Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published September 9th 2019
So much to do, you'll have to come back!
There is so much to do on a Phillip Island and Bass Coast Getaway, you couldn't possibly fit in all in the first time around. So there's nothing else for it, you'll just have to keep going back.
At around one and three-quarter hours from the Melbourne CBD and around an hour from Cranbourne, this holiday paradise and tourist mecca is close enough for a day trip and tempting enough for a long stay.
It is ageless with something for everyone from toddlers to seniors. With coastline on Westernport Bay and the Bass Coast, it is a beach lover's delight. Inland the landscape is one of beautiful rolling hills, farmland and bushland. So come on down, you will be spoilt for activities to keep you on the go and beautiful places to relax.
Phillip Island Fairy Penguin - Image by 13082 from Pixabay
The jewel in the crown for Phillip Island and the Bass Coast is Phillip Island Nature Parks. This organisation includes the Penguin Parade, Antarctic Journey, Churchill Island Heritage Farm and the Koala Conservation Centre. Each can be visited individually or as part of a 4 park pass.
The Penguin Parade (Photo by Phillipislandtourism - Own work- CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
1. The Phillip Island Penguin Parade. Following a $58 million dollar upgrade the Phillip Island Penguin Parade is better than ever. Each day at the internationally famous Penguin Parade visitors can watch from viewing stands and boardwalks as the fairy penguins leave the water after a day at sea and waddle up the beach to their burrows. Visitors can upscale their experiences with the Penguins Plus, Underground Viewing, the Ultimate Penguin Tour, the VIP Tour and the Little Wonders Ranger Guided Tour. Visit their website for cost and ticketing details.
Enjoy a virtual reality visit at Antarctic Journey (Photo from Phillip Island Nature parks Facebook Page)
2. Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies on Phillip Island. This very modern attraction is a virtual tour of Antarctica. Walk among giant screens simulating the Antarctic landscape, feel the freeze in the Chill Zone, and in the state of the art augmented virtual reality experience stand on an ice flow, pat a penguin or a seal, and watch a whale breach. Visit their ]website for more details and bookings.
Highland cattle at Churchill Island - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
3. Churchill Island Heritage Farm preserves a time past and as well as the animals, visitors can walk through the heritage home and farm buildings. There are uncommon farm animals here, Clydesdale Horses and Highland Cattle, both regal beasts. Daily activities at the heritage farm include cow milking, sheep shearing, whip cracking, and working dog demonstrations. Weather permitting, wagon rides are run on weekends and holidays. There is an onsite café and souvenir shop. Visit their website for more details and bookings.
At the Phillip Island Koala Conservation Centre - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
4. The Koala Conservation Centre on Phillip Island. Wander the treetop boardwalks and see the koalas in the trees where they live. This is itself special but keep an eye on the ground below as the centre is also home to wallabies and echidnas. Visit their website for more details and bookings.
Other Animal and Bird Attractions
5. Maru Koala and Animal Park and Pirate Pete's Minigolf Adventure in Grantville. Australian natives and farm animals are featured at this fun animal park which is paired up with a minigolf course. Check times for the Keeper Presentations to learn more about the animals. For an extra fee, you can treat the children and yourself to a Close Encounter with a koala, a dingo, a python, or a lizard. Clickhere for more details and costs.
When you've finished with the animals grab a meal at the Bistro, take in the sheep shearing demonstration and head over to Pirate Pete's Minigolf Adventure to round off a fun day.
A cute dingo puppy (Photo from Maru Koala and Animal Park Facebook Page)
6. Pelican Feeding at San Remo takes place at noon every day of the year. This free event attracts anywhere from 5 to 35 pelicans and is run by the San Remo Fisherman's Co-op. Gather on the foreshore next to the Sam Remo Pier. Visit their website for more details.
Don't miss these majestic pelicans - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
7. Phillip Island Wildlife Park in Cowes has over 100 different species of Australian Animals. Here you will be able to hand feed and pat kangaroos and wallabies. Snack food can be purchased or you can bring your own and use the picnic tables at the park. Visit their website for more details.
