What to Expect on our Phillip Island Tour
Phillip Island, or Millowl as it’s been called for over 40,000 years, is one of those places that is a must-visit whilst in Melbourne. The ability to witness the Island’s natural beauty, to enjoy the flavours of the food and the wine, and to experience first hand the Island vibe that comes with this wildlife paradise is something that all travellers to Australia must do…and not just for the famed Phillip Island Penguin Parade either.
Tour Local is proud to be offering regular day tours down to Phillip Island, departing four days a week from Melbourne, and providing an immersive and in-depth experience to this humble corner of Australia. We pride ourselves on taking you “where the locals” go on our tours, enriching your experience through our local knowledge of the areas we visit, as well as providing that local touch – that only a true local can give.
So take a journey with us, and discover why Phillip Island with a Local is a must visit…
“This was the most amazing tour I’ve ever been on!! … best tour to see amazing wild life in Australia. This was the highlight of my trip in Australia!! Thank you again.” ~ Nat, April 2023
Begin your Journey
Your journey starts today at the Melbourne Arts Centre. We have chosen this as our central meeting point for a few main reasons
- Its easy to locate – with it’s giant spire (akin to the Eifel Tower) the Melbourne Arts Centre is a true Melbourne Landmark, and one that is able to be spotted for far and wide
- Its easy to get to – whether you are walking in from your hotel in the CBD, catching a train to Flinders St Station, or taking a famed Melbourne Tram; the Arts Centre is at the centre of the happenings within Melbourne
- Plenty to Do – arrive early, and spend some time looking through the Music Hall inside the Arts Centre; or enter into the National Gallery of Victoria for a look at some classical and contemporary art; or simply sit down at the cafe out front and enjoy a coffee…the choice is yours.
Its here where …
You will meet your friendly Guide – á true local of the area, and the person who you will come to know quite well over the next 8-10 hours as they share with you their passion and love for Phillip Island
You will board your luxury midi-coach – we take great pride in our fleet, always ensuring that they are providing you with a safe, comfortable and enjoyable journey. Because we offer small-group tours, even when we are out in our 25 seat midi-coach, you can ensure that not all the seats will be full, as we regularly travel with between 6-16 travellers. You can view our fleet here
We will get underway – alas, we start our drive down to Phillip Island. Along the way you will get to know not only our guide, as they give you some information on the day and most likely some bad jokes too; but also your fellow travellers as they will be the ones you will be creating your memories with today.
Stop 1 – The Farm
Our stop at Caldermeade Farm provides us our first taste (not literally) of animals on this tour.
Primarily a bit of a comfort stop, Caldermeade Farm is set up for visitors and the venue and the staff in it are very welcoming and warming.
Stretch your legs, grab a coffee, say hi to the little farm animals (baby goats, cows, deer, rabbits etc) – your time is yours here.
After about 30 minutes here, we are back on our bus and onwards to Phillip Island.
Arriving onto the Island
One of the main things that separates our tour from many others that visit Phillip Island is that we are all about spending our time on the Island itself, which is why ALL of our time (aside from our quick comfort stop at Caldermeade Farm of course) is spent on Phillip Island.
This also allows us to take our foot of the pedal once we get here – as although there is plenty to see, we are able to do so in a relaxed pace, allowing your to savour and enjoy the moment, rather that simply rushing from one place to another.
Arriving onto Phillip Island, we are greeted by the famed Phillip Island Bridge, which has stood here for over 50 years. A gateway to memories, this bridge takes us off the mainland of Australia, and onto the natural Island paradise that is Phillip Island.
Stop 2 – The Winery
Arriving at the Phillip Island Winery, we are instantly met by the beautiful vineyards, the historical heritage restaurant, and the rustic elegance of the cellar door – a true local hangout, and one that we feel we had to take our travellers to.
It is here where we take part in a private wine tasting at “The Yards”, where we are taken on an epicurean journey through 6 amazing vintages, accompanied by a delicious hand-made grazing platter full of local cheeses, meats and chutneys.
After our tasting, you are encouraged to take you glass and take your seat at our table – where lunch will soon be served, looking out over the magnificent vista out to the bay.
Lunch consists of an array of wood-fired pizzas, delicious chips (fries), and gourmet salads – we guarantee you won’t leave here hungry.
“Wonderful wine tasting and sumptuous lunch with our host Ray at Phillip Island winery. Such a beautiful setting, great service and impeccable food was served” ~ Lisa, Aug 2023
On the Island
As we make our way from the south side of Phillip Island to the north, we get a real feel for just how significant in size this Island is – 101sq/km to be exact. And although it may seem small in when compared to the mammoth landmass (and Island) that is Australia, it’s definitely not something you can simply walk from one side to the other in a matter of minutes (or even hours).
