There are so many things to see and do on Phillip Island for families seeking their next vacation away and a photographers paradise.
At least this is what we discovered when we got here on our recent single parent travel to the region. We had learned of some of the things to do through luxury travel experts and blogs.
However, as we would later find, Phillip Island is one of the few places that cannot be fully explored – Attractions are everywhere so here are some of the ones we would personally recommend:
Phillip Island is famous for fairy penguins, and this needs to definitely be on your list of things to do on Phillip Island for families.
The Penguin Parade gives you an opportunity to get closer to penguins as they start appearing during sunset as they waddle up from the beach in groups and head for their little burrows or hutches in the sides of the hills. Once with only a population of 8,000, the Penguins were an endangered species on the island. Now the population is 32,000 which is fantastic. You should, therefore, plan this tour for the late afternoon/early evening as the Penguins are always a ‘no-show’ during the day.
I loved how they have Penguin pedestrian staff monitors. Should the penguins decide to cross over on a human walkway, they staff will stop the humans and draw a rope as these precious little ones pass by.
Please note that there is no photography allowed, so this is a time to sit, and actually engage in the event as they pass right before you!
The 4 Park Pass includes Penguin Parade, Koala Conservancy Center, Churchill Island Heritage Farm, and Antarctic Journey.
Dinner and Music At The Rusty Water Brewery
Don’t be fooled by the name – The Rusty Water Brewery is a special place that is only rusty by name and not by nature and ‘rusty’ refers to the color of the brew. We visited this restaurant on Friday for dinner and would highly recommend it for the relaxed atmosphere, and incredible cuisine and an ideal place to dine on Phillip Island for families.
Make sure to order a Tasting Paddle – a wooden long paddle is delivered to your table with 4 glasses of their own brews of beer. The most famous is the koala Pale Ale (and 4 packs are available to take home as a souvenir).
We then followed up with some freshly baked bread and dipping oil which Explorason devoured.
The wonderful is sure to have something for all the family, and I personally can recommend the Barramundi which was flown in fresh and cooked to perfection by the chef. Be aware the menu is seasonal, and they do try to source local produce including fabulous Purple Hen Wine.
So, again, don’t be fooled, they don’t deal with beer alone. We enjoyed the acoustic music played by a local artist at this restaurant that evening. It made the place more welcoming and memorable.
Glamping – Luxury Camping!
Our time on Phillip Island was made extra special by The Sheltered Glamping Co. when we stayed in their new luxury family-sized tent known as the Emperor Safari.
Here you feel nature and modernity blended together in serene surroundings. We were able to use luxury facilities while still interacting with the Australian nature in its best form. This permanent tent has a wooden floor and is weatherproof, which made us have a peaceful night that ended with the beautiful whistles of birds to wake us in the morning, and wallabies grazing nearby. What a way to wake up and start a memorable exploration of Phillip Island for families who are lucky enough to stay here. They even have table tennis, so it is back to games and family fun when you book this family holiday glamping style.
Watch out for our separate article (with loads more info and photos) coming out soon about our glamping experience.
Drive to the very end of the island and you will be rewarded with the most magnificent views. We stopped to photograph wallabies eating grasses on the side of the road as the sun glistened on the water below.
Step out of your vehicle for a short walk and you will be rewarded if you are lucky with some fairy penguins – something that delights both children and adults. There is a wooden boardwalk so you can take a pram or wheelchair too.
This is a FREE location on the Phillip Island for families to visit at any time of the day.
The Antarctic Journey can be experienced at Nobbies Centre and is something I’d highly recommend. The center uses modern technology to give visitors a little experience of life in the Antarctic and honestly, you feel like these beautiful fairy penguins, whales and seals are actually there with you. It is SO much fun! It is a beautiful sight to behold and there are quite a few interactive activities that are also great for education and worldschooling for children right through to older teens.
We were amazed by the technology and the lessons we learned, as well as the fun activities we engaged in. I’d suggest starting your day here as you explore Phillip Island for families who are on holidays.
The 4 Park Pass sold by Phillip Island Nature Parks includes Penguin Parade, Koala Conservancy Center, Churchill Island Heritage Farm, and Antarctic Journey.
