Ten penguins would probably do it but there are plenty of other reasons to plan an adventure on Phillip Island. This little island is big on activities for every weekend wanderer: surfers and sand-castle builders, wildlife watchers and sports spectators, foodies and fishing fans, jazz cats and history buffs. The best bit (aside from the penguins)? It's only a 90-minute drive from Melbourne. Jump in the car and you'll be there in a jiffy.

1. Swell beaches

Wave hello to some of the best surfing in the country. Declared Victoria's first National Surfing Reserve for its quality breaks and pristine environment, Phillip Island has four prime surf sites along its coast: Cape Woolamai, Smiths Beach, Summerland and Cat Bay. 

2. Destination dining 

Freshly-caught seafood and locally-sourced produce are served up with spectacular views at Phillip Island's dining hot spots. Relax with a pint by the fireplace at Rusty Water Brewery, or take in the Rhyll waterfront from the deck of The Foreshore Bar and Restaurant. On the outskirts of Cowes, The Shearing Shed is worth a visit for the sheer expanse of its farmland home. For a drop, visit family-run Purple Hen Wines for a cool climate tipple, or grab a latte at BEANd in San Remo.  

3. Cute suits

Fact: the collective noun for little penguins on land is a 'waddle'. And they waddle in seriously cute suits. Pay a visit to the Penguin Parade to watch them surface from a day's fishing and waddle up the beach to their burrows in the sand dunes. For a face-to-face sticky beak, book a spot in the underground viewing bunker.    

4. Koala time

Phillip Island is home to a huge population of koalas. For guaranteed sightings of our furry friends, visit the Koala Conservation Centre.Twitchers should visit Phillip Island in spring to see shearwater birds flock from Alaska to the warmer climate of the island. The birds breed here from September to April, so keep an eye out over summer as they find their mates and settle down. Best place to start? Join a local bird-watching tour

5. On the rocks

Some 35,000 seals make their home off the coast of Phillip Island at Seal Rocks, Australia's largest fur seal colony. Venture out on a boat cruise with Wild Oceans Eco Boat Adventures or Wildlife Coast Cruises to see the seals fish from the rocks, taking in the rugged coastline along the way.

6. A-maze-ing family fun   

This little island is big on family fun. Let the kids channel their inner Charlie at Pannys Phillip Island Chocolate Factory and burn off the sugar rush among the mazes, mini-golf and mysterious caves at A Maze'N Things, Phillip Island's award-winning theme park.  

7. Holiday catch ups

Angling for a fishing holiday? This is your island. Join the locals and snap up an excellent catch from the jetties at Cowes, Newhaven, Rhyll and San Remo. Cast your net further afield and take a fishing charter, or your own boat, out onto Westernport Bay. If you happen to return empty handed, stop by San Remo Fishing Co-operative to buy seafood straight off the boat. They also do the best fish and chips in town. 

8. Circuit breakers

Torque about motorsports: the famed Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit plays host each year to the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (October), World Superbike Championships (February) and the V8 Supercars (April). And any time of year, you can satisfy your need for speed on the go-kart track – a scale replica of the actual circuit – at the Grand Prix Circuit Visitor Centre.

9. Island grooves

Cats, the Phillip Island Jazz Festival is the toe-tapping-est way to get into the island groove. Every November, local and touring jazz bands bring three days of swing, gypsy and trad sounds to Cowes. The island tunes don't stop when the festival ends: live bands and solo acts can be found adding beats to sunny afternoon sessions and late-night revelry at venues all over the island.

10. Churchill Island

For a two-fold island experience, venture over to Churchill Island. History buffs, this is your dream island home. The site of the first farm in Victoria, this is the place to delve into pioneering history and nineteenth-century farming techniques. Watch whip cracking, sheep shearing and working dogs doing the hard yards. Jump aboard a Clydesdale-driven wagon or wander through the original homestead and traditional gardens at your own pace.


Unable to get data