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History & heritage

The social history of Phillip Island dates back over 40,000 years to the Bunurong people, the original inhabitants of the Western Port region. This island paradise of abundant wildlife and picturesque bays attracted European settlement and a thriving fur seal trade in the early 1800s.

Man in a whaleboat

George Bass is a name you'll hear plenty of on the island. The explorer was the first European to visit Western Port on 5 January 1798 as he made his way down the coast in a whaleboat, followed closely by the island's original sealers.

Victoria's first European settlement

Explore historic Churchill Island, discovered in 1798 and the site of Victoria's first European settlement. See the original homestead, walk through a traditional herb and flower garden and see ranger demonstrations of nineteenth century farming techniques.

From past to present

Visit the Phillip Island Heritage Centre in Cowes to see exhibitions and video of the rich history and wildlife of the island. The National Vietnam Veterans Museum in Newhaven is a place of great historical and cultural significance that combines state of the art exhibits and essential archives.

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History & heritage

History & heritage

Churchill Island Heritage Farm

Discover important Victorian history at Churchill Island and take home local delicacies from the thriving farmers' market.


Phillip Island Museum

The Phillip Island Museum is operated by the Phillip Island and District Historical Society Inc and occupies a space within the Phillip Island...


National Vietnam Veterans Museum

Remember, interpret and understand the experience of the Vietnam War through fascinating interactive exhibits, memorabilia and a light and sound show.


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Things to do


Enjoy the ride and let local knowledge guide you to Phillip island's stunning coastlines and landscapes, friendly wildlife and the Grand Prix track.

Nature & wildlife

Beaches and coastlines

Discover a beach to suit everyone at Phillip island's sheltered bay beaches and wild surf beaches, blowholes, caves and unusual rock formations.

Outdoor activities

Scenic flights

Strap yourself in and explore the spectacular coastline, picturesque towns and myriad attractions of Victoria's Phillip Island on a helicopter tour.

Nature and wildlife

Wildlife viewing

See Phillip Island's little penguins emerge from the water, and spot other fascinating Australian animals at this wildlife wonderland.