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Day Trip to French Island

Home > Melbourne > Adventure | Animals and Wildlife | Camping | Day Trips | Walks
by Nekoburro (subscribe)
Freelance writer, traveller, foodie and graphic designer living at the gateway of the Yarra Valley and Melbourne's green belt suburbs..
Published April 3rd 2019
Visit a remote island in the middle of Westernport Bay
French Island, westernportbay, ferry ride, isolated, wilderness, bike riding, hiking, nature, national park,
@ moko creative

Ever wondered what French Island is like? It's only 20 minutes by Westernport ferries across from Cowes, Phillip Island or Stony Point on the Mornington Peninsula yet once you step on the island, it couldn't seem more remote. There is no mains power, gas or drinking water, so be sure to bring some with you or stock up at the General Store and cafe once on the island.

French Island, westernport bay, ferry ride, hiking, national park, bike riding, explore, nature
@moko creative

Bring a first aid kit with you as there is no medical facility and extra battery packs to keep your mobile charged up.

French Island, westernport bay, ferry, national park, hiking, exploring
@moko creative

This destination isn't for everyone, however, it's the perfect place if you are wanting to get away from it all! No distractions, noise, crowds, traffic lights, shopping centres or urban development - just a small population of French Islanders who live on the island, mainly farmers and about 4000 koalas. Cape barren geese are thriving here and you'll also spot farm animals and lamas.

Map, French Island, westernport bay, nature, national park, hiking, bike riding, adventure
@moko creative

Tankerton Jetty is the main gateway to the mainland and Phillip Island. It's also the name of the main road that crosses across the bottom part of the island and a good place to start exploring. Unfortunately, swimming is not recommended due to the soft mud and strong currents.

French Island, westernport bay, ferry ride, explore, hiking, national park, bike riding, mangroves
@moko creative

It is highly recommended to bring your own mountain bikes or hire one for $30 from the only general store on the island, located 3km from Tankerton Jetty. If you are lucky, Tommy, the owner's friendly cat, will come out and greet you!

Cats, French Island, general store, hiking, bike riding, explore, outdoors, adventure, national park, westernport bay
@moko creative

We brought our bikes from Melbourne and stopped at the general store to refuel before heading off to explore the vast expanse of French Island. It's twice the size of Phillip Island! Riding through farms, blueberry bushes, sandy tracks, grasslands and mangrove swamps was all part of the adventure.

Bike riding, French Island, westernport bay, national park, ferry crossing
@moko creative

All the roads and management tracks are unsealed, so the quickest way to get around is by bike. If you prefer walking, it will take longer, so make sure you have enough water, food and walking boots are recommended. There is a tour company, Naturaliste, that takes bookings to explore the island if you prefer a guided tour.

French Island, westernport bay, farm houses, hike, bike riding, national park
@moko creative

So if you are looking for a remote place with unique nature, historic farmhouses, chicory kilns, seabirds and national parks to explore than you will love its isolation and serenity. You can choose to stay overnight at Fairhaven campsite, situated on the west coast in an idyllic natural setting.

French Island, beach, westernport bay, national park, outdoor adventures, hiking, mountain bike ride, ferry ride,
@moko creative

French Island has remained relatively isolated and undisturbed for a long time and this is how the locals prefer it. So make sure you take any rubbish with you and respect nature and its ecosystem in this special place.

French Island, wild flu, westernport bay, ferry crossing, hike, mountain bike ride, explore, adventure
@moko creative

So grab a map from the ferry, bring a mountain bike or walking boots and a backpack full of essentials to keep you going for a half day, full day or longer stay on this tranquil, remote island in the middle of Westernport Bay.
French Island, mountain bike riding, hiking, national park, explore, outdoor adventures
@moko creative

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Why? Escape to a remote island completely off the grid
Where: French Island
Cost: from $26 return
Your Comment
An excellent round up with pictures that help tell the story. Thanks!
by Michael Genrich (score: 3|1664) 598 days ago
Loved the article and photos. Always wanted to visit there, now I feel I have. I used to know a French Island resident, but he was a guest of Her Majesty when it housed a prison., so his views were probably biased.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|1130) 608 days ago
My husband and I got married on French Island 3 years ago! I love that it’s totally off grid. Beautiful place :)
by Gemma (score: 0|2) 491 days ago
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