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Phillip Island: Holidays for Families and Nature Lovers

Phillip Island is a favourite getaway for families and Melbournians seeking to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.

There are endless possibilities on the island: swim or surf at golden beaches, get close to iconic Australian species or even sample freshly made chocolate at the island’s chocolate factory.

The main town on the island, Cowes, features a selection of restaurants and cafés, bi-monthly night markets and a leafy foreshore and jetty.

Holiday rentals in Phillip Island consist primarily of apartments in town and larger homes by the beach.

Phillip Island’s Beaches

Phillip Island offers a number of beaches for swimming and surfing. The southern, ocean-facing beaches boast steady, stronger waves. The sheltered bay beaches, such as Cowes Main Beach, are ideal for families and those seeking a relaxing swim. Cowes Main Beach is only steps from some of the town’s cafes and is lined by a leafy foreshore, threaded by a walking path.

Experienced surfers typically head straight to Woolamai Beach, whereas those just learning the craft might prefer Smiths or Shelly Beach. While Smiths is patrolled in the summer, Shelly Beach is not. For swims with views of the Mornington Peninsula, spend some time at Ventnor Beach or Anchorage Beach.

Family Fun on Phillip Island

There is much to do for families on Phillip Island. Bring the kids to A Maze’N Things, a large park with various mazes and quite a few other activities for children and adults. If you have a sweet tooth, find out how to make chocolate at the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, with its numerous interactive displays. Of course, you will be able to try freshly made treats, too!

Phillip Island also houses a trout farm, which is open to the public. Children will be able to catch their own fish. If the kids are interested in animal encounters, they are in luck: Phillip Island has several sanctuaries and offers the chance to see species in their natural habitats.

Phillip Island Wildlife Escapades

The most acclaimed animal encounter on Phillip Island is the Penguin Parade, of international fame. At nightfall, you can observe the colony of little blue penguins come back to shore after a day of fishing at sea. Watch as the world’s smallest penguins run across the beach and into their alcoves.

Sit on the bleachers close to the beach and learn about the penguins from one of the experienced guides. Be sure to arrive in advance, as the bleachers can get crowded very quickly.

If you would like to see some koalas, go to the Koala Conservation Centre. On the way, make sure to look out the window at the eucalyptus treetops lining the road, as you might see wild koalas munching on their favourite leaves.

Phillip Island also harbours a wildlife park, where wallabies and kangaroos wander around in an open enclosure, in which humans can enter. Pick up some feed and get close enough to pet these iconic Australian species.

Discover Cowes

Cowes is the main town on Phillip Island. Stroll along the main street for your pick of eateries. Grab some fish and chips or coffee and walk over to the foreshore or Cowes Jetty. In the evenings, book a table at one of the town’s restaurants, where you can choose from many international dining options.

Make sure you visit Cowes during the bi-monthly markets, which take place on Saturday evenings. These markets occur after dark, so you can browse the numerous stalls as the stars twinkle above. Bring home locally produced goods or even fashion pieces, designed by the island’s inhabitants.

Getting to Phillip Island

Situated approximately two hours from Melbourne, Phillip Island is an easy drive from Victoria’s capital. If you don’t have access to a car, you can opt for public transport. V/Line coaches, leaving from Melbourne, will take you straight to Cowes.