Panny’s Chocolate Factory and Curry Lunch
Who would have thought that a world of chocolate could be so much fun? This is a wonderland for chocolate lovers starting with a giant chocolate ticket you get to eat upon entry. Just about everything here at Phillip Island Chocolate Factory is made of chocolate. There are fun numerous educational interactive activities you can be involved in from the little kiddies right through to the adults.
Some of the things that might impress you include a chocolate village, chocolate statues, and a large portrait made up of truffles. You will also find an opportunity to see a chocolate waterfall, which happens to be the largest in the world.
After our time here, we believe that this place deserves the name “Panny’s Amazing World of Chocolate” given to it as it really is amazing and loads of fun.
Before you leave, just make sure that you visit the beautifully designed photo area for photos to remember Phillip Island for families who had a ‘blast’ with chocolate. Also, there is a FREE arcade game section included in your tour ticket where you can win chocolates!
When you have finished with all that chocolate, we’d highly recommend sitting down to a value-for-money platter of curries, rice, and papadam. Great value and kids meals and gorgeous cappuccinos are also available. Even if you don’t like chocolate, why not dine here as an affordable family meal option?
Churchill Island Heritage Farm
The Churchill Island Heritage Farm is a peaceful place to take a stroll as you have a glimpse of how ancient Australia looked like – their farming practices and way of life and is the oldest existing farm in Victoria.
You can connect to Churchill Island with a skinny one-way bridge and then head on in for family fun as you ride the tractor or see some other classic farming activities. This is something that is ideal for younger visitors and those visiting Australia internationally.
The 4 Park Pass includes Penguin Parade, Koala Conservancy Center, Churchill Island Heritage Farm, and Antarctic Journey.
Seal Watching Cruise
‘Incredible’ is the word I would use to describe this cruise! Wildlife Coast Cruises give you an opportunity to get closer to the seals in the sea. The seals are so friendly and seem to notice when they are being watched. No, they aren’t fed to entice them to the boat, they love the movement of the water and are just friendly souls. They put up quite a show that is a bit interesting as they play around the vessel.
You might want to grab your camera and take a perfect picture of the whole experience, or, pop the camera down, and just be in the moment.
Interacting with the crew on the ship was so much welcomed as we got to learn a lot about marine life and seals in specific. Plus there were refreshments, and near the end, the kids had a lesson on steering the vessel and then gained their certificate as a Junior Captain.
Whale watching tours in winter are also on offer.
Family Dining At La Porchetta Restaurant
A new restaurant not to be missed on the island that is an Italian restaurant is La Porchetta. Clean, modern, relaxed and ideal for families this restaurant is a step up from your pub meal and serves a range of Italian cuisines.
We loved and admired their belief in the importance of communal eating (Italian style) and because of this, we ended up chatting the whole night to a lovely couple at the table next to us. Apparently, family plays a central role in its operations, so you and your little or big ones will be well taken care of – whether it be a high chair or their favorite kid’s meal.
You will find enough space for you as a family or group of friends when you visit this restaurant, and you will love the freshly made food – prepared to order, and the great range of drinks on offer too.
Don’t forget to leave space for one of their fabulous Italian desserts. Perfect times at La Porchetta Restaurant on Phillip Island for families wanting a relaxed night out at an affordable price.
A Maze’N Things
If you are looking for a magical world, then this is the place to be. It is an inside/outside style theme park which creates a display of illusion, mazes, and magic. It’s bigger than you think – so you could spend a few hours or even a whole day here easily. You might want to set aside more time for this place as there is so much to be seen and done – and sadly we ran out of time. I think this could be an entire day in itself – even if you arrived when they opened – there are just so many fun things for the family here!
You might get dizzy trying to figure out how in the world such magical displays are made possible in the new section of Magic Manor – and to this day I am still baffled by one interactive attraction in here – I won’t spoil it though, you will just have to go and find out for yourself!
Don’t worry though, since you can just take off your head and put it on a tray and allow it to be used as “Today’s Special”. Really? Prepare to be amazed!
