Churchill Island is a tiny island adjoining Phillip Island in Victoria, Australia. The wee landmass is a wonderful place to spend the day, soaking up its uber-chill atmosphere, history-rich environment and beautiful coastal views. Indeed, the simple 5km walking trail encompassing the island is a relaxed affair and a visit to the Churchill Island Heritage Farm provides a little something for everyone. And so, in this guide, we’ll cover the top 4 things to do when you visit Churchill Island, Victoria.
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About Churchill Island
Churchill Island is a tiny patch of land in Western Port, Victoria. A small bridge connects it with Phillip Island, another small island in Victoria, Australia. Before Europeans arrived in the 1800s, the Bunurong People, who are the traditional custodians of the land, first walked the island known to them as Moonar’mia.
With European arrival, Churchill Island was cultivated and a farm was established. Today, it’s the history of the farm and gardens which are celebrated and open to explore. Whilst, looping around the island, is a coastal trail offering wonderful views of the surrounding coastline and wider Churchill Island Marine National Park. You can even enjoy views back across to Phillip Island and onwards to mainland Victoria.
Additionally, you’ll find plenty of wildlife on Churchill Island, including the Cape Barren Geese. You’ll generally see them forming a haphazard guard of honour as you cross the bridge from Phillip Island. And, if you don’t spot them straight away, you’ll certainly hear them.
Best Phillip Island Tour From Melbourne
- Koala conservation reserve
- The Nobbies to see fur seals
- Summerland Beach for the Penguin Parade
Where Is Churchill Island?
Churchill Island is located on the eastern side of Phillip Island, just above the town of Newhaven. It’s very close to the entrance of Phillip Island from mainland Victoria, and so easy to call in either on arrival to Phillip Island or just before you leave.
To help get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map of the area on Google Maps.
Things to Do on Churchill Island
Churchill Island makes for the perfect day trip when visiting Phillip Island. There’s a handful of things to do which are both family-friendly and relaxing. So, it’s a case of kicking back and soaking in the views and learning some history when you visit. Below are some of the best things to do that you can easily do during a visit.
1. Churchill Island Walks
Of course, we’ll start with Churchill Island walks. Because, well, you know us.
Churchill Island Loop: beginning from the Churchill Island Heritage Farm, there’s a wonderful 5km loop walk that encompasses the whole island. The walk is easy, flat and shouldn’t take more than an hour. As you circle the island, you’ll get to enjoy quiet and tranquil views of Western Port Bay. You’ll also see ancient basalt bedrock and twisted Moonah trees, which are very cool. Additionally, there’s plenty of birdlife and wildlife to keep an eye out for too.
North Point Loop: for an even shorter walk, you can just follow the 2km circuit trail around the North Point of the island. Again, the walk starts and finishes at Churchill Island Heritage Farm.
2. Churchill Island Heritage Farm
Churchill Island Heritage Farm is perhaps the biggest attraction on the island. Here, you can visit Amess House and other heritage homes, as well as experience general farming activities such as cow milking and sheep shearing. There are even wagon and tractor rides available too. Certainly, it’s a great attraction for all the family, although you’ll need to purchase a ticket to visit. Churchill Island opening times and ticket prices are as follows.
- Opening Hours: 10am–4:30pm
- Adult (16 years+) – $15.00
- Child (4-15 years) – $7.50
- Family (2 adults and 2 children) – $37.50
- Australian Pensioner (ID required) – $10.50
You can purchase tickets here.
3. Churchill Island Farmers Market
The Churchill Island Farmers Market is a great place to head to grab some of the best local produce grown and made on Phillip Island and the wider Gippsland region. Held on the first Saturday of every month, it’s certainly a great place to visit to refuel after a picturesque walk around the island. Of course, with over 40 stalls, you’ll find everything and anything from fruit and veg, seafood, wine, jams, chutneys and bread.
Additionally, during summer, the Churchill Island Farmers Market runs more regularly.
Opening Hours: 8am–1pm // first Saturday of the month.
