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Phillip Island in Victoria: Extraordinary experiences

Little Penguins, big races, and so much more!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Most South Asians seeing Victoria’s Phillip Island’s famous Penguin Parade for the first time, have made this comment: “But these penguins are tiny!”

Of course they soon learn that these are Little Penguins, as opposed to the much larger Emperor Penguins native to Antarctica, whose images they are most accustomed to seeing.

As they marvel at the little creatures emerge from the ocean and waddle up to their burrows, they learn that these penguins are also called Little Penguins or Blue Penguins due to their colour; that they are the smallest of all penguin species, and that they are native to Australia and New Zealand.

The island’s most famous residents attract over a million visitors and admirers yearly to witness their spectacular return home at dusk.

The penguins may be a highlight at Phillip Island, but there’s plenty more to see and do here. Just under a two hour drive (142 km) south from the centre of Melbourne, this island sanctuary is home to some unique native wildlife; the famous Grand Prix motorcycle circuit; wonderful beaches and fascinating walking tracks, and charming food-and-beverage experiences.

 

Native wildlife

Wildlife and photography enthusiasts will love that Philip Island, all 101 sq km of it, is home to a range of native Australian species including koalas, wallabies, whales, echidnas, little penguins, Australian fur seals and more!

A popular attraction is the Australian fur seal colony, a protected marine mammal native to the area. Seal Rocks alone hosts 20,000 seals, a quarter of the entire population of Australian fur seals. Spend a fun hour or so observing these inquisitive beauties in their natural environment as they sun bake, wrestle each other playfully, or use their flippers to drag themselves to the water. October to December, you’ll catch mums feeding their babies.

Seals on the coast of Phillip Island
Phillip Island’s fur seals

At the Koala Conservation Reserve, you can photograph Australia’s most iconic animal as you walk along the boardwalks through the treetops.

In the winter months, Humpback and Southern Right Whales can be spotted as they migrate north to warmer waters.

Phillip Island also hosts an incredible array of birdlife in Victoria. Swan Lake is home to species such as black swans, Cape Barren Geese, ducks, swamp harriers, cormorants, black-fronted dotterels, Australian white ibis, spoonbills, white-faced herons, purple swamphens, and masked lapwings.

Nocturnal birds like bats and owls are also plentiful, as are birds of prey such as peregrine falcons, black-shouldered kites, swamp harriers, and nankeen kestrels.

Avid bird watchers can check out Twitcher Trail, or the renowned wetlands of the Rhyll Inlet for the wading birds that fly thousands of kilometres to feed here during the summer months.

Islanders are particularly fond of – and proud of – the migratory short-tailed shearwaters, or mutton birds. You can see them between September and April, as they arrive from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska 8,000 kilometres away. At Phillip Island, you can watch them return home at sunset after a day of fishing!

The daily feeding of pelicans at San Remo at noon, is another fun – and raucous – activity.

 

Beaches

Framed by golden sands and cobalt blue waters, this paradise island is filled with sunbathing and surfing.  For surfers or wannabe surfers, Smiths Beach is a great spot to learn, and patrolled by lifesavers during the summer months. Rock pools are exposed at low tide, and there is plenty of room for beach games. Cowes is a beautiful bay beach which offers shady spots and is patrolled by lifesavers in the summer months. Remember to swim between the flags at patrolled beaches. A trek up to the Cape Woolamai lookout is a must do, for a truly epic view.

Beach activities at Phillip Island in Victoria
Experience jetboating and more in the Phillip Island waters

 

Grand Prix circuit

Racing enthusiasts are probably planning their trip to the island right about now, for the 2022 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix this month, or the 2022 Superbike World Championship next month.

Phillip Island’s Grand Prix Circuit hosts some of the most exciting racing events, attracting worldwide participants as well as observers to Victoria. The adrenaline-fueled action on the track – with racers touching the 300km/h mark  –  is matched perfectly with the dramatic coastline against which it occurs!

This spectacle of speed and action has been on since 1928 for both cars and motorcycles (when four public roads connected at right angle corners became the circuit).

Motor Racing is a key event on Phillip Island
Phillip Island’s Grand Prix Circuit

 

Phillip Island Go Karts feature a 750m circuit replicating the famous Phillip Island Grand Prix track.

On the Island’s stunning coastline, this unique Go Kart track sits alongside the circuit and overlooks Bass Strait while offering smooth curves and super-fast straights.

With Phillip Island Go Karts, you’ll feel what so many past and present motorsport champions have experienced.

Have a go at Go Karting
Enjoy go-karting on Phillip Island

 

But wait there’s more!

If you like bushwalks/hiking, you’ll be spoilt for choice on this beautiful island. Pick from a range of awe-inspiring coastal walks and scenic bushwalks – including kid-friendly and dog-friendly options.

People enjoying Phillip Island
Enjoy the scenery of Phillip Island

 

If you love stargazing, then Phillip Island is a must-visit. From spotting the Milky Way to the occasional Southern Lights, Phillip Island offers some fantastic vantage points to gaze into the night sky.

We’re guessing though, that it is the penguins that’ll provide the most spectacular Phillip Island experience. Observe them from the boardwalks as they dash home across the sand at dusk, greeting neighbours, partners and their chicks.

Star gazing under the island skies
Stargazing under Phillip Island skies

 

TRAVEL NOTEBOOK

OTHER ATTRACTIONS: Magnificent rock formations at the Pinnacles Lookout; Jetboat tours; fishing; wineries and breweries; boat cruises, go-karting and scenic flights; chocolate factory; cheese factory; artists and design studios, and mazes.

Amazing rock formations attract tourists
Discover Phillip Island with jetboat tours

 

WHERE TO STAY

Choose from comfy budget options to beachside luxury, from caravan parks, farm stays and glamping, to B&Bs, apartments, hotels and motels.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit https://www.visitphillipisland.com.au/

READ ALSO: Discover Marvellous Melbourne

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