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Top 5 Phillip Island Tours From Melbourne

Top 5 Phillip Island Tours From Melbourne

Phillip Island is a wonderfully wild and popular place to visit in Victoria, Australia, just a short distance from Melbourne. Although we think visiting independently is the best way to experience Phillip Island, ensuring you get to see as much of its natural beauty and abundant wildlife as possible, we understand that’s not always possible. Luckily, there are plenty of Phillip Island tours from Melbourne that are pretty fantastic, and include access to the penguin parade, which certainly shouldn’t be missed.

So, in this guide, we’ll detail the top 5 Phillip Island tours from Melbourne, and why they might be the tour for you.

Why Choose a Phillip Island Tour From Melbourne?

Visiting Phillip Island is one of the most popular trips to make from Melbourne. Indeed, given its proximity to Victoria’s capital, taking a day tour from Melbourne to Phillip Island is not only very straightforward but also extremely popular.

Of course, if you can spare longer than a day at Phillip Island, then you absolutely must. This incredible island is chokka full of natural attractions, incredible beaches and unbelievable wildlife. In addition, you’ll find that some of the very best tours, including boat cruises, only depart from Phillip Island. So, it makes staying in Phillip Island all the more appealing.

But, we lead busy lives, and sometimes a day trip from Melbourne is all the time we have to spare. By taking a tour, it means planning, transport, ticket prices and logistics to Phillip Island are all taken care of. Having done some of these activities ourselves, Dan and I can highly recommend choosing a Phillip Island tour from Melbourne that includes the penguin parade. In particular, the Penguin Plus pass, which includes watching the penguins from Summerland Beach as they return home from a day of fishing.

Which Phillip Island Tour Should You Choose?

Given the wealth of tour options, it can be difficult to know which Phillip Island tour from Melbourne to choose. But, don’t worry, we’re here to help.

The 5 Phillip Island tours from Melbourne listed below are compiled from the most highly rated and popular tours on GetYourGuide and Viator. These are two online tour companies Dan and I use a lot and have had really good trips with. So, we’ve saved you the hassle of trying to narrow down the best Phillip Island tours, and condensed the list into the top 5 options below.

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of each of the top tours in Phillip Island. That way, you can figure out which tour is best for you. Also, we’ll include a list of tours you can do from Phillip Island itself, rather than from Melbourne.

Let’s take a look.

The Pinnavles on Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island Tour from Melbourne
The Pinnacles, Cape Woolamai

1. Penguin Parade and Koalas Tour

The highly rated Penguin Parade and Koalas Tour with GetYourGuide is the best full-day trip from Melbourne to Phillip Island.

From central Melbourne, you’ll travel down to Phillip Island where you’ll first stop at the Koala Conservation Reserve, before heading to Cape Woolamai for some beach time. Then, you’ll head across to The Nobbies, where you can marvel at the incredible landscape and spot little penguins and fur seals.

The last call of the day is heading to the penguin parade, where your ticket gives you access to Summerland Beach. This is the premium penguin experience, where you’ll sit at dusk and patiently wait for the little penguins to return from the sea. They scramble right by you as they hurry back to their burrows, which litter the dunes behind you. Dan and I absolutely loved this experience and highly recommend it.

Click here to book the Penguin Parade and Koalas Tour.

Penguin Parade and Koalas Tour

Summerland beach at dusk for the penguin parade tour on Phillip Island
  • Koala Conservation Reserve
  • The Nobbies and beaches
  • Penguin Parade Plus at Summerland Beach

2. Phillip Island Penguins & Wildlife Day Tour

A similar GetYourGuide tour to the above is the Penguins and Wildlife Full-Day Tour to Phillip Island. The day trip visits the Koala Conservation Reserve, Cape Woolamai, and then the Grand Prix Circuit, which is in the middle of the island. So, if you’re a sports fan in the family, this is a great option.

At the end of the day, you’ll visit The Nobbies for seal spotting, before heading to the Penguin Parade. Here, your ticket includes entry to the main parade, where you’ll watch the penguins come ashore and waddle close to the boardwalks. This ticket is not the Penguin Plus like above, so you won’t have access to Summerland Beach to enjoy a more up-close and personal penguin experience.

