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Phillip Island

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Phillip Island can be found 87 miles (140km) south-east of Melbourne. It’s home to the Phillip Island Nature Park, which aims to bring together animal conservation efforts with ecotourism and receives over 3.5 million visitors every year. You can book tickets to the attractions on the island, including the famous Penguin Parade and the Koala Conservation Center, or book a day trip from Melbourne.
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Book tickets for the attractions on Phillip Island.
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From Melbourne: Penguin Parade and Koalas Tour
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From Melbourne: Phillip Island Penguin Parade Eco Tour
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Phillip Island: Penguins and Wildlife Full-Day Tour
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From Melbourne: Penguin Parade Afternoon Tour
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More Tickets & Tours

Browse even more products which include a trip to Phillip Island.
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Melbourne: Phillip Island Tour & Penguin Parade
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Melbourne: Phillip Island Wine, Wildlife, and Penguins Tour
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From Melbourne: Phillip Island Penguin Parade Tour (Chinese)
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Phillip Island Wildlife & Brighton Beach Boxes Private Tour
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5 tips for visiting the Phillip Island

Penguin Parade | Flickr: Larry Koester CC BY 2.0
The Penguin Parade is the most popular activity on Phillip Island, and tickets to the general viewing area can sell out, especially during the summer holidays and long weekends. Book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment!
Phillip Island | Flickr: Andrew Arch CC BY-SA 2.0
Check the time that the sun is going to set well ahead of the day of your visit. Make sure that you plan your day around the light in order to get to the Penguin Parade with lots of time to spare.
If your children can’t wait to get to Phillip Island, or if they’ve been and can’t wait to go back, they can relive some of the magic with the island’s family-friendly apps! A Penguin Parade app is available for both Android and iOS and features a live burrow cam, games, and fun facts about 17 different species of penguin in six different languages. Meanwhile, the Park Ranger app includes 5 mini-games to help children learn about a day in the life of park rangers.
The island has several beautiful beaches, so if you’d like to swim or surf then you should definitely pack your beachwear! It’s advised that visitors stick to the guarded beaches, remain between yellow/red flags where lifeguards are patrolling, and check the weather reports ahead of time to make sure that they enjoy the water safely.
If you’re less of an animal-lover but still want to enjoy nature, then why not try one of the many walking trails in the nature park? The bush to bay track is suitable for bikes and strollers and takes you through a range of different landscapes on the island, while the Cape Woolamai trails offer you the chance to explore stunning cliff-top paths and the Cape Woolamai beach, a hotspot for surfers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is there to see on Phillip Island?

Phillip Island is 40 square miles (100 square kilometers) off the coast of New South Wales, across the Western Port Bay from the Mornington Peninsula. It was originally home to the Bunurong people, part of the Kulin nation of indigenous Australians, and was gradually taken over by Europeans from 1798 onwards. Today the island has a population of about 9,400 permanent residents, with the population surging to 40,000 in summer as tourists and other visitors come to enjoy the landscape and beaches of the island. In addition to cliffs, wetlands, and beaches ideal for surfing, the island is home to a nature park that is well-known for its animal conservation efforts. Walk the trails, visit the Koala Conservation Center, or wait until sunset in order to witness the famous Penguin Parade. Read more.

What will we see during the Penguin Parade?

The penguins that live on Phillip Island are fairy penguins - far smaller (and more adorable, we think) than their more famous cousins. They spend all day out at sea fishing, coming to land at sunset every day to sleep in their burrows overnight. Staff will direct you to the viewing areas in plenty of time to see the penguins arrive, and will keep you updated on when you can expect to see the first little birds waddling in. Over a period of about an hour, the penguins will cross the beach to get to their beds, and visitors should sit back and try not to disturb them. No photography is allowed, and visitors are asked not to startle the penguins in any other way. On the walk back to the visitor center, you might also walk past the penguins heading to their burrows. Read more.

Where do you get the best view of the Penguin Parade?

There are three different areas for watching the Penguin Parade. The general viewing area has some seats along the beach, plus you can sit on the dunes if the weather’s good and you don’t mind sitting on the ground in order to be at the front. You can always bring a plastic bag or extra raincoat to sit on! Penguin Parade plus is a slightly raised platform next to a path which the penguins tend to take to their burrows. You’ll get a little bit closer to them if you choose this option. Finally, there’s the underground viewing room, which is underneath the Penguin Plus platform. Here you’ll be able to watch from inside, which might be more comfortable, but your eyes will also be at ground level. That’s ideal for getting a close-up view of these tiny fairy penguins, which are often less than 14 inches (35cm tall). If you’re sitting in one of the outdoor areas then make sure to bring a jacket because there’s a chill from the wind, even in summer. Read more.

