A mecca for motorcycle racing in Australia, there are many reasons to visit Phillip Island. But easily the most popular is the Australian round of the MotoGP World Championship, which puts the iconic circuit on the world stage.
The Island, as it is often referred to, is home to several motorsport events throughout the year, with the most famous being the international events, MotoGP and World Superbikes.
So while this information is focused around the MotoGP round at the iconic Philip Island Grand Prix Circuit, you could use the vast majority of the motorsport events at the circuit.
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of visiting Phillip Island numerous times for a variety of different events. As a result, I’ve picked up quite a few tips in my time there, all of which I’ve compiled into this blog post for you to take advantage of to plan your trip.
What Is The Race Track On Phillip Island Called?
The race track that hosts the MotoGP and World Superbikes (as well as numerous other events) is officially called the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and is located just outside of the town of Cowes on the island.
How Do You Get To The Phillip Island Circuit
The easiest and quickest way to get to Phillip Island is to drive (or ride) the two/two and half hours from Melbourne.
That said, if you are travelling from overseas or interstate and don’t feel like renting a car for your trip, I’ve detailed the other options for getting to Phillip Island in this blog post. I will mention, though, that having your own transport is easily the most convenient option for you to get to and from the circuit as well.
Where To Stay On Phillip Island For The MotoGP Event
For the diehard fans, easily the best option is staying at the circuit.
This is only an option during the large-scale international events like the MotoGP and World SuperBikes, but if your sole purpose for visiting the island is for the race, and you don’t mind roughing it, it’s probably ideal. Just keep in mind that campgrounds book out very quickly.
That said, I tend to prefer to have a much more sturdy roof over my head when I’m sleeping, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. If you’re also not the camping type or just want to look at the other options on offer around Phillip Island. You’ve got plenty.
Being a popular summer holiday destination for Victorians, there are numerous holiday houses all over the island. When I’m down at Phillip Island, I tend to stay in a house we, as a group of other media professionals, book together. It’s just a much more comfortable option, and by staying as a group, we can save some money.
That said, if you are travelling by yourself or with just your partner, something more hotel-like might be a better fit for you. My top pick is the Ramada Resort by Wyndham Phillip Island for a really convenient resort-style option that has everything you might need.
However, if you are looking for somewhere that won’t hit your budget as hard and is a little closer to the town of Cowes (which is a little more convenient for dining options etc.), then I would recommend either North Pier Hotel or Amaroo Park as very comfortable alternatives.
Getting To And From Phillip Island Circuit
Unless you are camping at the track and well stocked up, you are going to need a car (or motorbike) to get around the island.
While Phillip Island is not all that big, you will definitely need some sort of transport to get around as taxis and ride-share services like Uber are quite limited on the island, especially during major events.
That said, the local bus service – South Coast Bus – does put on dedicated bus services to get patrons to and from the circuit each day, linking up with most of the towns around the island. It is a limited service, so it does get quite busy, but it will work if you don’t have any other option.
Food Options At Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
Phillip Island relies quite heavily on food trucks and other temporary food vendors when major events like the MotoGP and WorldSBK championships come to down.
There is always a good selection of vendors; some you might recognise if you’ve been to the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix already.
That said, it’s hard to go past the local cafe options within the venue. My personal pick is the Champions Burger. In fact, in terms of food options at motorsport venues around Australia, the options at Phillip Island are some of the best.
What To Do In The Evenings During MotoGP
Phillip Island is a buzz when the MotoGP comes to town, particularly the main town of Cowes. So it’s pretty easy to find the best spots around the island; they’ve got the biggest crowds.
You will definitely want to book ahead if you want to sit down at any of the restaurants for dinner. All of the restaurants in the town are well set up to cater to the extra crowds during the MotoGP, but that said they simply can’t accommodate everyone. Most of the best restaurants also set up takeaway options as well, to make sure you can enjoy their food, but the wait times can be long.
If you are a diehard MotoGP fan, then you must spend one night while you are in town for the event to visit Pino’s Trattoria. I won’t give it all away, but once you get inside you’ll understand. Book well in advance (even a couple of days before you head to the island) to ensure you get a seat inside, but it’s well worth it. And the food is pretty good too.
Spending Time in Phillip Island Before or After
Phillip Island is a tourist destination in its own right. So there are plenty of things to do there. Don’t feel that you need to join the crowds rushing back home as soon as the race finishes. That traffic is horrendous!
You’ll save yourself a lot of stress if you stay a couple of extra days on the island and see what else that is has to offer before heading home.
As a motorsport fan, I would definitely recommend getting over to the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit Visitors Center, be that during the race weekend or after the event has finished. They’ve got a scale version of the circuit that you can race Go Kart’s on. It’s a tonne of fun, and you get to boast about the fact that you had the chance to race at Phillip Island as well.
With that said, there is plenty more to discover around Phillip Island than just the race track. I’ve put together a whole blog post detailing all that Phillip Island has to offer that you can read here.
Phillip Island MotoGP Tips
Phillip Island is a fantastic venue for spectators; there are many great vantage points all around the track.
Make sure that over the course of practice and racing that you make your way around the whole track and sample all different spectator points. A couple of my personal favourites are the top of Lukey Heights and Doohan Corner (Turn One).
In my opinion, the best way to do that is to walk around, and it’s a great venue to do just that. However, the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit does put on a bus service to help circulate spectators around the track. It’s certainly a faster way to get back to your favourite spots once you’ve worked out where they are.
Something else you need to consider before heading to Phillip Island is the weather. Backing onto the Bass Strait, the weather on Phillip Island is highly unpredictable. It can be stunning and hot one day and cold and raining sideways the next. I’ve been there when it has even flipped between those extremes in a single day. So just make sure that you account for that when heading to the island and bring both sunscreen and a rain jacket, regardless of what the weather report says in the lead-up.
If you’d like to get more information to help plan your trip to and around Australia… Check out the rest of my blog posts.
And if you have a travel-related question you would like me to answer, head on over to my contact page to get in touch and let me know.