In pictures: The wild side of Phillip Island

Get a taste of island life magic at Australia’s southern coast. Source: Shutterstock.

JUST OFF AUSTRALIA’s southern coast is Phillip Island, named after Governor Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of New South Wales.

Located 140 kilometers south-southeast of Melbourne, Victoria, the island welcomes 3.5 million visitors annually and is easily reachable by car or by train.

The original inhabitants of the area were the Yalloc Bulluk clan of the Bunurong people, indigenous Australians of the Kulin nation. To the Bunurong people, the island was known as ‘Corriong’ or ‘Millowl’.

In 1798, explorer and seaman George Bass sailed in an open whaleboat from Sydney and arrived on the island.

The Yalloc Bulluk, along with other Bunurong clans, were among the first aboriginal people in Victoria to have contact with European mariners.

Source: Shutterstock.

Today, the beautiful Phillip island boasts plenty of attractions for nature-lovers and adventure-seekers.

Australians often escape to Phillip Island for a day or a weekend trip to enjoy its iconic wildlife, pristine white beaches, spectacular views, hi-octane motorsports, and a good dose of family fun.

Explore the wildlife on the island as it is home to significated populations of fairy penguins, short-tailed shearwaters, and Pacific gulls.

There is also a wildlife park where wallabies and kangaroos roam freely and can be fed by hand. On the western end of the island, the largest colony of fur seals in Australia can be seen.

Source: Shutterstock.

Come May to October, have a breathtaking close encounter with majestic migrating humpback whales and southern right whales breaching the water along Phillip Island’s rugged coastline.

A popular activity in the vicinity of the island, visitors can arrange for one of the many tours that will bring you out to sea to witness the once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

Not forgetting its much talked about Penguin Parade, which features the island’s penguins returning home at sunset to one of the largest penguin colonies in Australia.

But don’t just take it from us. Let these pictures do Phillip Island justice:

Getting there from Melbourne by car: Take the Monash Freeway (M1) to the Cranbourne exit, turn into the South Gippsland Highway (M420). Follow this route to the Bass Highway (A420), through Grantville and Bass, then onto the Phillip Island Road (B420) to San Remo, over the bridge onto Phillip Island.

For more information, visit the Phillip Island tourism website.