If you talk to any Melbourne local, chances are they have headed south to Phillip Island at least once. Whether they’ve made their way down for surfing, hiking, a weekend away with friends, or going to see the infamous Penguin Parade, Phillip Island is a much loved spot in Victoria, by locals and travellers alike.

Credit: Visit Phillip Island

The island is home to native Australian wildlife, and is surrounded by coast and coastal boardwalks, historical rock formations, and is also a great stop along the way to Wilson’s Promontory – the southernmost part of Australia. It remains relatively untouched, with conservation being a main goal of those who call the island home.

The best way to get to Phillip Island is to drive.

Located in the South-East region of Victoria, Phillip Island is only a 90 minute drive by car from Melbourne’s CBD, and offers an island sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The island is close enough to mean you can certainly visit for just a day, however there is so much to offer, and the tranquility is so enticing that often you will find just a day is not enough!

There is also an option to catch public transport from Southern Cross station in Melbourne, however this will take 2-3 hours with bus or train, due to stops along the way and transfers.

Can I get to Phillip Island if I don’t have a car?

Yep! You can do the long public transport thing, but there are much better options.

Guided tours to Phillip Island let the experts take care of the logistics for you, with a range of options available to suit your budget and availability.

Booking through Last Minute Day Tours will ensure that you are driven safely – and very comfortably in a luxurious bus – from Melbourne to the island, throughout the island, and back to Melbourne at the end of the day. And of course, the tours ticks off all the best spots – The Penguin Parade Koala Highlights Tour covers wildlife parks, The Nobbies and The Blowhole – at an affordable price.

Phillip Island highlights

All the best parts of the island are accessible by car, but they’re not really walking distance from each other. Here is a breakdown of what your day could look like hitting all the highlights and travel time.

The Nobbies

One of the best spots to start your day, as it is at the very edge of Phillip Island. Once you cross the bridge from the mainland, The Nobbies is a 20 minute drive away, and here you will find large rock formations that are home to penguins, and offer views of Seal Rocks – where you will certainly spot fur seals lazing about – don’t forget your binoculars.

The Koala Conservation Centre

Located about 15 minutes from The Nobbies – here you can watch the cuddly creatures nibble on leaves from a treetop boardwalk, and hear all there is to know about what is being done to look after the animals through conservation efforts.

Maru Wildlife Park

Koala’s aren’t the only animals you can spot at the island– Maru Wildlife park is home to kangaroos, wallabies, dingoes, emus and Tasmanian devils, and definitely worth checking out. This is back on the mainland so could be a final stop on the way home.


Once you’ve worked up an appetite, drive towards Cowes (about 10-15 minutes from most parts of the island) and take your pick of restaurants, cafés and pubs, offering just about every type of cuisine. A great, central part of the island to sit back and relax, and regroup before heading to the islands main attraction – the Penguin Parade!

The famous Phillip Island Penguin Parade

A much-loved attraction for a reason. Here you can watch the little penguin colony go about their evening, waddling in from the ocean to their burrows, every day of the year from sunset. Booking a tour means your entry fee will be covered, otherwise tickets start at around $30 for adults. The parade is 20 minutes from the bridge to the island, but it’s best to factor in extra time for traffic during busty periods.

Phillip Island is a fantastic part of Victoria to visit, and being so close and easily accessible makes it a great option for a day when you need to escape the grind of daily life – even just for a day.

Related article: How many days do you need on Phillip Island?

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