How To Get To Phillip Island

There are a number of ways of how to get to Phillip Island, but it is really geared to driving your own car.

Car – from Melbourne, take the Monash Freeway (M1) - remember that the section of freeway between the city and Toorak Road is a toll road.

At Heatherton Road, look for the signs to Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula, then exit for the South Gippsland Freeway/Highway (M420) to Cranbourne, avoid roads to Pakenham and later to Hastings.

Continue through Cranbourne and shortly past Lang Lang go straight ahead onto the Bass Highway (A420) where the South Gippsland Highway veers left to Korumburra and Leongatha.

The Bass Highway takes you through Grantville and past Bass.

Just outside Bass follow the signs to Phillip Island on the new link road which  opened in December 2013.

View Larger Map

The Phillip Island Tourist Road will take you through San Remo, over the bridge, through Newhaven and on to Cowes.

Distance from Melbourne to Phillip Island is about 130km to the bridge at San Remo, plus 16km to Cowes. Travel time will be traffic dependant but 1:45 hour should cover it.

An alternative route is via the Princes Freeway.

Instead of turning off for the South Gippsland Highway continue along the Monash Freeway until the exit to Koo Wee Rup (road C422).

Turn onto the South Gippsland Highway after following the signs through Koo Wee Rup township.

This route is basically the same distance and time-wise as via Cranbourne.

I prefer to drive via Cranbourne to avoid the narrow one lane each way road between the Princes Freeway and Koo Wee Rup.

Phillip Island Bridge

Coach – V-Line coach runs daily between Melbourne (Southern Cross Station Coach Terminal) and Cowes, taking about 2.5 hours, a little less on weekends.

Or you could catch the coach at the Dandenong Station. There are four coaches each way Monday to Friday and two on each of Saturday and Sunday.

Weekend coaches are wheelchair friendly but not all are during the week.

On the island, coaches stop at Newhaven, Surf Beach, Sunderland Bay, Sunset Strip, Smiths Beach and Wimbledon Heights before arriving at the Cowes terminus, at the corner of Chapel Street and Thompson Avenue, right in the middle of town!

Cost is $11.70 each way. Ring V-Line on 136 196 for more details.

Ferry – Inter Island Ferry runs between Stony Point on the Mornington Peninsula to Cowes every day, subject to weather and bay conditions.

There are three trips each day (morning, noon and late afternoon) except that Monday, Wednesday and Friday don’t have the noon trip but Friday also has an additional evening trip.

At Stony Point the ferry leaves from very close to the train station (Stony Point to Melbourne). Services are co-ordinated to facilitate train/ferry links.

The ferry arrives at the Cowes wharf at the bottom of Thompson Avenue, handy to the centre of town.

Travel times are half an hour and cost $12 each way. Ring them at 03 9585 5730 for more details or bookings.

Now you know how to get to Phillip Island, read on to find out how to get around if you aren't driving.

Getting around Phillip Island

Other than your own car, there are a number of options to get around the island:

Bus services

  • Operated by Phillip Island Bus Service (03 5952 2500) and run every day from Cowes via Smiths Beach, Cape Woolamai and Newhaven to San Remo and on to Wonthaggi on the mainland.
  • Weekdays there are five daily services and four on each Saturday and Sunday. Travel times are about 30 minutes Cowes/San Remo plus 30 to 40 further to Wonthaggi.
  • During major events such as the MotoGP, shuttle buses run around the island to and from Phillip Island Circuit.

Car rental

Available from Phillip Island Holiday Hire on 03 5952 5402. 


Operated by Phillip Island Taxi Service, ring them on 03 5952 2200 for bookings.


Rentals are available at Island E-Bike Hire at 140-142 Thompson Avenue, Cowes (phone 0457 281 965) and OzBikes on The Esplanade, next to The Waves Apartments, Cowes (phone 0401 863 622).

Click here for more details on bike hire

We've shown you how to get to Phillip Island - now come and enjoy the island experience!

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Events in February 2016
February 6 - Cowes Classic (swim/run)
February 6 - Woolamai Picnic Races
February 7 - Kilcunda Half Marathon and George Bass Coastal Run
February 13 - Island Craft Market
February 13 - Cowes Night Market
February 20 - San Remo Channel Challenge
February 26/28 - Superbike World Championship
February 27 - Churchill Island Farmers Market
February 27 - Market on Chapel

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