Can we meet the penguins? How about the koala bears?

Remember that the penguins on Phillip Island are wild animals, who are still skittish around humans. Guests are asked not to approach or disturb the animals as they make their way to their burrows. The koalas in the Koala Conservation Center are easy to see as well. Visitors can climb the raised boardwalk to get a better view of their lives in the trees, but you won’t get the chance to cuddle them. If you want to get up close to animals, your best bet is to visit the Churchill Island Heritage Farm, where you’ll be able to learn about cow milking, sheep shearing, and how dogs are used on farms, in addition to taking a wagon ride. Read more.

What is the Antarctic Journey?

The Antarctic Journey is a multimedia exhibition in the Nobbies Center that teaches visitors of all ages about life in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica through a range of experiments and interactive activities. Visit the Antarctic Chill Zone to get a feel for the freezing cold of Antarctica, learn about the different animals that live there and how they’ve adapted for the extreme weather, and discover what efforts at conservation are being made. Finally, use the giant screens and augmented reality technology to imagine yourself standing on an ice floe, or swimming with whales underwater. Read more.

What is Churchill Island?

Churchill Island is a smaller island connected to Phillip Island by a bridge. Today it’s part of the Phillip Island Nature Park and guests can visit a working farm that uses traditional farming techniques, cottages which date back to the 1860s, and a farmhouse that dates to 1872. All of the areas have been fully restored, and visitors can enjoy exploring the whole island on one of the walking trails, plus they can take part in demonstrations and workshops of farming methods. Read more.

Aren’t there also motorsports on Phillip Island?

In addition to the Nature Park, Phillip Island is also well known for its part in the history of Australian motor racing. It was the site of the Australian Grand Prix between 1928 and 1935, with races taking place on public roads. In 1956 the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit opened, although the track was badly damaged in 1962, requiring refurbishment that took until 1967. Today the track hosts the Australian motorcycle Grand Prix, plus rounds of the Superbike World Championship, the Moto GP Championship, and the Australian Drivers’ Championship, plus other races. Visitors to the island can also take a guided circuit tour, be driven on a hot lap by an experienced driver, or take a BMW for a spin on the track. The circuit also has a go-kart track where drivers aged 12 and over can take a spin, or children aged 5 and over can participate as passengers in a tandem kart. Read more.

What are the food options on the island?

Each attraction in the Phillip Island Nature Park has its own café serving drinks, snacks, and full meals. There are also plenty of areas around the island where you can stop for a picnic, either on a beach or at a picnic area. Please remember to be respectful of the environment and make sure that you take any trash with you once you’ve finished. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The Island is open to the public 24 hours a day. The Penguin Parade happens daily at sunset. The Koala Conservation Center is open daily from 10 am until 5 pm. The last entry to the boardwalk at the Koala Conservation Reserve is at 4.30pm. Please note that the Churchill Island Heritage Farm café is currently closed but will be open from 12pm-4pm during school holidays 24 June - 9 July 2023 and 16 - 30 September 2023. The Nobbies Center opens daily and closes before sunset.


Phillip Island


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General viewing at the Penguin Parade cost AUD26.60 for adults, AUD13.20 for children aged between 4 and 15, and AUD18.55 for Australian pensioners. The Penguins Plus viewing platform costs AUD55 for adults, while the underground viewing area costs AUD67.50 for adults. Tickets for the Antarctic Journey experience at the Nobbies Ocean Discovery Center cost AUD18 for adults, AUD9 for children, and AUD12.60 for Australian pensioners. The Ecoboat Adventure costs AUD85 for adults and Australian pensioners, and AUD65 for children. Tickets for the Koala Reserve cost AUD13.20 for adults, AUD6.60 for children, and AUD9.20 for Australian pensioners. Tickets for Churchill Island cost AUD13.20 for adults, AUD6.60 for children, and AUD9.20 for Australian pensioners. Combo tickets and family tickets are available, allowing you to combine between three and five of the available experiences.

how to get there

It is difficult to reach Phillip Island by public transport. There is a bus service operated by V-line which takes you from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne to Cowes, the main town on the island, but visitors should be aware that this stop isn’t very close to the Penguin Parade and there is no return bus to Melbourne after the parade finishes. Phillip Island is a 90-minute drive from Melbourne and there is free parking on the island. The island also has its own taxi provider who can take you between locations on the island - just call Phillip Island Taxis at +61 3 5952 2200.
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