Click here to book the Penguins and Wildlife Full-Day Tour.

Penguins and Wildlife Full-Day Tour

two penguins on Summerland Beach on the Phillip Island penguin tour
  • Koala Conservation Reserve
  • Cape Woolamai & Grand Prix Circuit
  • Penguin Parade

3. Phillip Island Penguin Parade Eco Tour

If your main aim is to purely experience the magical wildlife on Phillip Island, then the Phillip Island Penguin Parade Eco Tour will be right up your street.

After leaving Melbourne, your tour will head straight for the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park on Phillip Island. Here, you’ll get to see a huge amount of Aussie wildlife, including wombats, echidnas, bilbies, potoroos and tassie devils.

You’ll then head to The Nobbies, where you can look for little penguins in their burrows, and try to spot seals out on Seal Rocks. Lastly, you’ll head to Summerland Beach to witness the incredible moment hundreds of little penguins return to shore after a day out fishing.

Click here to book the Phillip Island Penguin Parade Eco Tour.

Phillip Island Penguin Parade Eco Tour

Little penguin in its burrow on The Nobbies on a phillip Island penguin tour
  • Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park
  • The Nobbies
  • Penguin Parade Plus

4. Puffing Billy and Penguin Parade Combo Tour

This fantastic 12-hour long Phillip Island tour from Melbourne is a great varied full-day trip that includes visiting the Dandenong ranges. Here, you’ll get to ride on the famous Puffing Billy steam train from Belgrave to Emerald Lake.

Afterward, the Puffing Billy and Penguin Parade Combo Tour travels down to Phillip Island, where you’ll visit The Nobbies before watching the Penguin Parade. Tickets to Puffing Billy and the Penguin Parade are included in the tour ticket.

This is a great Phillip Island tour option if you’re short on time and are keen to tick off two of the best tourist attractions close to Melbourne.

Click here to book the Puffing Billy and Penguin Parade Combo Tour.

Puffing Billy and Penguin Parade Combo Tour

Puffing Billy steam tain in lush jungle in Melbourne
  • Ride Puffing Billy through the Dandenong Ranges
  • Visit The Nobbies
  • Penguin Parade general ticket

5. Penguin Parade, Koalas and Kangaroos

The full-day Penguin Parade, Koalas & Kangaroos Tour is a great tour from Melbourne to Phillip Island that is jam-packed with wildlife as well as some fun photo and beach stops.

The first stop of the day is to the iconic Brighton Beach boxes, before continuing down to Phillip Island and the Maru Koala Park. Afterward, you’ll head to The Nobbies to spot seals, before finishing the tour with Phillip Island’s famous Penguin Parade.

Click here to book the Penguin Parade, koalas & Kangaroos tour.

Penguin Parade, Koalas & Kangaroos

Row of colourful Brighton Beach boxes in Melbourne
  • Visit Brighton Beach boxes
  • The Nobbies boardwalk and centre
  • Phillip Island Penguin Parade

Tours to Do From Phillip Island

Of course, you’ll find even more Phillip Island tour options once you’re on Phillip Island itself. From sea to sky, there are some awesome ways to experience more of this wonderful little island. Below are some of the top tour options you can do from Phillip Island.

Summerland Beach at sunset for the little penguin tour on Phillip island
Summerland Beach for the little penguin parade

Penguin Parade: General Viewing Entry Ticket

Experience the incredible spectacle of the penguin parade from the outdoor grandstand seating and discover more about these awesome animals with a trip to the visitor centre.

Book Penguin Parade: General Viewing Entry Ticket

Little penguins returning to Summerland Beach, Phillip Island
  • Grandstand viewing of Little Penguins
  • Boardwalk through burrows
  • Visitor centre and cafe

Philip Island Seal Watching Cruise

It’s not just on land that you can enjoy Phillip Island wildlife. Certainly, boat tours are some of the most popular ways to see the beauty of Phillip Island. This Seal Watching Cruise is a fantastic 2-hour tour that circles Seal Rocks, home to over 7000 fur seals and the largest colony in Australia.

