Cape Woolamai at Phillip Island is renowned for its stunning pink granite cliffs, surf beach, and incredible wildlife. 

A visit to Cape Woolamai on our Phillip Island tour from Melbourne reveals its place as a natural wonder amongst the protected flora and fauna of the island. The island is famous for its resident Little Penguin colony. As such, the nightly Penguin Parade sees thousands of visitors enjoying the spectacle of Little Penguins waddling across the beach and into the sand dunes. 

However, beyond the Penguin Parade, Phillip Island has a lot to offer. For example, Cape Woolamai in particular is home to a large colony of short-tailed shearwaters. It’s also a great place to explore on foot, or catching the waves for experienced surfers.

Visit Cape Woolamai at Phillip Island on our Melbourne Day Tour

In the warmer months, when time permits, we visit Cape Woolamai on our Phillip Island day tour from Melbourne. Pulling in to the Surf club carpark, you can see the deep blue of the ocean and the striking pink granite headland in the distance.

A walk onto the beach lets you feel the power of the wind and the waves. It is the longest beach on the island (4.2 kms) and faces south-west so it feels the full brunt of both. For surfers, it means there is often a good southerly swell and beach break on offer. 

You’ll be able to walk onto the sand and dip your toes in the ocean (note: this is not a good beach for swimming). Or there are some lookout points next to the carpark before you walk onto the beach. From here you’ll be able to see right along the southern side of the island. From the Cape Woolamai headland, to Point Grant in the distance.

Wildlife at Cape Woolamai

Cape Woolamai is a nesting ground for over one million short-tailed shearwaters (mutton birds). Each year the shearwaters fly 8,000 kilometres from the Alaskan Aleutian Islands to Phillip Island. They can be seen on and around the island between September and April. 

During this time they build nests in burrows around Cape Woolamai and they fly out to sea during the day for fishing. Around sunset they return to their nests and you can view the magnificent sight of the large flocks of birds returning to the island. 

Other wildlife around Cape Woolamai includes Little Penguins, wallabies, gulls and even snakes. In winter, you can view whales passing by the island from the Cape Woolamai headland.

Surfing at Woolamai Beach

Woolamai Beach is one of the top surf spots on Phillip Island. With big swells and beach breaks, it is for experienced surfers. The beach is 4.2 kilometres long and faces south-west into the high waves and westerly winds. 

Woolamai Beach is home to the island’s first surf lifesaving club.  The beach is known for having strong rips, and is not an ideal place to swim. The protected beach on the other side of Cape Woolamai is safer for swimmers. 

Woolamai Coastal Walk 

This Cape Woolamai Circuit hike offers spectacular views of Phillip Island and the surrounding coastline. 

Cape Woolamai is the highest point on Phillip Island and a walk along the sheer cliff tops offers superb panoramas of the island, clifftop views and the spectacular pink granite of the pinnacles rocks.

The Cape Woolamai Coastal Walk has three different distance options, each allowing you to discover the magic of this protected nature reserve.

  • The Pinnacles Walk is 4.4 kilometers long – from the Surf Club the Pinancles Lookout and back. 
  • The Cape Woolamai Beacon Walk is 7.4 kilometers long and continues past the Pinnacles to the light beacon at the high point of Cape Woolamai before circling back to the Surf Club.
  • The Old Granite Quarry Walk is 5.6 kilometers long and crosses over to the east side of the cape to the site of an old rock quarry. 

Cruise to Cape Woolamai

Wildlife Cruises offer scenic boat rides around Phillip Island. Their cruise to Cape Woolamai allows you to explore the sheer granite cliffs and caves from the turquoise water. When cruising out to the cape, it is common to see marine life such as dolphins and seals. You’ll also be able to view birdlife such as Cormorants, Australasian Gannet and Wedge-tailed eagles.

What else can you do at Phillip Island?

Penguin Parade

Phillip Island  is famous for the colony of Little Penguins that reside on the island. Each night thousands of these penguins return from the ocean to waddle across the beach to their burrows. The Penguin Parade is the best place to watch these cute little creatures up close, without disturbing them or their natural environment.

The Nobbies and Seal Rocks

A visit to Point Grant at the far end of the island form Cape Woolamai, lets you discover the Nobbies and Seal rocks. The Nobbies are dome-shaped rock formations off the coast of Phillip Island which provide an important home to the island’s Little Penguins. They can be viewed from the boardwalks at Point Grant. From the boardwalk you’ll also get great views out to the Southern Ocean and across Western Port Bay. 

Seal Rocks further off the coast of Phillip Island. They are a home to Victoria’s largest colony of Australian fur seals. The seals feed in the waters surrounding Phillip Island and can be found resting and sleeping on the rocks. At Point Grant there are binoculars along the boardwalk which can be used to get a closer view of Seal Rocks. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Phillip Island?

Phillip Island is just under 2 hours drive south-east from Melbourne. Access to the island is via a bridge from the small town of San Remo. 

Which birds live on Phillip Island?

Phillip Island is most famous for being home to the world’s largest colony of Little Penguins. However, these are not the other birds on the island. Each year over a million short-tailed shearwaters migrate from Alaska to Cape Woolamai on Phillip Island. The island is also a breeding and feeding ground for many other bird species – in particular sea-birds.


Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator