The Nobbies Boardwalk is surely one of the best short coastal walks you’ll ever do. Positioned at the southwesternmost tip of Phillip Island, a carefully constructed pathway guides you through a haven of Little Penguin warrens, offers views of incredible sea stacks and rock formations, provides the chance to spot fur seals and leads round to the wondrous Nobbies Blowhole. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, you can even head into The Nobbies Centre for some extra learning afterwards.
If that sounds right up your street, then read on. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about The Nobbies Boardwalk and beyond.
Table of Contents
About The Nobbies
If you head straight to the furthest tip west of Phillip Island, you’ll arrive at a place called The Nobbies. This spectacular headland, on the Summerland Peninsula, is home to a huge colony of Little Penguins and Fur Seals. In fact, The Nobbies has the highest population of Fur Seals in Australia, and there’s no better place to view them than from the boardwalk that circles around the headland.
The official name of this southwestern tip of Phillip Island is Point Grant. The Nobbies are, in fact, the name of the irregularly shaped rocky landforms that fall away from the main island. But, the entire area is now lovingly referred to as The Nobbies, and that works for me.
From the wonderful Nobbies Boardwalk, you’ll enjoy incredible basalt cliffs and witness the wild crashing waves of the Bass Strait smashing against them. In fact, after seeing this, it’ll come as no surprise to know that there’s a Nobbies Blowhole. In addition, the landscape of lush green bluffs ripple in every direction. Indeed, we can’t think of a better short coastal walk jam-packed with so much dramatic scenery and excellent wildlife!
Where Is The Nobbies Boardwalk?
The Nobbies Centre and Boardwalk is located at the end of Ventnor Road at the very southwestern tip of Phillip Island, Victoria. As mentioned, the area is also known as Point Grant and is part of the Summerland Peninsula.
To help get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map of the area on Google Maps.
The Nobbies Boardwalk Map & Stats
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 800m
- Time: 20 minutes
- Accumulated elevation gain: 15m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: The Nobbies Centre
- Map: AllTrails
The Nobbies Boardwalk Description
From The Nobbies Centre Car Park, a carefully laid boardwalk leads you through the nesting area of the Little Penguins. Keep right and follow the trail that hugs closest to the cliff edge. Certainly, if you’re lucky, you may see a few penguins in their burrows that decided not to head out for a day of fishing.
The Nobbies Boardwalk offers excellent vantage points across The Nobbies and to Seal Rocks beyond. Indeed, the landscape feels wild and untouched and the consideration that’s been taken in merging tourism with natural habitat is highly commendable.
As you walk along The Nobbies Boardwalk, you’ll see the magnificent Seal Rocks at the end of the headland. Seal Rocks are actually two rocks, known as Seal Rock and Black Rock. Collectively, they are home to the largest fur seal colony in Australia. Amazingly, they make up a quarter of the entire population, with around 5000 seal pups born here every year. Recognised by their brown fur and external ears, you may spot some swimming in the waters below as you take to the boardwalk.
The Nobbies Blowhole
There are a few viewing platforms to stop at along The Nobbies Boardwalk trail. They each provide slightly different views of the coast and a chance to spot some of the playful wildlife out and about. Eventually, you’ll reach the end of The Nobbies Boardwalk and catch sight of the blowhole.
On days of high swell, huge sprays of whitewash water are thrown into the air as the waves break on the rugged coastline and into the sea cave, known as The Nobbies Blowhole. Indeed, it’s quite the spectacle and has become a firm favourite of The Nobbies attractions.
The Nobbies Boardwalk is easily one of the most popular attractions on Phillip Island. But, we found it wasn’t too overcrowded during our winter visit. Simply follow The Nobbies Boardwalk back up to the visitor centre to complete the walk.
Useful Things To Know Before You Go
Below, we’ll touch on a few useful things to know before heading to The Nobbies on Phillip Island, including how to get there, the best time to visit and a little information about The Nobbies Centre, which is certainly worth stopping in at after the boardwalk.
How to Get to The Nobbies Boardwalk, Phillip Island
The easiest way to get to The Nobbies for the boardwalk trail is to drive directly to The Nobbies Centre Car Park, located here. The car park is large, but as The Nobbies Centre and Boardwalk are both popular Phillip Island attractions, you’ll find the car park can fill quite quickly on the weekends and public/school holidays. If the car park is full, we’ve heard there is a free shuttle running every 15 minutes from the nearby Penguin Parade and Phillip Island Visitor Centre, located here.
