There are many Phillip Island festivals throughout the year, celebrating many aspects on island life and also the natural world and its relationship and importance to Phillip Island.
Easter is one of the busiest times of the year on Phillip Island.
And there is plenty to occupy and amuse families at Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Easter Fun Festival on Churchill Island.
A Kids Zone has activities such as mini golf, face painting, craft and games.
Generally, there are roving performances to entertain children and adults alike.
The Heritage Farm will host demonstrations of working horses, as well as traditional hands-on farming activities such as cow milking, sheep shearing, working dogs and whip cracking.
Tractor rides are always a favourite, as is the display of vintage cars and caravans.
The Festival Lawn, backdropped by Westernport Bay, is a great place to laze away the day listening to local musicians and indulging in some food and drink.
The biggest hit of the weekend is the popular Easter Egg Hunt. Children can hunt among the hay for Easter eggs to fill supplied baskets. Hunts are age specific and are timed so nobody misses out!
The Island Whale Festival is held in July to coincide with the Victorian winter school holidays.
The Cowes Cultural Centre is the hub for the festival. Here visitors can see various displays and hear talks about Phillip Island’s marine environment.
Indigenous story tellers tell stories about the significance of, and their connection to, the local marine creatures.
Workshops teach how to appreciate and care for the migratory whales and other sea creatures that call Phillip Island’s coastal waters home.
Special whale cruises operate from Cowes jetty. As well as whales, passengers may see dolphins, seals and the majestic albatross.
On the shore, a marine biologist educates visitors in how to spot whale activity and how to identify the type of whale by the pattern of the “blow”.
The Literary Festival of Phillip Island is held in July at the Cowes Cultural Centre.
The festival has a different theme each year but works around the premise “that everyone has a story”.
Addresses are given by well-known authors from around Australia. Local authors from the Bass Coast region also tell their stories of the area. Some talks are followed by discussion panels.
The weekend includes workshops on various topics such as writing and story structure, a bonus for would-be writers.
The San Remo Fishing Festival is held in September and celebrates the fishing industry of the village.
The San Remo Co-operative was formed in 1948 and is a familiar sight near the Phillip Island bridge. It is famous for the daily feeding of the pelicans by co-op staff.
The Blessing of the Fleet is the main drawcard for the day with the fleet hoping for safety and a bountiful harvest for the coming year. This ceremony includes not just the commercial fishing fleet but also tour boats, ferry operators and recreational anglers.
Stalls sell local produce or fishing related goods or give away information on fishing and marine activities. There are fun things to occupy children such as face painting and give-away bags.
Staff from the San Remo Co-op give fish filleting demonstrations, while local chefs give cooking demonstrations to show how to get the best out of your fish.
Wildlife Coast Cruises have special cruises from San Remo jetty to Cape Woolamai.
Food and wine from the Bass Coast region is available.
The Phillip Island Jazz Festival is held around mid-November each year in the Bass Room of the Ramada Resort.
Held over three days, this lively and fun event includes musicians from the local area as well as Melbourne and interstate.
Artists perform many styles with jazz, blues and ragtime to keep the feet tapping!
The festival can sell out so it is advisable to book tickets beforehand.
Phillip Island Jazz Club also holds Sunday Jazz once a month in the Bass Room.
The Phillip Island Wine & Food Festival is a newcomer to the Phillip Island festival calendar. It is held towards the end of November.
The location varies from the Cowes Town Square to the Jetty Triangle.
Local produce from Phillip Island and the Bass Coast/Gippsland region is showcased, with local restaurants providing delicious food.
Visitors can graze among the stalls, sampling and buying the goodies.
The event is family friendly and live music on the lawns adds a relaxing touch.
Biyadin means “shearwater” in the local indigenous language, and the festival is held late November.
The shearwaters have completed their long migration back to Phillip Island from the northern hemisphere and the island celebrates their return.
The festival includes educational displays, children’s activities and music.
A highlight is a street parade on Sunday. An indigenous welcome ceremony and dancing is held before and after the parade.
Wildlife Coast Cruises runs special Twilight Cruises to see the shearwaters returning to the rookeries on Cape Woolamai.
After a talk from rangers about the shearwaters, visitors can take a guided walk to the Cape Woolamai rookeries.
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