Attached to the side of Amaze N’ Things is also Putt-Putt, an outdoor wooden maze, and also a climbing area called Sky Trail, besides all the inside activities and a restaurant. This is an amazing entertainment package on Phillip Island for families.
Koala Conservatory Centre
Right opposite the attraction above is the Koala Conservatory Centre and it is an ideal place for International tourists to see a koala in its natural habitat. The Koala Conservatory presents you with an opportunity to watch Koalas as they play, sit in trees, or get closer to you for that perfect photo. They are so lovely, flurry and adorable, but you can’t of course, touch them as they are native and in their own vegetation. there are several walks and areas to see the koalas
The 4 Park Pass includes Penguin Parade, Koala Conservancy Centre, Churchill Island Heritage Farm, and Antarctic Journey.
Photo Rangers Photography Workshop
Explorason loves photography and when we learned that Dale from Photo Rangers teaches workshops either one-on-one or in a group, we thought this might be perfect for my teenager.
Explorason and Dale went off to an area of the island known well to him (Cape Woolamai) and as an expert instructor, he then proceeded to educate my son teenager in the art and skills of photography – so much so that he didn’t want the lesson to end.
Taking a personalized workshop enabled Dale as an instructor to work one-on-one with the specifics of my son’s camera and equipment and also to guide and instruct him on his level.
As a parent, I noticed a definite change in the intense excitement and passion my son showed in his photography in following days of our travels.
I’d highly recommend Dale as a lovely and down to earth professional photography instructor. This is suitable for older teens and adults who are keen on improving their photography. In all the excitement of getting my son to the workshop, I left my camera back on charge at the glamping site, but thankfully, I still managed to snap a few pics on my iPhone of these two fully immersed in their photography.
Luxury Picnic Under The Stars
If you have a night off from the little ones or would like a romantic picnic then Island Days are here to help take your Phillip Island vacation to the next level.
They offer a professional staging for you either on the beach or at your glamping or camping site with an event package tailored to your personal needs.
I was privileged to return back from our time at Cape Woolamai to find a campfire lit, plus a gorgeous and elaborate relaxation area set up with rugs cushions, lanterns and candles ready to end our weekend on Phillip Island in style. My only regret is that we mistimed the daylight and had trouble capturing the beauty that really was so special around this event.
I loved the twinkling lights wrapped around the pine tree branches as I sipped my wine and enjoyed the delicious platter. For those of you who like the luxurious, glamorous or relaxed style; would like to pop the ‘big question’, or are celebrating a special occasion, then this might be the perfect set up for you.
Nature has a way of knowing and availing what the eye desires to see. At this place, you will be able to see a beautiful natural display of pyramid rock formations in the sea. It stretches all the way from the Pyramid Rock Road’s Southern end all the way to Berrys Beach Road.
Enjoy this walk along the coastline area of Phillip Island for families who just want to relax. Whether you enjoy the hike or just drive in for a quick photo, both are FREE, but it is best to check tides before you go.
Enjoy Breakfast Overlooking The Sea At The Cape Kitchen
On our way out of Philip Island, we decided to pop into The Cape Kitchen for breakfast. This Highly acclaimed restaurant is located a little distance from the area where the bridge to the mainland connects the island. We were stunned by the beautiful view as we walked in and how serene it felt to be in this place.
Its neutral and seaside interior design is perfection in itself and is highly sought after on Phillip Island for families who like quality and serenity blended as one.
From here, you are able to get a beautiful view of the famous Southern Ocean. The food here is freshly cooked and seasoned by chefs who seem to have impeccable knowledge on Australian cuisine – all made to order.
We did enjoy our breakfast immensely, in fact, I order a second coffee at the end as I just didn’t want our time on Phillip Island to come to an end.
The tranquility and wonderful staff here made us enjoy it even more.
We spent three nights on Phillip Island but if I had it all over again I would suggest 5 – 7 nights for a family, as there is a lot more to do than I expected. I have only listed places we personally experienced so I can offer true recommendations. There are so many more places we just didn’t get the time to discover. Hmmm – we might just have to head back again! I’d definitely suggest Phillip Island for families who wish to enjoy their well-earned vacation. It’s a great place to bond as you enjoy the nature of Phillip Island around you.
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