Island Whale Festival

Saturday 2nd July 

8am & 1pm

Winter Whale Cruise

Wildlife Coast Cruises

Embark on a 4-hour winter whale adventure discovering Phillip Island’s picturesque coastline. Depart Rhyll to circumnavigate the island, experiencing unique rocky shores and remarkable surf beaches. Stopover at Seal Rocks to view thousands of fur seals and be on the lookout for migrating humpback or southern right whales and playful dolphins.

8am – 12pm and

1pm –  5pm


Bookings Essential

Departs Rhyll Jetty, 16 Beach Rd

8.30am & 1pm

Dolphin and Whale Cruise

Wildlife Coast Cruises

Experience a 3-hour winter dolphin and whale adventure along the rugged southern coastline of Phillip Island. Depart San Remo cruising past the striking cliffs and caves of Cape Woolamai, on the lookout for migrating humpback or southern right whales and playful dolphins.

8.30am – 11.30am and

1pm – 4pm

Bookings Essential

Departs San Remo Jetty, 170 Marine Pde


Festival Hub - Cowes

St Philip's Church

Find a range of interesting displays and Whale Festival Information at the Festival Headquarters in Cowes.

Stallholders and activities include:

  • Totally Renewable Phillip Island
  • Conservation Regulator – Dept of Environment, Land, Water & Planning
  • Wildlife Coast Cruises
  • Victorian Fisheries Authority
  • Boomerang Bags Phillip Island & San Remo
  • Westernport Water
  • Turn The Page book sales
  • Phillip Island Visitor Information

Free 9.30am-5pm

102 Thompson Avenue, Cowes


Whale Tail Identification

Dolphin Research Institute & Two Bays Whale Project

Calling all budding marine biologists! How many flukes (tails) & fins can you identify? Learn how scientists identify individual whales by the patterns or marks on their fins or flukes, that are similar to fingerprints for humans. See how many you can identify correctly.

Free – Bookings Recommened 

9.30am – 10.15am

Festival Hub, Masonic Hall, 92 Church Street, Cowes


SOLD OUT - How to draw cartoon whales workshop

Zev Landes - artist

Join local illustrator & artist Zev Landes (the creator of our whale mascots) in a fun workshop learning how to draw whales.

No drawing experience necessary.

Suitable for all ages & levels of ability.

Free – Booking Recommended

9.30 – 10.30am

Festival Hub – Marquee, 102 Thompson Ave, Cowes

11am - 12.30pm

Whale Collage

Karen Allen Art

Come along to North Wind Studio and create your own whale collage with local Artist, Karen Allen. Karen’s studio is nestled away amongst the trees in Ventnor. Collage is an art form that recycles old magazines and newspapers to create beautiful works of art. Age: 6+

$35.50 per person – Bookings Essential

11am – 12.30pm

North Wind Studio, Ventnor

(*NB: 10 mins from Cowes)

10am - 4pm

Box Wars

Build your own whale

The warriors of Boxwars have come from the cardboard forge to the Island Whale Festival to hold their infamous kid’s workshop. The goal is to build many marvellous cardboard whales for the kids of Phillip island. Join us to graze the corrugated seas of infinite plankton…

Cost – $5 each

Token to be purchased on the day

(Parent supervision required)

Festival Hub – Marquee, St Phillip’s Anglican Church, 102 Thompson Ave, Cowes

2.30 & 4pm

Whale Out Of Water

Dolphin Research Institute

Kids of all ages will love learning about the humpback whale & their journey from Antarctica to QLD. From their evolution from a land mammal to their unusual feeding adaptation & their incredible songs. This program celebrates these awesome giants of our coast & investigates how plastic & climate change is impacting the ocean & what we can all do to help protect what we love. See a life-size replica of a female humpback.

Bookings Essential

$7 per person

Session times:

  • 2.30 – 3.15pm
  • 4.00 – 4.45pm

Festival Hub, St Philip’s Church, 102 Thompson Ave, Cowes


First Nations Presentation

Millowl Dreaming

Millowl Dreaming proudly brings together First Nations ancient whale song lines for ceremony to help guide Betayla on safe journeys while migrating south. Beautiful presentations will include:

  • Welcome to Country Smoking Ceremony
  • Boonwurrung Betayle sing & dance by Steve Ulula Parker & Cultural Dancers
  • Performance by Amos Roach
  • Uncle Mala and the Yarrabah Dancers performing the Woonungarah (Whale song) dance
  • Interracial dance workshop

About the performers

Millowl Dreaming – Steve Ulula Parker (a proud Boonwurrung/Yorta Yorta/Erub man) & Cultural Dancers

Millowl Dreaming is made up of local first nations men from all different clans and mobs. They will be joined by Kulin nation men to share Boonwurrung whale song to help give Betayla safe passage past Millowl. 

