Incredible Islands to Visit Near Melbourne

Melbourne is a great place to explore the many islands which are so close to the city. Whether you want to relax on a secluded beach, take part in an outdoor adventure or learn about Aboriginal culture, there is an island perfect for your needs.

You could choose to join one of several cruises that operate just off the coast of Melbourne offering spectacular views of the city skyline and wildlife encounters. The cruises take you past secluded bays and sandy beaches, as well as give you a glimpse of the city skyline from the water. Here are some of the best islands to visit near Melbourne:

Phillip Island

Just off the coast of Melbourne, Phillip Island is renowned for its wildlife encounters. One of the best ways to enjoy the island is by taking a guided tour by 4WD vehicle where you will be able to see penguins and other native wildlife such as wallabies. The tours visit some of the island’s best beaches where you can stop for a relaxing picnic.

Chinamans Island

This island, located off the coast of Portarlington, offers one of Melbourne’s best snorkeling spots. You can explore coral reefs and abundant marine wildlife, including sea horses and stingrays. The island is also home to a shipwreck which you can see at low tide.

Bass Strait Islands

The Bass Strait islands are located between Tasmania and the mainland of Australia, including Cape Barren Island where you can spot nesting mutton birds. You will have to take a tour to access these islands as there are no public transport links available.

Herring Island and Seal Rocks

Located about 50 minutes south of Melbourne, Herring Island and Seal Rocks are popular spots to relax and enjoy the scenery. The former is a small island with no facilities, while you will find toilets and picnic tables at Seal Rocks.

San Remo Ocean Park

This park is home to one of Victoria’s largest wave pools and is a great place to visit during the hotter months. The park has a range of water slides and there are plenty of nearby cafes and shops in San Remo.

French Island

This beautiful island is only a 20-minute ferry ride from Port Fairy and has about 1,000 inhabitants. It has some of the best fishing in Victoria, with plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife such as koalas and emus.

Ponyfish Island

This small island, situated between Queenscliffe and Swan Island, is known for its high population of fairy penguins. There are only a few walking tracks on the island, so it is great for people who enjoy spotting wildlife without disturbing it.

Sanctuaries Coast Cruises

These cruises head out from Port Phillip Bay and take you past the rugged coastline of Arthur’s Seat National Park to Seal Rocks, home to a colony of Australian fur seals. You will also see other animals such as grey nurse sharks and migrating whales during certain seasons.

Montague Island Cruises

This tour heads out from South Nowra, where you will enjoy the scenic coastline and take in the seabirds and other wildlife on Montague Island. The island is home to one of Australia’s largest fur seal colonies and there are numerous walks and opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

This circuit is home to one of Australia’s best motorsport events, which takes place in late November each year. The track follows the roads around the island and shares the same spectacular coastal scenery that you will enjoy from your ferry or helicopter ride.

Mallacoota Inlet

This inlet is well known for its opportunities to spot whales, dolphins, and other marine wildlife. There are walks along the shoreline where you will be able to get up close with kangaroos and other native animals which come down to the water to drink.

Wilson’s Promontory National Park

This is Victoria’s most popular national park and is only a 50-minute drive from Melbourne. You can enjoy beaches, coastal scenery, and plenty of opportunities for bushwalking and wildlife spotting. Wilson’s Promontory Lighthouse stands on the southernmost point of the promontory and has a fascinating history.

Sandridge Beach on Port Phillip Bay

Sandridge Beach is a popular spot for swimmers and surfers, although it can get very busy in peak season. You can hire kayaks and windsurfing boards from the nearby kiosk and there are great picnic spots along the foreshore. It is also home to some of Melbourne’s best cafes.


With so many beautiful islands just a short trip from Melbourne, visitors are never short of things to do. Whether you prefer wildlife spotting or water sports, there is something fun for everyone. Cruising along the Port Phillip Bay coastline provides breath-taking views of the mountains and beaches so why not enjoy some day trips this year?

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