A loop walk east and west along Cowes' main beach incorporating the Cowes Jetty, Yacht Club, some great rock pools, a playground and a gorgeous little cafe by the beach!
There's much more to Phillip Island than the Penguin Parade; take main township Cowes, with its family-friendly, north-facing bay beaches, rockpools and beautiful jetty.
This walk takes you to all the best spots. This route begins at Cowes Yacht Club because it's a little away from the hustle and bustle, but central enough to Cowes' main shopping precinct and V/Line bus stop.
Beaches to the west of the Yacht Club are a little quieter than those near Cowes jetty but still happily crowded in summer months. There are some great rock pools at low-tide.
You might spot the odd seal in these parts of Western Port Bay, and in the winter of 2017 my family spotted humpback whales (they went right past the Cowes jetty!) spraying water from their blowholes!
If you fancy a refreshment along the route, there's a sweet little cafe at the end of the Anderson Street boat ramp, and in summer months an organic icy-pole bicycle cart near Erehwon Point playground (see photos).
Note for dog owners: Dogs are permitted (on leashes) on Cowes' beaches over the winter months at most times, but hours are restricted over summer months. There is an off-leash area to the west of Cowes Yacht Club (see here and map photo #3 for details).
During summer dogs are not permitted on the beaches directly next to the jetty. There is also a hooded plover protected breeding area to the west of Anderson Street boat ramp, so take care!
More great Phillip Island walks -> http://wildmelbourne.org/articles/the-walks-and-wonders-of-phillip-island
Cowes West off-leash beach rules: Cowes West beach between Yacht Club access track 340 metres to McKenzie Road access track - dogs are allowed off-leash between 7.00am and 10.00am and 5.00pm and 8.00pm from 1 December to 30 April each year. Between 1 May and 30 November each year dogs are allowed off-leash at all times
This lovely club has resided at this site for 60 years, with members keeping watch over swimmers and sailors alike. There is a car park at the corner of Osbourne Avenue and the Esplanade.
The waters are a hive of activity over summer months and at Easter school holidays with plenty of keen sailors heading out for races and leisurely sails. This is also calm swim beach.
You can't run into too much trouble in these waters, unless you're afraid of seaweed! The Cowes West beach area between the Yacht Club and McKenzie Rood is off-leash at certain times (see link)
See the website link for information about when dogs are allowed on Cowes' beaches (they are only allowed off-leash over winter months).
Come at low-tide to explore some great rock pools here and further west. See link below for tide times.
Jet-skis and motor boats are launched here. Take care! All motor craft are required to travel below the speed of five knots within 200m of the shoreline (but not all do ...)
There is a toilet at the top of the ramp behind the cafe.
The Boat Ramp Cafe is super cute!
If you're feeling adventurous or have little ones in tow, there are some fabulous rock pools here (please keep dogs on-leash as hooded plovers nest nearby).
At low tide you can clamber right over the rocks to the next beach. However if the tide is high, use stairs to the west of the rocks. Bass Coast Shire is considering a car ferry terminal here.
You can see the whole bay, the jetty, yachts - and in winter you may even spot a whale pod (we did!)
Dogs are not permitted on the beach between Mussel Rocks and Erewhon Point at any time during the year (but are permitted on-leash above beach level in the green reserve area on map).
You can't skip a leisurely stroll out to the end of the jetty. There are plenty of people casting a line, or taking a risky dive. A great place for people-watching, seal-spotting and sunset-adoring!
A great playground for kids, updated with new equipment in recent years. Have a think about the name of this playground and see if you can work out its point of origin (took us years to click!)
Island Ice Blocks are located here in summer months.
Good spot for a rest!
The people of Cowes and the local RSL hold their Anzac commemoration here each year. This area is known as the jetty triangle. The huge Isle of Wight pub across the road burned down years ago.
Whether you need to use the loos or not, it's worth pausing to admire the view, the native plantings and the mosaics above the toilet block!
Need an ice-cream stop? There are a couple of options if you trek up Thompson Avenue.
In 2018 a group called Save Our Beaches is fighting a proposal to build a large car ferry terminal on the beach between the yacht club and Mussel Rocks. http://www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/carferry
You can get buses here (behind council buildings) to the Island and to Melbourne. Click bus icon for more information.