Amos Roach

Amos Roach, a proud Ngattindjeri/ Djab Wurrung/Gunditj Mara man plays Didgeridoo, singing in the Whales, the Birds and the Sealife that surrounds this season. Amos Roach is a Dancer and Performer who is also the Director of the ‘Six Seasons’ productions, most recently ‘Woonungarah Chinnup’ (Whales and Winter) with the Yarrabah Dancers and the Murrundaya Yepengna (Dance of Life) Orchestra.

Uncle Mala Yarrabah & Dancers

Whale Songlines stretch along the Coastlines of this Country.  The Yarrabah Dancers are on Millowl, connecting the Whale Songlines from Yarrabah Far North Queensland.  Led by Uncle Mala Yarrabah, the Dancers recreate the journey and the habit of the whales and their surrounds, telling the story of the migration along the coast to here, Millowl.

Free – no bookings required

10.30am – 1pm

Festival Hub – Marquee, 102 Thompson Ave, Cowes


Killer Sperm Whales

Benjamin Francischelli

Killer Sperm Whales were some of the biggest predators that ever existed. With teeth the size of artillery shells and a skull the size of a small car, they lived alongside the Megalodon.  Their last stronghold was in Melbourne (Australia) and palaeontologist Ben Francischelli is on the hunt to find their 5 million-year-old remains underwater.

Free – Bookings Recommended


Festival Hub, Masonic Hall, 92 Church St, Cowes


Make Pom Pom whales

Phillip Island Visitor Information Centre

Make your very own cute whale out of pom poms. Learn about these huge majestic animals that live in our ocean. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Free: Drop-in 

11am – 1pm

Phillip Island Visitor Information Centre – 895 Phillip Island Road, Newhaven

10am - 3pm

Local Artist Pop Up

Pauline Grotto, Carly Meade & Eirian Chapman
Browse the works of local artists Pauline Grotto, Carly Meade and Eirian Champman at the Woolamai Surf lifesaving club over the Island Whale Festival weekend!
🎨Pauline GrottoWhite Grotto Designs is the artwork of Australian and Phillip Island/Millowl local artist, Pauline Grotto. She works with a range of mediums including sculptures, paintings and printing, all of which reflect our natural surroundings and her love for nature. She is known for her bold colours and creative pieces.
🎨Carly Meade – Is an artist, art teacher, and mum of two (three if you count the fur baby), born and living on Millowl/Phillip island. Her experiences and life on the island has lead her to see and feel the environment from a unique perspective, which she shares through art. The impressionistic landscapes she creates are influenced by the incredible coastlines, and other loved and recognisable locations, right on her doorstep.
🎨Eirian Chapman – Is an artist and graphic designer based in Millowl aka Phillip Island. Eirian creates works for advertising, editorial, digital and the retail environment. From large murals to packaging, some of her clients include Destination Phillip Island, Kiehl’s, Apple, Facebook, Spotify, The Hollywood Reporter, Drunk Elephant, Air BnB, Melbourne Zoo and much more!

Free – Walk-in

10am – 3pm

Woolamai Surf Life Saving Club, Cape Woolamai


Marine Career Session - I want to be a Marine Biologist

Dr Sue Mason & Dr Rebecca McIntosh

Many of us have said this growing up and either would like to follow marine science as a career path or would like to know what it is like to work in the field. This session is an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of local marine scientists, project officers, educators, and wildlife managers.

Free – Bookings Recommended

11.45 – 12.45pm 

Festival Hub, Masonic Hall, 92 Church St, Cowes


Following a Passion for the Natural World

Chris Farrell

Join published natural history author & wildlife photographer Chris Farrell to hear about his journey to fulfil his childhood dreams. Learn how through simple and advanced photography you can help the endangered Southern Right Whale by recording sightings as a citizen scientist & why sightings are important around Philip Island and Vitoria.

Free – Bookings Recommended 

1pm – 1.45pm

Festival Hub, Masonic Hall, 92 Church St, Cowes


What’s in a Face?

Dr Kasey Stamation

Learn about how DELWP studies the critically endangered Southern Right whales using the unique patterns on their heads and find out how you can join the WhaleFace community & contribute to this important research

For more information on WhaleFace visit:

Free – Bookings Recommended 


Festival Hub, Masonic Hall, 92 Church St, Cowes

1, 1.30, 2 & 2.30pm

Whale Tales Art

Phillip Island Nature Parks

Drop-in and join the fun & get creative with our marine-themed arts and crafts activities.

