How to See the Best of Phillip Island in One Day

Originally Published on Half a World Away by Katie Milne

A week or two ago we took a mini trip down to Phillip Island for one day and one night. Phillip Island is around about a two-hour drive south of Melbourne and is a popular holiday destination with plenty of wildlife and beautiful beaches! This was my second trip down to Phillip Island; however, the last trip was a little more booze-orientated (standard).

For such a small island, this place has quite a lot to offer. Although we visited in winter this time, you can still have a great time enjoying the scenery and attractions in a short time frame.

Where to Stay
This time we stayed at The Ramada Resort, which is located in the center of the island, making it really accessible to everything. As Phillip Island is so small, you can pretty much get anywhere in 10 minutes (if you have a car), so location of your accommodation doesn’t necessarily matter. We chose the Ramada Resort as we were only staying for the night and, after scoping out AirBnB places, it was actually the cheapest and easiest option. We paid just $129 for the night for a cute little cabin with its own kitchenette, TV and A/C. The resort is huge and has outdoor pool facilities, which we didn’t get a chance to try, unfortunately. There is one hostel based at the San Remo end of Phillip Island, which I stayed at last time—this is a great hostel; however, if you’d like to be closer to Cowes, I’d suggest looking for something else.

Where to Eat
Ah, my first love. Of course I had to include something about where to eat on Phillip Island. There’s not a huge variety of food places but we still managed to find a decent feed on the island. I recommend going into Cowes as there’s more of a selection there.

For breakfast I would definitely suggest eat at Mad Cowes café in Cowes. I ordered the bean cassoulet, which was epic and a huge portion. The eggs benny also looked like a good choice.

For dinner we ate at The Fat Seagull. We literally stumbled upon this place after our trip to the Penguin Parade. There was a special menu mostly containing pasta dishes which we’re okay with, and there was a bit of a long wait as they were busy. But the tasty food made up for that.

Things to Do
Koala Sanctuary
For anyone that knows me, you will know that I am obsessed with Australian animals (not spiders), especially koalas and kangaroos. We visited the Koala Sanctuary pretty much as soon as we arrived in the afternoon. It was a pretty quick trip—not much else to do apart from walk around the area and spot koalas. We saw a few really close up, which I got really excited about… ahem:

Smith’s Beach
A short drive away was Smith’s Beach. I’ve been here before so I knew how beautiful it was—I’m still not bored of Australia’s beautiful coastlines. We stopped off here for a bit before heading into Cowes for a quick bite to eat (shock) before the Penguin Parade.

Penguin Parade
The best time to see the penguins is in the evening, so make sure you leave time to do this around 5-7 PM. You’re seated down right on the beach and wait for the little fellas to come running in after a long day out fishing. This is OK, but I would say the best bit is going back onto the embankment where you get to see them really close up! Do note that, even though we went in the off-season, it was still very busy, so maybe buy tickets ahead online here.

So that’s it. A whirlwind visit but definitely possible and worth it!

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