Bear in mind that The Nobbies Centre Car Park and access road are only open between dawn and dusk. After dark, the car park and Ventnor Road, which leads to The Nobbies Centre, are closed. This is to protect the Little Penguins as they return home from a day out at sea. Of course, to witness this, you should head to the Penguin Parade (guide coming soon).
Although it’s possible to take public transport to Phillip Island, it certainly won’t get you to The Nobbies. So, to that end, we recommend driving yourself. If you don’t have access to your own vehicle, consider hiring something, especially if you want to see more of Phillip Island.
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.
Best Time to Visit The Nobbies
Weekdays and winter are generally much quieter times to visit The Nobbies. Dan and I visited in winter and saw plenty of wildlife, including penguins and seals. But, summer can offer a more guaranteed sighting of penguins, although with that comes a much busier period. The summer season runs between November and April. The days are longer so the access road to The Nobbies remains open for longer.
For good weather, plenty of wildlife and fewer crowds, consider visiting in the shoulder season and specifically the months of May and October.
The Nobbies Centre
Once you’ve completed The Nobbies Boardwalk, you should definitely pop into The Nobbies Centre. Here, you’ll find The Antarctic Journey, which is a truly fantastic interactive exhibition about the climate, conservation and wildlife. You’ll also find a children’s play area, cafe and gift shop.
- Opening hours: 10am to 6pm
- Ticket price:
- Adult (16 years+) $15.00
- Child (4-15 years) $7.50
- Family (2 adults and 2 children) $37.50
- Australian Pensioner $10.50
Most Popular Nobbies Tour
- Koala conservation reserve
- The Nobbies to see fur seals
- Summerland Beach for the Penguin Parade
Is The Nobbies Boardwalk Dog Friendly?
Sorry, no dogs are allowed at The Nobbies or on the boardwalk. Of course, this is because of the delicate nature of nesting birds and penguins.
Where to Stay on Phillip Island
As Phillip Island is so close to Melbourne, it’s a very popular place to visit for a quick overnight stay or a long weekend getaway. As such, there’s plenty of accommodation to choose from. So, below are some of the most highly rated accommodation options, and not far from The Nobbies Boardwalk.
Top 3 Phillip Island Accommodation
Other Things to Do Nearby
The Nobbies Boardwalk is just one wonderful attraction on Phillip Island. Indeed there’s plenty to see and do and below is a selection of some of our favourite natural attractions (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?
- Forrest Caves: explore these extraordinary orange-red sea caves on the beach.
- Pyramid Rock Lookout: a quick walk from the car park brings you out to views of this excellent sea stack.
- Churchill Island: there’s an even smaller island at Phillip Island, with an easy circular walk around it.
Read more: Best Things To Do On Phillip Island (guide coming soon)
Below are our top gear essentials for visiting Phillip Island and doing The Nobbies Boardwalk. You should also pack a hat, binoculars and sunscreen.
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.
How Long Is The Nobbies Boardwalk?
The Nobbies Boardwalk is 800m long and takes less than 30 minutes to walk, depending on how much you stop to look at wildlife and the amazing views, of course.
Do You Have To Pay To Go to The Nobbies?
You need to pay to see the exhibitions inside The Nobbies Centre. It’s well worth it though. The Nobbies Boardwalk is free.
Can You See Seals From The Nobbies Boardwalk?
Yes. You can often see the fur seals bobbing about in the water.
What Time Do The Nobbies Open?
The Nobbies is open from 10am until 6pm.
Nobbies Boardwalk Bonus Tips
- Facilities: there are toilets at The Nobbies Centre.
- Accessibility: most of the boardwalk is both pram and wheelchair friendly.
- Binoculars: if you want a really good look at Seal Rocks and the fur seals swimming in the sea, be sure to bring your binoculars. In addition, there’s also plenty of birdlife around.
- Parks Pass: if you purchase a Parks Pass, you can get a discounted rate to visit the Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Reserve, Antarctic Journey (The Nobbies Centre), and Churchill Island Heritage Farm. It certainly works out great value and you can find more information here.
Have you walked The Nobbies Boardwalk on Phillip Island? 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.