4. Visitor Centre & The Farmhouse Kitchen
The visitor centre is the perfect place to soak up some island history at the wonderful exhibition on display. In addition, there’s the popular Farmhouse Kitchen, where it’s possible to grab a delicious meal that consists of seasonal and locally sourced produce. There’s even the option to sit in or outdoors, where you’ll find a small selection of lawn games to keep you entertained.
Opening Hours: Mon–Fri 10am–4pm // Sat & Sun 9am–4:30pm
Other Things to Do Nearby
Churchill Island is a great place to come for a half-day or full-day trip to Phillip Island. So, you’ll have plenty of time to see and do other things around the island. Below is a selection of some of our other favourite natural attractions nearby (guides coming soon).
- Cape Woolamai Walk: enjoy this fantastic coastal walk around the southern point of Phillip Island to the Pinnacles Lookout and beyond.
- George Bass Coastal Walk: an absolutely stunning coastal walk beginning in San Remo at the gateway to Phillip Island.
- Penguin Parade: have you even been to Phillip Island if you haven’t seen the Penguin Parade?
- The Nobbies: be sure to look out for penguins and fur seals at the southwestern tip of Phillip Island.
- Pyramid Rock Lookout: a quick walk from the car park brings you out to views of this excellent sea stack.
- Forrest Caves: enjoy these brilliant orange sea caves at low tide.
Read more: Best Things To Do On Phillip Island (guide coming soon)
How to Get to Churchill Island
Certainly, the easiest way to get to Churchill Island is with your own set of wheels. From Melbourne, you’re looking at a distance of 130km and a little under a two hour drive.
It isn’t possible to take public transport to Churchill Island, but you can take public transport as far as Newhaven on Phillip Island. From there, you’ll need to walk across the bridge to Churchill Island. The walk is about 3.5km long and takes around one hour. You can check transport from Melbourne to Phillip Island here.
As you can see, it’s much more convenient to drive yourself. But, if you don’t have a car, we recommend hiring something.
If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.
How To Get To Churchill Island From Phillip Island
From Phillip Island, the road to get to Churchill Island is very straightforward. Along the B420 Phillip Island Road, you’ll turn onto Samual Amess Drive and cross over onto the island. Additionally, there’s plenty of parking at the Churchill Island Heritage Farm Car Park.
Where to Stay
Although you can’t technically stay on Churchill Island, there are plenty of wonderful accommodation options on neighbouring Phillip Island. Below are some of the most highly rated accommodations, close to the island.
Top 3 Phillip Island Accommodation
Churchill Island FAQs
Below, we’ll answer a few commonly asked questions about visiting Churchill Island, Victoria.
How Big Is Churchill Island?
How Did Churchill Island Get its Name?
When James Grant disembarked the Lady Nelson in 1801, the seeds he planted to cultivate on the island were given to him by John Churchill, an Englishman from Devon. And so, he subsequently named Churchill Island after him. As a result, the island is the first European garden in Victoria.
Is Churchill Island Dog Friendly?
No, dogs aren’t allowed on the island.
Can You Drive to Churchill Island?
Yes, in fact, that’s the easiest way to visit. Although, it’s possible to walk across from Phillip Island also.
How Long Does it Take to Walk Around Churchill Island?
To walk around the whole island takes roughly one hour.
Is Churchill Island Free to Visit?
It’s free to visit if you intend on just walking around the coastal trail. But, you’ll need a ticket to visit the Churchill Island Heritage Farm.
Below are our top gear essentials for visiting Phillip Island and the surrounding area.
Osprey Skarab 30
The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.
Osprey Ultralight Raincover
A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.
BUFF Original Ecostretch
The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.
To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.
- Parks Pass: if you purchase a Parks Pass, you can get a discounted rate to visit the Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Reserve, Antarctic Journey and Churchill Island Heritage Farm. It certainly works out great value. You can find more information here.
- Accessibility: the island is accessible for all abilities. Even the coastal walk is wheelchair and pushchair-friendly.
Have you visited? Let us know in the comments below.
We acknowledge and respect the First Nations people as the Traditional Custodians of the land/water that we visited and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.