As one of the best places to spot whales in Australia, Phillip Island, just two hours’ drive from Melbourne, is a great destination to visit in winter. But there are loads more fun things to see and do across the 101 square kilometre island while you’re there! Here are some ideas for your itinerary
Day one: enjoy the unforgettable experience of watching whales off the shores of Phillip Island
Walk, ride a bike or drive along the Phillip Island and Bass Coast Whale Discovery Trail to see humpback whales, southern right whales and perhaps even an orca or two during their annual migration. The route takes you from Eagles Nest, between Cape Paterson and Inverloch on the mainland, to Cowes on Phillip Island, and encompasses several coastal viewing points where interpretive signs give insights into the life of whales and their behaviours.
Whale sightings occur from May to October and peak from June to July. The major lookouts are The Nobbies, Pyramid Rock, Cowes and various sections around Cape Woolamai Beach. Sign up to the Wildlife Whales App to receive notifications and learn more about whales visiting the region. If you want to get even closer to the action, book a four-hour whale watching cruise with Wildlife Coast Cruises, an environmentally accredited tour operator which operates wildlife and scenic cruises around Phillip Island, Seal Rocks, Westernport Bay and Wilsons Promontory. The Island Whale Festival, which will be held from July 1 to 3 in 2022, is a great time to visit, with a range of events at venues across the island.
Day two: discover the other wildlife wonders of Phillip Island
Start the day spotting koalas in their natural habitat along the treetop boardwalks through the Australian bushland at the Koala Conservation Reserve. The two elevated boardwalks bring you closer to the koalas as they go about their daily business of sleeping, eating, and sleeping some more! The Reserve’s visitor centre has interactive and informative displays, or feel free to ask one of the rangers a question.
Next, learn stories of conservation, climate resilience and what lives in the deep with the interactive and immersive experiences at the Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies Centre, which takes you on a virtual journey through the Southern Ocean to Antarctica. From there, it’s only a five-minute drive to Summerlands Beach, where you can see the world’s largest Little Penguin colony come ashore around sunset each evening in a nightly parade. Seeing thousands of the cute creatures waddle across the beach to their burrows after a day’s fishing from specially built viewing platforms and boardwalks is an experience the family will never forget.
Day three: it's time for some family fun and a delicious experience on Phillip Island
Today is a day of fun! Begin by going go karting at Phillip Island Go Karts, which has a 750-metre track that is a replica of the famous Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. It even has tandem go karts, so the whole family can enjoy the experience together. Then, get lost in a world of puzzles and illusions at A Maze N Things at Cowes. The Magic Manor exhibit has incredible interactive magic displays, a flying chandelier, a time machine and magic rabbits. You can also test your navigational skills and find each flag in Australia’s largest 3D timber maze, then challenge yourself with 19 holes of outdoor Maxi Mini Golf. Puzzle Café serves coffee, pizza and milkshakes, which you can enjoy in the picnic or playground area outside.
For dessert, head to Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, which has more than 190 varieties of sweet treats, including choc dipped bananas, rocky road and Turkish delight. Entry to the cafe and shop is free, as is your first sample, but admission charges apply for Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate attraction. Here you can see the educational exhibition on cocoa production, a two-metre high chocolate statue of Michelangelo’s David, a 12,000 piece chocolate mosaic of Dame Edna Everage, and a chocolate village with working trains. There is also a thunderous chocolate waterfall, where 400 kilograms of molten chocolate flows every three minutes.
For more information visit visitphillipisland.com.au