7 free things to do on Phillip Island
There’s more to Phillip Island than just the Penguin Parade (though it IS pretty great) and those watching their wallets may be surprised how many free things there are to do in this windswept corner of Victoria. Here’s our list of our favourite free things to do on Phillip Island, and trust us – you’re going to want at least few days to do them all.
1. Lace up your walking shoes
Image: Visit Victoria
Outdoor enthusiasts are all but guaranteed to love Phillip Island, and for those who enjoy a brisk walk, there are excellent hiking trails criss-crossing all over the island, with picturesque lookouts and other points of interest dotted along them. Whether you find yourself walking along Phillip Island’s stunning coast and listening to the roar of the ocean or walking through wetlands and bushland in absolute silence, there's a walk for everyone – regardless of what level of challenge you're up for.
2. Watch the sun set over the Nobbies
Image: Wikimedia commons/user: urxx (licence)
At the far west end of the island, past the beachside Penguin Parade, lie the Nobbies. The Nobbies are a promontory of jagged rocks jutting out of the shore, best viewed from the conveniently constructed boardwalk which straddles the headland. This is the perfect place to relax, switch off and embrace the moment at sunset, with a gentle breeze on your face as you watch the glowing orb of the sun washing over the horizon. Before it gets dark, be sure keep an eye out for the fur seals who call this end of the island home.
3. Take advantage of the great beaches
Image: Visit Victoria
You would hope that an island as big as Phillip Island has a beach or two, and you'd be right. Phillip Island is fringed with glorious beaches suitable for both surfing and swimming. The surf breaks are generally found on the south-facing side of the island (with Cape Woolamai featuring the most impressive), while the sheltered coves of the northern side are calmer and perfect for a gentle paddle or simply lying on the beach. Be warned, though – Phillip Island is a chilly spot in winter, so if you're keen to get your toes wet, we'd recommend booking your stay during the warmer months.
4. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife
Image: Tourism Australia/Visit Victoria
Everyone knows there’s little penguins on Phillip Island, and we've told you about the seals, but did you know about the plethora of birds and animal species that call the island home? There’s wallabies, snakes, echidnas, a variety of reptiles, seabirds and more – and they’re pretty hard to miss if you know the right spots to frequent. If you're a wildlife lover, investigate around Cape Woolamai, the Nobbies, Churchill Island or Rhyll and you're almost certain to find a creature or two!
5. Head out on a picturesque bike ride
Image: Ben Savage via Visit Victoria
We’ve already established that Phillip Island has great walking trails, but for those that enjoy a bit of pedal-powered parambulation (translation: Cyclists), there's a lot to love here as well. A large number of the available walking trails also serve a dual purpose as bike trails – plus, with the low levels of traffic on the island, all of the roads are fairly safe to ride. While this one is only free if you have your own bike to bring, cycling is nonetheless a great way to see and experience Phillip Island, especially if you need to cover ground a bit quicker than on foot, but still want to keep the footprint of your visit light.
6. Check out a 120-year old shipwreck
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Run aground during a violent storm in 1905, the wreck of the SS Speke lies near Kitty Miller Bay on the south of the island. All that remains of this massive 32m Victorian-era steel sailing ship is a mangled fragment of the bow standing on the rocks and only accessible at low tide. This is a great spot for a stroll, a photo, as well as a harsh reminder of the sheer power of the elements which beat against the coast of Phillip Island.
7. Stare up at the skies
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Phillip Island is nicely removed from the glow of Melbourne's bright lights, which means none of that pesky light pollution is in the sky. When the sun falls and the sky darkens, look up to be mesmerised by the celestial brilliance of the night sky. If you want to make sure you're able to see the sky in total darkness, a local tip is to head to the cark park of one of the island’s many back beaches and settle in for a night of star gazing.
Where to stay
Ready to start planning a trip to Phillip Island? Don’t forget to book your accommodation! YHA Phillip Island is a fantastically affordable option with a great location and a variety of private and shared rooms to suit your needs and budget, a fully equipped kitchen, TV room, lounge room and the friendly team can give you some insider tips to living like a local.
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