The beautiful Phillip Island circuit on the Bass Straight, off the coast of Victoria in Australia, is one of the most iconic and exciting venues in world motorsport. WorldSBK™ first raced at Phillip Island in 1990, just after the first MotoGP™ visit in 1989.
That Australia has produced so many stars of two-wheel racing, such as Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan, Troy Bayliss, Troy Corser and Casey Stoner, is a testament to the country’s rich motorcycle racing heritage.
Full name: Phillip Island, Australia
Nearest City: Melbourne, Victoria
Time zone: GMT +11
Currency: Australian dollar (symbol: $, code: AUD)
Electric plug type: I
Important telephone numbers:
For anyone traveling to Australia from overseas the vastness of the country, the warmth of the ‘Aussie’ welcome, the diversity of the local wildlife, the seemingly endless coastal beauty and vibrancy of the major cities makes this an exotic place to visit.
Australia’s biggest city Sydney, along with places such as Adelaide, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Perth and the vast, remote and arid Australian outback are all incredible holiday destinations. You could spend months in the country and still only scratch the surface, with the ancient Aboriginal culture beautifully contrasting the youthful, modern spirit of Australia.
The State of Victoria is home to the charming cultural urban hotspot of Melbourne, known by some as Australia’s coolest city. Phillip Island, meanwhile, sits 140 km (87 miles) southeast of Melbourne making it an easy drive to and from the city.
If you want to stay on Phillip Island itself or in the immediate surrounding area there are plenty of options to suit most budgets. Remember to book early, because even though local businesses are accustomed to the influx of big crowds in peak season the best spots can get booked up.
Whether you are staying on Phillip Island itself or on the mainland through San Remo, the small town which is adjoined to the island by a 640m bridge, this is a popular part of Australia to visit and there are a vast range of options available from apartments and cottages to rent, bed & breakfast style accommodation, camping and caravan parks, hotels and motels.Indeed, Phillip Island is visited by around 3.5 million tourists per year so visitors are amply catered for in the main town Cowes, or smaller places such as Rhyll, Newhaven and Cape Woolamai.
Phillip Island itself is a wonderful place to spend a few days, as you take in the rugged coastline along the cliffs and look for seals and whales at The Nobbies, enjoy the nearby Penguin Parade, or meet koalas, kangaroos, dingoes and possums at the Maru Koala and Animal Park.
Elsewhere in Victoria you can take a drive along the stunning Great Ocean Road, also known as the Surf Coast Highway, a 243km (151 mile) stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Allansford and Torquay.In the city of Melbourne the options are endless with the Royal Botanic Gardens, the National Gallery of Victoria, the huge Melbourne Cricket Ground, the bustling Federation Square, and the kitsch Luna Park adventure park in the trendy St. Kilda district all worth a visit.
When visiting Australia it is worth keeping in mind how absolutely vast the country is. This means a lot of your visit here may be spent in transit and also means there are significant differences in terms of local geography and climate, with Melbourne and Victoria being much cooler and often windier than more northern parts of Australia.
Another point to note is that Australians spend a lot of time outdoors and the coast of Victoria in particular is very exposed to the elements, so remember your sunhat, sunglasses and sun cream!
There are some excellent Australian wines and most barmen and waiters have a decent amount of knowledge about their wine to provide you with the perfect tipple. When it comes to beer no-one drinks Fosters, the big local brew is VB (Victoria Bitter), which is very popular with Victorians.Victoria has some of the best seafood in Australia and the famous Aussie BBQ will often feature fish and shellfish, in addition to vegetables, meat, burgers or snags (sausages). Melbourne has some pretty fancy restaurants but when it comes to tipping, you are not obliged to tip 15%-20% like in the US, you just tip if you want to and 10% is considered a decent amount.
In 2016 the Phillip Island circuit became the first track in the world to have hosted 50 WorldSBK races.
The superb Lukey Heights section of the Phillip Island track is named after Melbourne businessman, racing driver and former circuit owner Len Lukey who helped revamp the venue in the 1960s.