On-board commentary is included, as too is tea, coffee and cake. You might also spot whales and dolphins as well as sea birds.

Book Philip Island: Seal Watching Cruise

Seal on a boat tour of Phillip Island
  • Cruise Seal Rocks
  • Complimentary tea/coffee and cake
  • Admire the Phillip Island coastline

Cape Woolamai Scenic Cruise

Leaving from San Remo, this glorious boat cruise tours the southern waters of Phillip Island. On a sunny day, the waters glisten and sparkle in the most brilliant tones of turquoise.

Sit back, soak in the views and listen to the expert on-board commentary as you sail under Phillip Island Bridge in search of seals and dolphins. For sure, the towering cliffs around Cape Woolamai will take your breath away.

Book Cape Woolamai Scenic Cruise

Boat cruises in the turquoise waters of Cape Woolamia in Phillip Island
  • Cruise the south of Phillip island
  • Spot marine life like dolphins
  • Complimentary tea/coffee and cake

Phillip Island Sunset Cruise

This relaxed sunset cruise visits the waters around Westernport, where you can look out for dolphins as you sit back and indulge in complimentary appetizers. Drinks are available from the bar, but you’ll pay extra for those. This is a great option for couples and groups looking to admire the beauty of Phillip Island from a tranquil boat setting.

Book Phillip Island Sunset Cruise

Two women enjoying the sunset cruise tour in Phillip Island with Get Your Guide
  • Enjoy the sunset from the sea
  • Complimentary appetisers
  • Licensed bar onboard

Phillip Island Helicopter Tour

For a once in a lifetime experience, a helicopter tour over Phillip Island is hard to beat. The views are sensational and you’ll have the opportunity to spot all of the famous natural attractions of Phillip Island from air, as well as look out for fur seals and dolphins in the water.

Book Phillip Island Helicopter Tour

Red helicopter flying over Phillip Island Bridge
  • Choice of 7 flight options
  • Scenic views of Phillip Island
  • Qualified and professional pilot

Phillip Island Whale Watching Tour

May through to November is an excellent time of year to get out on a boat. That’s because it’s whale migratory season, and Phillip Island certainly sees its fair share of whales passing by.

This excellent Whale Watching Tour with Viator cruises the waters around Phillip Island for 4 hours, as you keep a careful lookout for whales as they dive and frolic in the deep blue sea. Additionally, the boat tour visits another of Phillip Island’s famous landmarks – Seal Rocks at The Nobbies. Here, you can enjoy one of the largest fur seal colonies in Australia.

Sit back and enjoy the epic marine life with tea or coffee and a slice of cake.

Book Phillip Island Whale Watching Tour

Whale fin diving into the deep blue waters around Phillip Island
  • Watch humpback whales as they migrate
  • Look for fur seals
  • Enjoy expert commentary

Other Things to Do on Phillip Island

As well as tours to and from Phillip Island, there are also plenty of short walks, beaches and natural attractions to check out once you’re there. Below are quick links to guides about some wonderful things to do independently on Phillip Island.

And, if you decide to stay longer on Phillip Island, be sure to check out our 5 Best Camping & Caravan Parks In Phillip Island for some great accommodation options.

Man stands on top of the orange rocks of Forrest Caves
Forrest Caves

How to Get to Phillip Island

If you decide to head to Phillip Island independently of a tour from Melbourne, then certainly, the easiest way to get there 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.

Of course, given how close Phillip Island is to Melbourne, you can always take public transport if you wish. From central Melbourne, take the train to Cranbourne, southeast of the city. From here, take the bus to Cowes on Phillip Island and beyond. Public transport takes around 3.5 hours.

You can also check transport from Melbourne to Phillip Island here.

Car Hire

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.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

The Nobbies Blowhole with turquoise water, rolling green hills and little penguins
The Nobbies

Save this post to help you choose which Phillip Island tour you want to do.

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.

Beck Piggott

With an art and design based background, Beck uses photography and writing to help inspire readers to climb mountains, hike coastal trails and chase waterfalls around the globe.

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