There are plenty of things to do on Phillip Island and immersing yourself in its incredible nature will reap big scenic rewards.
We’re minutes into our cliffside walk when a turquoise ocean appears above a field of wildflowers. Beneath, foamy waves lap the golden sands, and in the distance, the coast is carved into multiple verdant headlands. It’s nature’s artwork at its best.
I’m on the George Bass Coastal Walk. The seven-kilometre (one way) trail winds its way along the Bass Coast between San Remo and Kilcunda.
Make it the whole way and you’ll be rewarded with hearty meals made from fresh, local produce at the Kilcunda General Store, and a coffee to rival any Melbourne laneway café.
Many people come to Phillip Island for the Little Penguin colony at Penguin Parade, the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, or the many surf beaches (it’s Victoria’s only National Surfing Reserve), but few know about its stunning hiking trails.
Start with the George Bass Coastal Walk – you can even bring your dog, albeit on a lead given the wildlife you’ll likely encounter. Wallabies and echidnas are almost guaranteed.
Come at the right time of year and you’ll even spot humpback and southern white whales gliding along those vast aqua waters. Whale season on Phillip Island is from May to October.
Wild Woolamai walks
There are plenty of things to do on Phillip Island, but if you’re after more of that spectacular scenery you’ll see on the George Bass Coastal Walk, head to Woolamai.
A popular surf spot for the most daring surfers, it’s also home to the highest point on Phillip Island, reached via the Cape Woolamai Walk.
Here, there are three incredible walks. For beginners choose the 4.5-kilometre (round trip) Pinnacles Walk where you can gaze across the dramatic rusty-red granite rock structures that jut out of the ocean. The Old Granite Quay to the former Cape Woolamai granite quarry is six kilometres.
Or to reach the highest point on the island, pick the 6.6-kilometre (round trip) Cape Woolamai Beach Walk. You’ll be rewarded with picture postcard views.
From spring, this area is also home to about one million short-tailed shearwaters.
Nothing gives perspective of a region quite like height.
With Phillip Island Helicopters you can soar over the most scenic spectacles on this 23-kilometre-long island.
Watch the world’s best (at the right time of year) whizz around the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, gaze across the Nobbies, which 40,000 Little Penguins call home. And take in Australia’s largest colony of fur seals lazing on the rocky outcrops.
You will also see the main township of Cowes from above, a laid-back seaside spot with plenty of places to wine and dine.
Cruise the coast
Cruise out to the cape, into caves and get close to the island’s wildlife on an eco-cruise with Wildlife Coast Cruises.
An environmental champion with an Advanced Ecotourism accreditation, the company has been taking travellers into these waters for two decades. Glide under sheer granite cliffs where dolphins bound beside you.
For twitchers; cormorants, Australasian gannets and wedge-tailed eagles are regularly spotted. You can also watch the daily pelican feeding at San Remo from the water, where as many as 35 of these giant sea birds can be seen flocking for a feed.
The best food on Phillip Island
The food on this idyllic island is as good as its scenery.
Call into the Wooli Tavern, a new casual dining destination with live music, cocktails and a classic pub menu. Try the grilled Black Angus beef burger or pan-seared Atlantic salmon with creamed cauliflower, and wash it down with a drop from nearby Purple Hen Wines.
On the south coast, sip your way through a wine tasting and share a cheese platter while you take in some of the island’s best rolling rural views at Phillip Island Winery.
Then, buy a bottle of local wine from the boutique cellar door to take home.
In Cowes, you’ll find the island’s best brewery.
Ocean Reach Brewing has twelve rotating taps in its core range, seasonal beers and special guest beers hand-picked by the brewers.
Don’t miss the tasting paddle and grab something to eat from the American-style food van menu. Think oversized burgers, buffalo wings and southern fried chicken.
Before the sun sets, head down to Smiths Beach to breathe in the sea air and watch the sky turn into a colourful artwork of orange and purple hues. If you’re lucky, you might just be the only people on the beach.
This article was created in partnership with Destination Phillip Island. For more information visit visitphillipisland.com.au.
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