprecedented luxury experience on Phillip Island. Each cabin has been beautifully designed and carefully curated with individual personality.

Soak in the view from the handcrafted concrete outdoor bath, and cosy up by the log fire and indulge in delicious grazing platters with locally made wine. Unwind in stunning'll never want to leave!

46 Mchaffies Lane, Ventnor

Marlin Beach Front 

Take it easy at this unique and tranquil getaway on Phillip Island, where guests can enjoy spacious rooms and stunning ocean views. A mere two-minutes walk to the beach, Marlin Beach Front is exactly as it says on the tin - and you and your family will be all the better for that salty fresh air experience!

1 Marlin Street, Smiths Beach

Sheltered Glamping

Situated on a 10-acre property just minutes away from one of the most pristine beaches on Phillip Island, The Sheltered Glamping Co. provides a unique experience for you to escape the daily grind, with the perfect mix of sustainability and luxury.

Perfect for couples, solo adventurers or families, they have a range of bell tents, a safari tent and mini safari tent onsite, all with private shower and toilet facilities. Their tents are fully furnished with bespoke furniture made here on the island and come with warm lighting, heating/fans and tea and coffee making facilities.

493 Berrys Beach Road, Ventnor

Sault Phillip Island 

Authentic, restorative and nurturing, Sault is the perfect Phillip Island stay. Let it wind you back in time to vinyl tunes and mid-century design, to long days and starry nights, to barbecues and sunset skies. Gather with friends, escape the daily grind, connect with nature, slow down, unwind. Sheer bliss, epitomized.

Cowes, Phillip Island

House on the Hill. Image credit: Riparide

House on the Hill

A luxurious and spacious couples retreat with unparalleled panoramic views, House on the Hill is where you get to relax in complete privacy knowing that you are the only villa and guests set amongst an olive grove. Set within 1000 + olive trees, with reaching views from every window and complete privacy on offer, the villas luring effect is set to impress any couple escaping hectic lifestyle demands in favour of a stress-free, romantic getaway. 

Sitchu Tip: Be sure to relax in the amazing bathtub, with window views out to the ocean. 

San Remo, Phillip Island

Silverwater Resort

Set high on the hills above San Remo, Silverwater Resort is the ideal place to spend a day or two, whilst enjoying the range of onsite activities. Heated lap pool, outdoor pool, tennis courts, spa and steam room are all available to enjoy, and there’s also a divine restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating with views out onto Phillip Island below. After arriving, you won’t even need to leave. 

17 Potters Hill Rd, San Remo 

Ramada Resort by Wyndham 

Spread out across 65 acres surrounded by native gardens and natural bushland, the Ramada Resort is only 2 kilometres from Cowes – where you’ll find shops, bars and restaurants – and just 5 kilometres from the famous Grand Prix circuit. The resort also specialises in romantic bed and breakfast stays, so keep it in mind for your next couples’ getaway

2128 Phillip Island Road, Cowes 

Chapel Island Retreat

Sleeping up to 12 guests, Chapel Island Retreat is the perfect beach escape for a large family or friends’ weekend away. Located just a stone’s throw from the town of Cowes, this seaside sanctuary has modern, spacious rooms and living spaces, and has a fully fenced garden so the kids can run around and play without too much worry. 

6 Chapel Street, Phillip Island 

Loved this edit of things to do in Phillip Island and ready to book your next weekend away? Be sure to check out our edit of the best things to do in the Mornington Peninsula and best boutique accommodation in and around Melbourne.

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