Famous for its coastal views and wildlife reserves, Phillip Island is an idyllic escape from Melbourne. Three days leaves plenty of time to take in top attractions, get off the beaten path, and relax on secluded beaches. Here’s how to spend three days on Phillip Island.
Day 1: Wildlife & Wilderness
If you don’t have your own transport, the most convenient way to explore Phillip Island is on a tour that focuses on the island’s main attraction—wildlife. Start the morning with a wildlife-watching cruise from Cowes Jetty and admire the island’s dramatic coastline as you cruise to Seal Rocks, home to Australia’s largest colony of fur seals. If you’re visiting between May and October, you might also spot dolphins and humpback whales.
Back on the mainland, opt for an afternoon tour that transports you to the Koala Conservation Centre, where you can see koalas in their natural habitat, and Churchill Island Heritage Farm, a traditional Aussie working farm.
At sunset, head to Summerland Beach to see the famous Phillip Island Penguin Parade, when thousands of Little Penguins return to their beachside burrows after a day at sea; book admission tickets in advance to secure the best viewpoints.
Day 2: Explore the Mornington Peninsula
Just a short ferry ride from Phillip Island, the Mornington Peninsula is renowned for its pristine beaches, scenic countryside, and excellent food and wine. A day trip is the ideal way to tick off dispersed highlights, which include Arthur’s Seat, the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, and the Mornington Railway steam train.
Spend the morning shopping at the peninsula’s lively markets—the Red Hill Community Market and Emu Plains Market are among the best, and boast stalls replete with artisan foods and unique souvenirs.
In the afternoon, stop at one of the wineries in the Main Ridge, Merricks, or Red Hill districts, to sample some of the region’s top wines; several tours are dedicated entirely to wine and offer visitors the chance to sample multiple varietals. For food lovers, other must-visits include the Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm and Mornington Peninsula Chocolates.
Day 3: Coastal Walks and Beach Breaks
Start the day with a scenic hike around Cape Woolamai, a rocky promontory at the southernmost tip of the island. The Cape Woolamai Walk takes around 2.5 hours and affords spectacular views as it winds through the Phillip Island Nature Park. Although the trail is signposted, hiking with a guide means you can venture off-road to little-known viewpoints and learn more about flora and fauna.
Spend the afternoon exploring the island’s sandy shores. A car is essential for exploring the far-flung beaches; a tour lets you skip the hassle of hiring a car, and a guide reveals the safest spots to swim. Stop to watch the surfers at Surf Beach on the south coast, pay a visit to the nearby Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit Visitor Centre—where the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix is held—then head to the north coast to admire the stunning Red Rocks beach.