Free – Bookings Recommended

Session Times:

  • 1pm    
  • 1.30pm   
  • 2pm   
  • 2.30pm

Nobbies Visitor Centre, 1320 Ventnor Rd, Summerland

(Note: 20 mins from Cowes)

1 - 3pm

Meet the Ranger & Volunteers

Phillip Island Nature Parks

If you’ve ever wondered how fast a little penguin can waddle, how deep they can swim or how many call Phillip Island home, drop into our Ocean Room at the Nobbies Visitor Centre and meet some of our amazing wildlife Researchers. Learn about key conservation projects and how we learn about and conserve some of our key local species. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Free – Drop In


Upstairs – Ocean Room, Nobbies Visitor Centre, 1320 Ventnor Rd, Summerland

(Note: 20 mins from Cowes)

10am & 12pm

SOLD OUT - Spot A Whale

Dolphin Research Institute's Two Bays Whale Project

Learn how to spot a whale with local researcher David Donnelly, while enjoying the magnificent views of Cape Woolamai. This is the perfect location to learn the tell-tale signs of a whale presence in our coastal waters.

Free – Bookings Recommended 

Session Times:

10am-11am and 12noon-1pm

Woolamai Surf Life Saving Club, Woolamai Beach Rd, Cape Woolamai

(Note: 20 mins from Cowes)


Wildlife and Whale Photography Workshop and Tour

Photo Rangers

We’ll trek up along the high Cape Track that provides one of the best lookout spots for local wildlife, migrating whales and some of the most stunning landscapes on the island. In this workshop, we’ll be teaching fundamental principles of wildlife photography so that you get the best shot possible covering things like camera settings, focus, composition and animal behaviour.

Bookings Essential

2pm – 5pm

Meet at Woolamai Surf Lifesaving Club, Woolamai Beach Rd, Cape Woolamai

(Note: 20 mins from Cowes)


Common Good - Citizen Science and Common Dolphins

Dr Sue Mason

Common dolphins are often spotted along the Bass Coast. Are these local common dolphins similar to those in Port Phillip who exhibit residency behaviours and a social structure not typical of the species? Help untangle the mystery by sharing your tour boat images to #FinIDatSea

Free – Bookings Recommended


Festival Hub, Masonic Hall, 92 Church  St, Cowes


Sip and Paint a Whale

Studio 3922

Come and join in the fun and learn some acrylic painting techniques. Laugh, drink and leave with your own masterpiece. All materials provided. BYO drinks.

3.30 – 6pm

$50 pp – Must be 18 years +

Bookings Essential – limited spaces

Studio 3922, 140 Thompson Ave, Cowes (workshop behind Island Brakes)

4.15 & 4.45pm

Regenerating Australia

Destination Phillip Island

What would Australia look like in 2030 if we simply listened to the needs of its people? Regenerating Australia is the latest film from Damon Gameau, the award-winning director of 2040 & That Sugar Film. This 17-minute short film is based on a 4-month interview process with a diverse group of Australians who shared their hopes & dreams for the country’s future.

It is a new story for our nation: a story of empowerment. A story of solutions. A story of regeneration.

Watch trailer here

Free – Booking Recommended

4.15pm – 4.35pm

4.45pm – 5.05pm

Penguin Parade Theatre, 1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerland

(17 min run time. Note: 15 mins from Cowes)


Whales of Victoria

Dolphin Research Institute & Two Bays Whale Project

Where do whales come from and where do they go? Have you seen whales today? Join this discussion & presentation on the whales we see each year. Learn about how you spot and report sightings. Presented by David Donnelly, Two Bays Whale Project.

Free – Bookings Recommended


Festival Hub, Masonic Hall, 92 Church St, Cowes

All Day

Bubbles not Balloons

Destination Phillip Island

Balloons are a HUGE killer of our marine life and populations of some species are declining due to marine pollution. The display will focus on “When Balloons Fly Seabirds Die”. Take part in making bubbles and spread the message.

Free – All Day
Festival Hub, St Philip’s Church, Cowes

9.30am - 4pm

Face Painting

Maru Koala & Animal Park

Visit Maru Koala & Animal Park on your way to Phillip Island and meet your face painting artists.

9.30am – 4.00pm

$10 per person (pay at venue)

Maru Koala & Animal Park,

1650 Bass Highway, Grantville


© 2022 Island Whale Festival