When Should you Visit Phillip Island?
In answering when is the best time to visits Phillip Island, you first have to ask yourself – how long are you looking to stay for, and what are you hoping to get out of your visit.
The two great things about visiting Phillip Island is that
1. Its got something for everyone
2. You can visit it all year round, and still enjoy yourself.
Therefore, whatever time you are planning to be in Victoria/Melbourne/Phillip Island, rest assured, its going to be a good time. But lets break this down a bit further.
Generally speaking, the most popular time of year to visit Phillip Island – its when a lot of “locals” (Melburnians and Suburban Dwellers) will make their way down to the Island, many of who have had holiday houses down this way since back in it’s “early” days (1950s/60s). As such, this is definitely the most busiest time of the year to visit, especially if you are planning on coming during the school holidays, which start in late December, and go all the way through to early February.
However, don’t be scared off by this, during the summer the weather is often a little cooler than some of the scorching summers Melbourne can ensure, and with a nice sea breeze, a good day during the Summer would range between mid to high 20s. As such, the beaches (in where there are many) are always a popular destination throughout this time of year. From the calm and safe waters of Cowes or Cape Woolami; to the large waves and amazing surf of Woolami and Flynns Beaches; to “not to heavy, not too light – just right” beaches of Smiths and YCW – there is always some fun in the sun to be had.
Cowes, the main township on the Island is often bustling throughout this time of the year, as the shops generally open a bit earlier, and stay open quite a bit later – a walk up and down Thompson Av, stopping at many of the beautiful boutiques, bars, and novelty shops is definitely worth the visit.
And if you are planning to stay late for the Penguin parade, keep in mind that throughout this time of year tickets do sell out very quickly (a few weeks in advance for some of the more popular dates), and the Penguin don’t arrive onto the beach until after 9pm; meaning if you are coming from Melbourne, it will be a very late return for you.
AUTUMN (Fall): Mar-May
Always a beautiful time of year in Victoria, Autumn is when a lot of our deciduous (European) trees come alive with colour. Although Phillip Island isn’t known for its rows upon rows of changing foliage, its still definitely an amazing time to visit, as generally the wildlife (in which there is plenty) is abundant during this time, as many are stocking up for the winter months. Generally by this time the summer crowds have levelled out, and Phillip Island has returned to its more natural and normal self.
A nature walk throughout Autumn will generally still bless you with the left-over summer heat of summer, whilst bringing with it cooler and more relieving evenings as the sun begins to set. Phillip Island truly does have a great array of nature walks as well – from plenty of beach-side walks; to walks through the native scrubs and wetlands at Rye; and even wandering up and over Phillip Island’s highest point out at Cape Woolami.
If you are visiting the Penguins throughout these months, they still are arriving fairly late – around about 8.30pm, however, do keep in mind that in April, we leave daylight savings behind, and wind the clocks back and hour, meaning that the Penguins start arriving around 7-7.30pm
Although it may be winter, and it definitely can get cold down in the southern parts of Victoria where Phillip Island resides, this does not mean its not a good time to visit. First things first, definitely bring a jacket – although we are in Australia, often down this way throughout the winter the temperatures can drop below 10 degrees (I know, its not as cold as other parts of the world – however, it can catch you off guard at times).
But, with your jacket readily available (who knows, you might not even need it) you are ready to explore Phillip Island, and generally during its least busiest time as well. As with any Island, Phillip Island definitely takes on a bit of a different look throughout the winter, as the shops wont be open as long, and things take on a bit of a slower, less bustling pace.
However, whether you are cosying up in one of the many beautiful cafes with a hot drink; outside discovering the fierce beauty of the windswept cliffs; or partaking in one of the many inside activities the Island has to offer, you definitely wont feel like you have a lack of things to do.
Step inside Amaze N Things, which will bedazzle and amaze you from your first step within the doors. If the weather is somewhat ok, you can venture out into the wood-pannel maze, and try your skills at locating the 4-flags in this unique and enjoyable maze. Or stay inside, and take on the illusion journey, as you work your way from room to room, being mesmerised and astounded as you go.
You’ll definitely want to allow a few hours here.
Head into the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, where, as the name suggests, plenty of delicious treats await. Take a wander through time, as you discover how it was chocolate came to be, and what they are doing to make it extra special here at the chocolate factory.
Take a trip out to the western side of the Island, where the Nobbies Centre and Artic Journey sits overlooking the western point.
If you are planning on visiting the Penguins throughout the winter, don’t worry, they are still come in – they come in every single night in fact – quite early during the winter though, as through the earliest timings here they are arriving on the beach by 5.30pm. The only recommendation we’d give you during this time is to bring a jacket…and another jacket…and a beanie…and a scarf….you get the idea.
For many, this is their favourite time of year to do their travelling around Victoria. The winter cold is starting to disappear, and in its place is replaced by some beautiful sunshine, blue skies, and new life in our flora and fauna. Though, disclaimer on this, Melbourne – and all of Southern Vic – is notorious for having 4 seasons in one day, so please don’t take this as a guarantee for any particular sort of weather.
Similar to the Autumn, this is a great time of year to enjoy the native surrounding Phillip Island has to offer – as the weather is generally still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors, but definitely not too hot that you’d feel compelled to go jumping into the ocean every 5 minutes.
With its slightly earlier sunset, this means that you can still enjoy a relatively early evening on Phillip Island, whilst still taking in the breathtaking sunsets over Westernport Bay. Head out to the Nobbies/Summerland areas, where the houses become fewer, and the windswept hillsides become more plentiful, directly overlooking the bay, and the western setting sun. Just keep in mind, if you are within the boundary of the Phillip Island Nature Park area, this area does close at sunset – so don’t expect to overstay your welcome, otherwise you will be moved on by one of the friendly rangers.