We have been holidaying at Phillip Island for decades. Here are our suggestions of the top 5 free things to do on Phillip Island with kids! We hope you and your kids enjoy this beautiful place as much as we do.
1. Red Rocks Beach – 18 Appley Rd, Cowes
This is one of our favourite beautiful secluded swimming beaches on Phillip Island! Also, get your reef shoes on for some amazing rock pool fun! The kids will love turning over the rocks to reveal an array of crabs and other interesting sea life! Take their bathers along too for a refreshing dip after the hours of busy beachcombing. It’s a great little quiet swimming beach for the whole family.
2. Phillip Island parkrun – Heritage Farm, Churchill Island
A free weekly event held every Saturday rain, hail or shine! Yes! Free every Saturday!!! In case you haven’t already heard, parkrun is our absolute favourite free family activity and the Phillip Island parkrun does not disappoint! If you are lucky enough to visit the beautiful Phillip Island (and can walk / run 5km) on a Saturday morning then this free activity is a must-do! It is an undulating gravel course that follows the island’s coast around an historic children’s farm.
3. Swan Lake Trail – Ventnor VIC (near the Nobbies)
We have been visiting Phillip Island every year for over 20 years and for some reason have not visited this wonderous place until recently! It’s easy to get to and worth a visit. It’s a short turn off just before you get to The Nobbies.
Swan lake is a great little conservation area with a 1.3km round trip easy walk through beach forests and sand dunes. The sand dunes are home to migratory short-tailed shearwater birds. They nest here between Sept and April each year.
At the end of the boardwalk there are a couple of wooden bird hides. Here, you can relax and watch over the water hole. It is frequented by thousands of ducks, wallabies and water birds every day. The kids absolutely loved the spectacle and proudly counted 7 different bird species. These were identified from the handy painted mural inside one of the bird hides! After seeing a large bird circling over-head on our walk to the hide, we immediately identified it as being a Swamp Harrier!
Unfortunately we forgot our binoculars and I’m sure we could’ve identified a lot more species had we’d remembered them! Next time we return we will be bringing the binoculars for sure! The highlight was watching the little swamp wallabies coming down for a drink from the water’s edge.
4. Forrest Caves – Phillip Island Rd, Newhaven VIC
This wonderful place took us a while to discover but it has fast become one of our favourite spots! It’s a bit tricky to find. The GPS / Google Maps will probably take you to The Cape Kitchen restaurant. This is actually above the caves but provides no access down to the caves.
You’ll find the turn off to Forrest Caves between The Cape Kitchen entrance and The Esplanade Rd. It is an unmarked dirt road with a small “Forrest Caves” sign nearby. Once you find the carpark you’ll be rewarded with easy parking and a public toilet. A staired board walk takes you up and over an impressive sand dune to reveal amazing views of the ocean!
Once you hit the sand, turn left and walk about 800m until you come across some most amazing rock formations caused by sea erosion. Try and visit at low tide or as the tide is falling (check the daily tides here) so you can safely enter the caves and explore the whole area. If you go at high tide you will only be able to see the caves from above (which is still pretty spectacular!). We spend hours here climbing, exploring, beach combing, rock pooling and finding the “best shaped”, “most beautiful” or “shinest” beach pebbles!
5. The Nobbies Boardwalk and Blowhole – Point Grant Phillip Island
The Nobbies is home to a multi million dollar discovery centre which charges an entry fee to visit (well worth it in my opinion). Seeing as though this article is about FREE things to do with your family I will focus on the part that is free which also just so happens to be well worth the visit!
Enjoy a scenic stroll around the winding boardwalk, take in the breathtaking views and admire the wildlife as you head towards the giant Nobbies rocks and blowhole. Bring your own binoculars and you may be in for a treat! The Nobbies is nearby to Seal Rocks, home to one of Australia’s largest fur seal colonies! If you are visiting in the cooler months make sure you dress warmly as the ocean winds can be pretty cold.
For more information and ideas on what to do with your family on Phillip Island, check out these links.