Is this joey laughing (Photo in the Public Domain via Pixabay)
8. Birdwatching is a popular pastime on the Bass Coast so much so that there is a recognised Bird Trail of 11 separate sites across the region. A number of these sites have bird hides. You can pick up a hard copy of the Bass Coast Shire Bird Trails brochure with maps and details in the visitor information centres. Sites to check out on the mainland are The Gurdies Nature Reserve, Corinella Foreshore Reserve, Fishers Wetland, Cape Woolamai Peninsula, Mcmillan Road Rhyll Inlet, Oswin Roberts Reserve, Wonthaggi Wetlands, Baxters Wetlands, Rifle Range Wetlands, Wonthaggi Heatland, Screw Xreek, Swan Lake and the Summerland Peninsula Circuit. Click here for a full review of the Wonthaggi Baxters Wetlands Bird Hide.
A little pied cormorant at Inverloch - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
9. Wild Ocean Eco Boat Tour at Phillip Island. Hop aboard a high-speed boat and zoom past the Island's picturesque coastline on your way to an up-close encounter with one of Australia's largest colonies of fur seals. Tickets for this tour can also be bundled with Phillip Island Nature Parks attractions. Click their website for more details and bookings.
Visit Seal Rocks on the Wild Ocean EcoBoat Tour (Photo from Phillip Island Nature Parks Facebook Page)
10. Wildlife Coast Cruises run boat cruises from Phillip Island about their 19 metre vessel The Kasey Lee. Regular cruises include Seal Watching, Cape Woolamai, Twilight Bay, and the Peninsula Market Cruise. During the winter months, they run Whale Watching Cruises and from time to time run special event cruises. Visit their website for more details, current cruises and costs.
11. Phillip Island Helicopters in Newhaven run scenic flights and adventure experiences over Phillip Island. You will be treated to aerial views of the rugged and interesting coastline, Cape Woolamai, Seal Rocks, the Grand Prix Track and the home of the Penguin Parade. They also run fligts over Kilcunda, Wonthaggi and Inverloch area and over the Mornington Peninsula. Visit their website for more details and flight pricing.
12. Pioneer Kayaking Tours offers guided tours in the Philip Island waterways. No previous experience is available and there is a safety briefing with all tours. Currently available are tours of Cape Woolamai Cost, Rhyll Wetlands, Churchill Island and the Cowes Foreshore. The tours last between one and three hours. Visit their website for more details.
Amusement Parks and Games
13. A Maze'n Things on Phillip Island is an entertainment park offering a maze, mini-golf, illusion rooms, puzzles, and a skytrail with high rope adventure courses. Visit their website for more details.
All is not what it seems at AMaze'N Things (Photo from AMaze'N Things Facebook Page)
14. Clip'n Climb Phillip Island in Cowes includes a game wall with interactive augmented climbing experiences, virtual reality pods and an on-site café. Visit their website for more details and costs.
15. Phillip Island Ten Pin Bowling and Entertainment Centre in Cowes offers ten pin bowling with automatic scoring bumpers and more; a laser zone game that takes place in an arena with a dark maze and hidden zones. Visit their website for more details and costs.
16. Bass Coast Paintball in Wonthaggi offers paintball games across 20 acres of open field and bush scenarios for groups of 4 or more. They also Splatmaster which is a low impact, non –bruising version of paintball. If that's not enough axe throwing is also on the agenda. Visit their website for more details and pricing.
Clara Belle the cow at Grumpy's Crazy Golf - Image from Grumpy's Crazy Gold Cowes Facebook Page
17. Grumpy's Crazy Golf Cowes is a mini golf course at 152 Thomas Avenue in Cowes. Look for the statue of Clara Belle, the black and white cow at the front. Visit their Facebook About page for more details.
18. The Wonthaggi State Coal Mine, which operated from 1909 to 1968 and produced 17 million tonnes of coal for the railways and for industry, is now the only historic coal mine experience in the Southern Hemisphere. Here visitors can wander the heritage park, maintained as it was in the 1900s or go underground and stand at the mine face where the coal seams are more than 130 million years old. It is free to enter the Heritage Park where there is much to do, with fees only charged for the underground experience. Click here to read a full review. Visit their website for more details and underground tour costs.
