The best scenic walking tracks and hiking trails to do on Phillip Island
When you need to get out in nature or are seeking a little bit of adventure, there is no better place to explore than Phillip Island Nature Parks.
The area is covered in incredible walking tracks and hiking trails, from the quick and easy that you can complete with the young ones in tow, to the long and challenging that will test your fitness (and earn you a treat at the end!).
So whether you’re coming to Phillip Island to see the penguins and need a day-time activity, or are looking for something to do over the weekend, here are the best 8 scenic walks and hiking trails on the island.
1. Scenic Estate Reserve
Time: Varies - 5 minutes to 1 hour.
Distance: Approx 1.7 km
Covering just 1.5 kilometres of walking tracks and 195 metres of boardwalks, the Scenic Estate Reserve is a relaxed and easy stroll through 28 hectares of natural bushland.
It’s a gorgeous walk and one that is especially known for its birdlife. There are six species of threatened birds that have habitats here so be sure to keep an eye out and bring your binoculars if you’re keen for some bird-watching.
The walk features views overlooking Churchill Island and beyond, as well as plenty of seats and picnic spots where you can stop for a bite. This walk is pram friendly and dogs on lead and bicycle are permitted.
2. Oswin Roberts Reserve
Time: Varies - 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Distance: Varies - 1 to 4.6 kilometres
The Oswin Roberts Circuit is the longest at 4.6 kilometres return, which will take a little over an hour. The Woodland Loop is just under 3 kilometres and takes about 45 minutes, and the Melaleuca Loop is 1 kilometre, which you can expect to take about 30 minutes.
All three are easy going walks with moderate undulations at times, and all three offer plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities - keep an eye out for koalas! These walks are all pram and wheelchair friendly, and while bikes are allowed, dogs are not!
3. Kitty Miller Bay
Time: 1 hour return
Distance: Approx 2 km
Kitty Miller Bay is a postcard-perfect beach that offers one of the best coastal walks in the country. The Shipwreck Walk is a 2-kilometre trail that takes about an hour and a half to complete.
You’ll visit the SS Speke shipwreck, although aim to arrive at low tide for better access. This track isn’t particularly well defined as it goes over the beach and rocky areas, and its difficult rating comes from the fact that you’ll be clambering over slippery surfaces - so wear good walking shoes. As such, this is definitely not a hike to do with a pram or wheelchair, and dogs are not allowed.
After your walk, you can dive into the water for a little swimming or snorkelling.
4. Nobbies Boardwalk
Time: 15 minutes
Distance: 1 kilometre
The Nobbies Boardwalk is on the south-western tip of Phillip Island. It is a short and easy stroll that promises countless incredible coastal views, including viewing points, fur seals, sea bird gardens, a blowhole, and even the odd penguin.
Before you begin the walk, stop in at the Nobbies Centre to learn a little more about the fur seals, ancient volcanic rock and other attractions that you’ll see along the walk. This will help to give you a better understanding of what you’re looking at when you get there!
This boardwalk includes steps so is not ideal for prams, wheelchairs, or bikes.
5. Cape Woolamai
Time: Varies - 1.5 hours to 4 hours
Distance: 4.5 kilometres to 8 kilometres
Cape Woolamai is Phillip Island’s highest point, home to one of the area’s best surfing spots, and is home to the largest shearwater sea-bird rookery.
There are three walks to check out at Cape Woolamai, each of which start and finish at the Cape Woolamai Surf Lifesaving Club car park. Follow the green markers for the Pinnacle Loop, a 4-kilometre walk that will take roughly 2 hours and will guide you to the iconic pinnacles (a collection of unique granite rock structures formed from ancient volcanic activity). Follow the blue markers to do the Old Granite Quarry Walk, a 6-kilometre trek that will take you along the beach to the old quarry (be sure to do this one at low tide). Or, follow the black markers for the Cape Woolamai Beacon Walk, a 6.6-kilometre hike that includes beaches, forests, and the pinnacles.
The walking track itself includes muddy spots, exposed roots, sand, and even cliff edges, so is not suitable for wheels. However, this is one of the few hikes that have loos on site, which you will find in the Woolamai Beach parking area.
6. Forrest Caves
Time: 45 minutes return
Distance: 2 kilometres
One of the coolest nature walks on Phillip Island is easily Forrest Caves, an exploration of sea caves caused by the sea’s erosion.
You’ll begin in the Forrest Caves car park and walk the 2-kilometre round trip. While it’s an easy walk, it does involve some scrambling over rocks, so it’s not suitable for wheelchairs, prams, or bikes, but you should wear good walking shoes. Also, this walk is only safe to do at low tide, so check the times before you head out.
And if you’re there at sunset between October and April, you’ll probably spot short-tailed shearwaters, so keep an eye out as you pass by the dunes!
7. Swan Lake
Time: 20 minutes return
Distance: 1.3 kilometres
The Swan Lake Trail is one of the shortest and easiest walking tracks on the island. At just 1.3 kilometres (round trip!), you’ll be there and back in half an hour - but that’s only if you don’t stop to admire the view.
The lake itself is a freshwater lake that’s home to numerous bird species, such as purple swamp hens, cormorants, and black swans. Wander along the boardwalks for the best views, and be sure to spot the two bird hides by the edge of the lake.
This one is wheelchair and pram friendly, but you can’t bring your pups or come by bike.
8. Pyramid Rock
Time: 2 hours return
Distance: 5 kilometres
Pyramid Rock is an iconic rock structure off the south shore off Phillip Island and you can see it with a quick and easy walk of just 800 metres. Once you’re there, you can also take the Pyramid Rock to Berry’s Beach walk, which is a 5-kilometre trek that will take a couple of hours there and back.
Drive to the end of Pyramid Rock Road and follow the boardwalk up to the two wonderful lookouts where you can view both the coastline and the iconic rock. The rocky headland is closed off for preservation, but the lookouts offer an excellent view of the coastline - including where you’ll see the Penguin Parade!
There are picnic tables available if you’d like to stop for a bite, and toilets at both Pyramid Rock Road and Berry’s Beach Road car parks. Note that this hiking trail is not suited to prams or wheelchairs, and bikes and dogs are not allowed on the path.
Exploring all the wonders of Phillip Island
Phillip Island offers plentiful bush walks and hiking trails, but the incredible nature doesn’t stop there.
The Phillip Island Nature Parks is at the heart of it all, with the adorable nightly Penguin Parade, the cute, sleepy koalas, the mischievous fur seals, and many other native wildlife, all of which you’ll find in their own natural habitat.
No visit to the island is complete without at least one cute creature encounter, so be sure to book your tickets for the Penguin Parade while you’re planning your hike!