As we drive through the open fields and farmland, we can witness first hand the conservation efforts that have taken place here, and the efforts that locals and volunteers have gone to to ensure the the natural beauty still remains, and that the natural wildlife still reign.
Stop 3 – Cowes & The Beach
As you’d be getting the feel for by now – this tour is all about providing an in-depth, yet relaxed, experience of Phillip Island. With Cowes being the commercial hub of this idyllic coastal paradise, it would be a shame not to spend some time here, browsing through the boutique shops, enjoying a drink or two at the Cohiba Cocktail Bar or Ocean Reach Brewery, taking a stroll through the historic streetscape and long jetty, or even dusting off the old bathers and going for swim at the beautiful Cowes Beach. This is your time to relax, and spend an hour or two enjoying Cowes like a local would.
“Our stop in Cowes was also charming as the walk by the water is stunning. We even came upon an echidna.” ~ Margaret, May 2023
Stop 3.1 – The Koala Conservation Reserve
We understand that shopping, drinking, strolling, and swimming may not be for everyone – which is why we have included the option to come with us to the Koala Reserve whilst the rest of the group is enjoying Cowes.
At the Koala Reserve you are able to wander tree-top boardwalks to watch koalas up close in their natural habitat. Take a walk through the woodlands and enjoy the abundant birdlife, wallabies and echidnas. A true wildlife gem.
The best thing about all of this, is that the Koala reserve is all about conservation and sustainability, meaning that when you are viewing the wildlife here, you are viewing them in their natural habitat.
To the Point
The drive out to the western point of Phillip Island is a drive of untouched beauty – a natural spectacle to say the least. We will generally have time to stop off at a “locals beach” along the way; something we don’t advertise, but is just another one of the little gems we like to include.
Arriving into the Summerland’s area; which up until the 1980s was covered in houses, now given back entirely to wildlife, it is a sight to behold as we marvel at the rolling green hills, the sea battered cliffs, and the mighty ocean sprawling out in front of us. This is the Nobbies, and a must for any visit onto Phillip Island.
Stop 4 – The Nobbies at Golden Hour
Arriving here, we suggest you take a stroll along the boardwalk, admiring the stunning coastline as you do so, and catching glimpses of Penguins in their burrow, seals out on their rocks, and a plethora of other bird and animal life.
As you arrive back to the top lookout, your guide will greet you with your Golden Hour Sparkling Wine and Cheeses board; so that you can savour in the beautiful setting sun, whilst savouring the delicious taste of a local sparkling wine and other local delicacies.
“The coastline views made for incredible pictures.” ~ Lisa, Jul 2023
The Summerland’s Back Beach Road
For the next 20-30 minutes, we invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy one of the most scenic, captivating, and memorable drives in Australia as we make our way along the Summerland’s Back Beach Road and through this Wildlife Wonderland.
As we get off the beaten track, we are privileged to be able to witness 100s of little wallabies, jumping around in their natural habitat; as we are coming through just on dusk, now is the time that they come out to forage and feed. As we meander our way along the southern coastline of Phillip Island, you are also bare witness to the absolute stunning views as the rough waters of the southern ocean, lap up against the towering hills of this exposed landscape – truly a sight to behold, and one you won’t soon forget.
Stop 5 – The Penguin Parade
The pièce de résistance, and the main reason many people come to visit Phillip Island. Although we believe there is so much more to the Island than just the Penguin Parade, not even we as locals could go past this nightly wonder that has captivated millions over the decades. As a local establishment itself, we love that all the money made here at the Penguin Parade goes back into conservation efforts, and ensuring the survival of the centre and the Penguin population.
With over 30,000 Little (Fairy) Penguins calling the Island home, and with upwards of 1-2 thousand making their way onto Summerland beach each and every night – this is truly a spectacle to behold.
Enter through the world class visitor centre; take your seats at sunset and watch as raft after rafter of Little Penguins make their way onto the beach; and then meander back along the boardwalk as you walk along side the Penguins as they make their journey home.
“Penguins were adorable and did not disappoint.” ~ Lisa, Jul 2023
The Journey Home
We don’t bother you too much on the way home. Depending on the time of year, this journey can take place quite late (10pm), so many people opt to sit in silence and reflect on the day; update their socials with all their great pictures; sit and chat to newly made tour-friends; or yes, just sleep.
We will wake you up as we are nearing Melbourne so you can admire the beautiful skyline as we drive in – eventually dropping you back at the Arts Centre.
We bid you farewell, and wish you well on your future travels; but we do know, you will never forget your travels with Tour Local on our day tour to Phillip Island.
If you are wanting to find out more about this tour, or even make a booking – please feel free to reach out to us here