Timber supports inside the mine. Imagine working in this space all day long. (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
19. The National Vietnam Veteran's Museum at Newhaven on Phillip Island is the largest dedicated museum of its kind in Australia it will appeal to adults and children alike. They have planes and helicopters here, tanks and guns, some astonishingly good models and dioramas, medals, artefacts, and a cafe. The sound and light show in the large army tent is a must-see in which a holographic man steps us through the history of the Vietnam War. Click here to read a full review. Visit their website for more details and costs.
There is so Much to see at the National Vietnam Veterans' Museum (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
20. The Inverloch Shell Museum and Environment Centre does indeed have many shells on display but there is so much more. There is a touch table where you can pick up and feel the shells, themed shell collections, preserved sea creatures, shell art, fossils, minerals, crystals and aboriginal artefacts. Click here to read a full review. Visit their website for more details and cost.
The Touch Table at the Shell Museum (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
21. The Bunurong Coastal Drive runs for 14kms from Cape Paterson to Inverloch this scenic clifftop drive gives views over rugged coastal cliffs, rocky headlands, and sandy beaches to Bass Strait on the one side and the rolling rural hills of the Bass Coast on the other. Along the way stop at The Oaks, Twin Reefs, Shack Bay, Eagles Nest and the Caves. Click here for a full review. Visit the Parks Victoria website for more details.
The Rugged Cliffs at Shack Bay (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
22. The Wonthaggi Town Walk highlights the historical and iconic buildings in the town. There is no better way to really see a town than on foot. This is certainly true of Wonthaggi where the streets of the business district are home to much of the town's history, art and culture. This easy walking tour is my take on the points of interest. See heritage buildings, memorials, art, poetry, historic items and memorials. Throughout the walk you will pass some of Wonthaggi's many coffee shops and eateries; you may be tempted to take a break or two. Follow the route described here.
Ludbrook's Corner built in 1911 for a drapery business establihed in Wonthaggi in 1910. (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
23. Bass Coast Walks and Trails are abundant on Phillip Island and the Bass Coast, with around 40 to choose from. Walks traverse coastal and bushland areas, farmlands and heritage areas. You can obtain a hard copy booklet, Bass Coast Walks and Trails, from the visitor centres with details, level of difficulty ratings and maps. The booklet is in thin form and will fit in the back pocket of your jeans. Alternatively, you can obtain details from the Visit Bass Coast website.
The view from part of the Screw Creek Townsend Bluff Circuit Walk at Inverloch - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge
24. Panny's Phillip Island Chocolate Factory is not just a chocolate shop. It has interactive machines, games, chocolate exhibitions and hands-on chocolate making. There is a chocolate village and a chocolate waterfall. Visit their website for opening and tour times.
Image from Panny's Phillip Island Chocolate Factory Facebook Page
25, Bassine Specialty Cheeses sell handmade artisan farmhouse cheese from their family dairy in Grantville. Bassine produces a range of soft cheeses, including feta, brie, camembert, washed rind, coulommiers, halloumi, ricotta, quark, fruit cheese and marinated feta which they sell from their onsite shop and café. Visit their website for more details.
Image from Bassine Speciality Cheeses Facebook page
26. Beaches are a feature of the Bass Coast which has coastline on Westernport Bay and on the Bass Strait. Take your pick from child-friendly beaches to the surfing wilds of Cape Woolamai. Go swimming, fishing, sailing, surfing, paddleboarding or check out the rock pools. Check the Visit Bass Coast website for details of more than 20 beaches. To check safety details for any of these beaches visit the Surf Life Saving Beachsafe website or download the or download the Beachsafe App.
27. Paddle boarding, Surfing and Windsurfing. Jonathon Bouillir of SupWindSurf in Cowes offers lessons in stand up paddle boarding, surfing and wind surfing. Equipment is supplied. Visit the Cowes Info website for contact details and pricing.
A long walk on a Kilcunda beach - Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge