How to get to Phillip Island from Melbourne

Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island
Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island

Phillip Island is one of Victoria’s most popular tourist destinations. It is well-known for its famous penguin parade, large fur seal colony,  native wildlife, exciting racing at the island’s Grand Prix circuit, its scenic coastline, quaint fishing villages, beautiful beaches, outdoor dining, and so much more.

The island’s reasonably close proximity to Melbourne makes it a popular choice for visitors, be it a day trip or longer stay.

As the crow flies, Phillip Island is only 75 kilometres from Melbourne.  There are a number of ways to get there.

By car

Phillip Island map
Driving from Melbourne to Phillip Island

Phillip Island is linked to the Victorian mainland by a bridge at San Remo. The distance to drive from the heart of Melbourne to the bridge is just over 120 kilometres.

Head south-east along the Monash Freeway (M1), taking either the South Gippsland Freeway (M420), Clyde Road (C407) or Koo Wee Rup Road (C422) exit.  Follow the M420 and B420 signs as you travel along the South Gippsland Highway, Bass Highway and Phillip Island Road.

The journey time is usually around 90 minutes.

Note that there is no car ferry to Phillip Island, so if you wish to bring your vehicle onto the island, you must use the bridge at San Remo.

Driving directions from Melbourne to Phillip Island

By bus

A number of V/Line bus services run between Southern Cross Station in Melbourne and several towns on Phillip Island including Newhaven, Cape Woolamai, Surf Beach, Sunderland Bay and Cowes.  The journey from Melbourne requires a change of bus at Koo Wee Rup and takes around 2 hours to get to the bridge and a further 20 to 25 minutes to Cowes.

Refer to the V/Line timetable for Melbourne to Cowes.

By train and bus

Another option is to catch a suburban train service to Dandenong. From there, catch a V/Line bus that travels direct to Phillip Island. The train journey to Dandenong takes between 40 to 50 minutes, depending from which station in Melbourne’s city centre is used. The bus journey from Dandenong to the Phillip Island bridge takes around one hour and 45 minutes, and a further 20 to 25 minutes to Cowes.

Refer to timetable for Melbourne to Cowes which also includes details of the train service to Dandenong.

By train and ferry

Passenger ferry service from Stony Point to Cowes
Passenger ferry service from Stony Point to Cowes

For something a little different, you can catch a suburban train from Melbourne to Frankston (1 hour), then switch onto a diesel service which runs from Frankston to Stony Point (35 minutes).

From Stony Point Jetty, board the Inter Island Ferries passenger catamaran which docks at the Cowes Jetty.  The boat trip takes around 45 minutes, usually with a stop at French Island.

By car and ferry

Driving from Melbourne to Stony Point
Driving from Melbourne to Stony Point

If you have a vehicle but don’t want to drive all the way around the eastern side of Western Port to the Phillip Island bridge at San Remo, you can instead drive to Stony Point and catch a passenger ferry from there.

Head south-east along the Monash Freeway (M1), take the South Gippsland Freeway (M420) exit and continue along that road which becomes the Western Port Highway (M780/A780) and ends up at Hastings.  Alternatively, take the EastLink (M3) exit off the Monash Freeway, then the Peninsula Link (M11) exit and follow that freeway to the Frankston-Flinders Road (C777) exit which takes you to Hastings.

Once in Hastings, follow the Frankston-Flinders Road (C777) to Bittern where there is a turn-off to Stony Point Road (C786) which ends up at the Stony Point railway station and jetty.

There is a public car park in the vicinity of the railway station and jetty. Alternatively, secure parking is available for a nominal daily fee at the Stony Point Caravan Park.

From Stony Point Jetty, board the Inter Island Ferries passenger catamaran which docks at the Cowes Jetty.  The boat trip takes around 45 minutes, usually with a stop at French Island.

By air

Phillip Island Helicopters
Phillip Island Helicopters

Did you know that Phillip Island has its own airfield?  So you can get to the island by air!

Fronting Phillip Island Road at Newhaven are Phillip Island Helicopters who not only conduct scenic flights, but also offer charter services.  In just 30 minutes, you can be flown from suitable landing locations in Melbourne, such as Essendon Airport or Moorabbin Airport, directly to Phillip Island. Avoid the traffic and save time! See for further details.

Join a tour

Take the hassle out of getting to Phillip Island and finding your way around by joining one of the many guided day tours that departs from Melbourne.

Day tours include a range of activities such as a visit to the famous Penguin Parade and eco-tours that explore the island’s diverse flora and fauna. Tours may also include visits to Churchill Island, the Koala Conservation Centre, The Nobbies and the island’s beautiful coastline and beaches.

Phillip Island tours from Melbourne

Coming from Melbourne Airport?

If you are coming to Melbourne by air, see our guide to transport between Melbourne Airport and the city centre.  Once in Melbourne’s city centre, choose from the above options to get to Phillip Island.



11 responses to “How to get to Phillip Island from Melbourne”

  1. Tony Avatar

    pathetic site. totally useless for the normal visitor. ( Non Victorian )
    I want to travel from Tullamarine to Cowes on Sat 29/10/16 pm or early Sunday 30/10/16 for the Victorian State Championship racing at Philip Island So how do I do it easily and as a non-local visitor.
    Or I will just not visit Victoria and save my money !!

  2. Travel Victoria management team Avatar

    This article is about travelling from Melbourne’s city centre to Phillip Island which is why there is no information about getting to and from the airport. To get from Melbourne Airport to Melbourne’s city centre, see our dedicated article on that at:

  3. Steven Nicholson Avatar
    Steven Nicholson

    One thing not mentioned here is how you get around Phillip Island once you arrive by bus or ferry from Melbourne. There are minimal (but some) options available which can be viewed under the ‘transport’ section of the visitphillipisland webpage, or you can ask the local Visitor Info Centre once you’re there. It’s also worth noting there is no bus back to Melbourne after the penguins, so I stayed the night and spent the morning on the beach before heading back. In fact I was surprised how much there is to see so happy i stayed overnight.

  4. Marie De vera Avatar
    Marie De vera

    When is Grand Prix in Philip island 2019 what month and date? Thanks

    1. Travel Victoria management team Avatar

      This year’s Grand Prix is on from 26th to 28th October 2018.

      Next year, the provisional date (subject to change) is from 25th to 27th October 2019.

  5. Kay deigan Avatar
    Kay deigan

    What is the best way to get from Phillip iIs to St Kilda for a day trip?

    1. Travel Victoria management team Avatar

      If you would like to do the entire journey by bus, you’ll need to first go to Southern Cross Station in Melbourne. Simply catch tram number 12 or 96 from St Kilda to Southern Cross Station, which will take about 20 minutes. Then follow the instructions above for travel by bus to Phillip Island.

      If you are using the train and bus option that is listed above, you first need to catch a tram to any station on the Dandenong line. Tram 3 to Caulfield or 16 to Malvern are recommended. Then follow the instructions above for the train and bus option.

  6. Sally Avatar

    Heading to the Aus Open this weekend and hkping to spend a day at Phillip Island. What is the easiest transport option to do a day trip to Phillip Island?

    1. Travel Victoria management team Avatar

      If you have a have access to a car in Melbourne, the quickest way to spend a day to Phillip Island is to drive there. You then have your own transport to explore the island.

      Alternatively, there is public transport to Phillip Island – see our posting above for the various options.

      Some people prefer the ease and comfort of joining a guided tour of Phillip Island. Check out Penguin Island Tour at – they are one of many tour operators that pick-up people from Melbourne and take them to Phillip Island for the day.

  7. neilminshall Avatar

    Can you recommend a private tour guide as I prefer to not be in a group that is told when and where we are to go, to eat, what to watch ?

    1. Travel Victoria management team Avatar

      We recommend booking a tour with Melbourne Private Tours ( as they offer guests the opportunity to fully customise their experience to suit their individual needs. Tours are suitable for individuals, families and groups.

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