Phillip Island Traffic Report

In summer on Phillip Island traffic increases as the population swells from 10,000 to 40,000. Follow these tips to make your trip to the island more enjoyable.

With only a one-lane-each-way bridge access to the island, at popular times traffic can become a bottleneck.

The bridge joining Phillip Island to the mainland at San Remo as seen from the air

For up-to-date traffic information visitors need to go online.

If you are a Facebook user, check "Phillip Island Traffic Reports" - this page has traffic information such as real time posts about any traffic issues, information such as travel times from Melbourne, log jams near Phillip Island, traffic accidents and roadworks.

Vic Roads will have information on roadworks affecting the Monash Freeway, South Gippsland Highway and Bass Highway, and other Gippsland areas.

Go to
Long line of traffic leaving Phillip Island after a long weekend.

Phillip Island Traffic at a Stand Still

If there is a major accident, local radio station 3mfm may include traffic information. Go to 89.1 for Phillip Island, San Remo and West Gippsland, and 88.1 for Wonthaggi, Inverloch, and Leongatha areas.

The busiest times for Phillip Island traffic are Christmas/summer school holidays and the Easter long weekend.

At the start and finish of the major holidays, time your drive for early in the morning, to arrive on Phillip Island before 10.00am and leave the island after 5.00pm in the afternoon.

On big weekends such as the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, traffic leaving the island on Sunday afternoon after the race can be heavy. Try to delay your departure until at least 6.00pm. The “blue line” traffic system will be in place so be aware of the signage indicating this. This system adds an extra lane to exit Phillip Island to the Bass Coast Highway.

Most visitors come from Melbourne, with the travel time to Phillip Island usually about 2 hours.

If you are driving to Phillip Island at busy times, remember to have water in the car and any other requirements such as baby food etc, in case you are caught in a traffic jam. Summer temperatures can be very hot.

Busy traffic in Cowes which can cause delays in moving around the town

Heavy Traffic in Cowes, Phillip Island

How To Avoid Traffic Jams on Phillip Island

During your stay on Phillip Island try to avoid Thompson Avenue in Cowes, as it almost turns into a car park at busy times. If you are staying along the strip from San Remo to Sunset Strip, use Coghlan Road. From Smiths Beach, use Smiths Beach Road then Coghlan Road.

Entering Cowes from Ventnor, turn left down Red Rocks Road, Justice Road or McKenzie Road then head towards Thompson Avenue via Settlement Road or Church Street.

There are several car parks behind the Cowes main shopping strip which can be accessed by side streets – so there is little need to drive along Thompson Avenue.

If you are visiting the Penguin Parade, allow plenty of time to arrive well before dusk as the traffic can bank up and entry to the car parks can be quite slow.

Another issue to keep in mind when driving on the island is the annual migration of the short-tailed shearwater. This occurs from late April and lasts for a few weeks. During this time the shearwater chicks are setting out for their first migration and can become disoriented and land on roads. The lights on Phillip Island Bridge and some street lights are also turned off for the migration so please drive slowly and with care at this time.

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