How To Get To Phillip Island

There are a number of ways to get to Phillip Island from Melbourne - by car, bus or ferry - but it is really geared to driving your own car.

View Larger Map

Getting to Phillip Island from Melbourne

By car - from Melbourne take the Monash Freeway (M1) - remember that the section of freeway between the city (Central Business District) 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 the township of Bass.

Just outside Bass, follow the signs to Phillip Island.

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

Distance from Melbourne to Phillip Island is about 130km to the bridge at San Remo, plus 16km to Cowes. Travel time will be dependent on traffic and any roadworks but 2 hours should cover it.

Phillip Island's population increases greatly during certain times, such as school holidays and long weekends.

Click here to find tips on Phillip Island traffic.

Traffic standstill on Phillip Island Tourist Road

Holiday Traffic on Phillip Island

An alternative route from Melbourne to Phillip Island 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 bypassing the Koo Wee Rup township.

This route is basically the same - distance and time-wise - as via Cranbourne, but how you get to Phillip Island is your own preference.

The bridge over the channel between San Remo and Phillip Island

How To Get To Phillip Island? - Just Cross the Bridge!

Coach – A V-Line coach runs daily between Melbourne (Southern Cross Station Coach Terminal) and Cowes, taking about 3 hours, a little less on weekends. At the moment there are three services between Southern Cross Coach Terminal and Cowes each weekday. Always check the timetable first.

You could also catch the coach at the Dandenong Station. There are three coaches each way Monday to Friday and two on each of Saturday and Sunday.

Coach services are wheelchair friendly.

Once on the island, coaches stop at Newhaven, Cape Woolamai, Surf Beach, Rhyll Turn-off, Sunset Strip, Smiths Beach and Wimbledon Heights before arriving at the Cowes Transport Hub in Church Street, right near the middle of town.

Cost is approximately $11 each way for an adult. Concession card holders and children's tickets are about $6 each way.

For timetables and bookings go to

Ferry – Western Port Ferries runs a ferry service between Stony Point on the Mornington Peninsula across to Cowes every day, subject to weather and bay conditions.

There are several departures each day, with stops at Tankerton on French Island.

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 Jetty at the bottom of Thompson Avenue, handy to the centre of town.

For ferry timetable and prices go to
The ferry which links Phillip Island, Tankerton on French Island and Stony Point on the mainland

Ferry, Naturaliste, Runs Between Stony Point and Phillip Island

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

  • The South Coast Bus runs 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 minutes more to Wonthaggi.
  • During major events such as the MotoGP, shuttle buses run around the island to and from Phillip Island Circuit.


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


Rentals are available at The Bicycle Repairman, 140-142 Thompson Avenue, Cowes (phone 0418 144 481).  Sales, repairs and maintenance are also available. Open Wednesday to Sunday 9.30am to 4.00pm.

Or contact Super Cruzer E-bike hire on 0412 579 053, at the same address.

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

Return to Top
Return to Home Page from How to Get To Phillip Island

You might like these...

Keep in touch - sign up for my free newsletter!

Banner for Island Hopper magazine with a swamp wallaby peeping over the rise.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

     About Me     Contact Me   Site Map    Privacy Policy

Copyright 2011-2024
All Rights Reserved

Powered by Solo Build It!