Winter on Phillip Island is a perfect time to restore your soul.
Just pack a warm coat and get out and breathe the crisp fresh air for an invigorating break from the rat race.
The average winter daytime temperature of Phillip Island is around 14 degrees C. Nights can get down to around 8 degrees C.
A very popular summer destination, the island has plenty to offer for winter visitors.
The annual whale migration from the Antarctic is during the winter months. July is the best month to see these amazing creatures travelling past our coast on their way to northern Queensland. Often they can be seen from Phillip Island – the lookouts at Pyramid Rock and Cape Woolamai are prime viewing spots. Sometimes the whales come into Westernport Bay and travel as far as Cowes. For a closer view, Wildlife Coast Cruises offers whale watching cruises around Phillip Island. Often whales can be spotted from the daily cruise to Seal Rocks.
You may think it a good idea to avoid the penguin parade in winter but think again! Although there are generally fewer penguins coming ashore, the crowds are smaller so you can get a better view. And because the penguins come in at dusk, the viewing time is earlier – around 6.30pm – so after watching the parade, head into Cowes for dinner. Or get the kids home for a normal bedtime. The new underground viewing “bunker” is perfect if the weather is cold or wet. The penguins waddle past the viewing window mere metres from visitors.
Phillip Island is lucky to have two wineries – Phillip Island Winery and Purple Hen Winery. Both have a lovely cosy fire and delicious platters of cheeses, dips, breads, olives, smoked trout etc to accompany your favourite glass of wine. At Phillip Island Winery sit back and enjoy the live acoustic music of owner, Tim.
Phillip Island is a great setting out point for various attractions in Gippsland. Winter is a good time to visit Agnes Falls, near Toora. These falls are the highest single span falls in Victoria. Visiting in winter, especially after heavy winter rain, increases the spectacle of the cascading water. Look for the many bird species at the falls then travel to Corner Inlet, another popular bird watching spot.
During winter on Phillip Island it is not unusual to have a beach to yourself. Take the time for a leisurely stroll along one of the south coast beaches such as Kitty Miller Bay, recently judged Victoria’s Best Secret Beach. Apart from birdlife, there are always fascinating finds on the shore from shells to shark egg cases. If you are feeling more energetic, walk around the bluff to see the wreck of the SS Speke, wrecked on the rocks in 1906.
Winter on Phillip Island brings new life. In June, Cape Barren geese can be seen nesting and in July the first chicks can be seen out grazing with their parents. These unique birds were once threatened with extinction. Since becoming a protected species, they are now listed as vulnerable, surprising given the numbers of them on the island! Another creature seen more frequently in winter is the echidna. Winter is mating time when males follow the female around hoping she will pick him to mate with. This is called an “echidna love train”. A good spot to see echidnas is on the Swan Lake or Oswin Roberts Reserve walking trails.
Enjoy solitude without the summer crowds during winter on Phillip Island’s walking tracks. Away from the noise of traffic, breathe in the fragrant woodland air. Depending on the walk, look out for swamp wallaby, echidna, koalas and birdlife. Learn of the importance of mangroves to the health of our bay and to the many bird species which migrate to Phillip Island each year. Kestrels and kites can often be seen sweeping across Cape Woolamai looking for prey.
Want to stay indoors? Phillip Island has many indoor attractions – some educational, some just for fun. To keep warm visit the Antarctic Journey at The Nobbies, the National Vietnam Veterans Museum, the Phillip Island Circuit Visitor Centre, Amaze ‘n Things, and Panny’s Chocolate Factory. Visitors can also try their skill at Phillip Island Ten Pin Bowling or Grumpy’s Mini Golf.
Be mesmerized by the spectacular scenery along the 4 kilometre drive between The Nobbies and the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre. Stop at one of the lookouts over Bass Strait and watch the waves crashing over the black basalt rocks at the bottom of the cliffs. Also look for swamp wallabies, Cape Barren geese, and raptors.
Fishermen, don’t put the boat away for winter! There are still plenty of fish – flathead, squid, snapper, and whiting are some of the fish which can be caught off Phillip Island’s coast during winter. Or just throw a line in from the beach.
Winter on Phillip Island isn’t a reason to stop surfing. After the crowds of summer, surfers have a better chance to catch some waves during the winter months. Put on the wet suit and head to Smiths Beach for consistent, easy breaks. Woolamai Beach, generally with bigger waves, is for the more experienced surfer.
During winter, a walk up Cape Woolamai to see the sunset is a very popular event. If the day has been fine and there are some clouds about to add interest, the walk is well worth it.
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