Cowes is the main township on Phillip island in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. It is about two hours' drive from Melbourne and can also be reached by coach, or passenger ferry from the stony point on the Mornington peninsula. Cowes is located on the northern side of Phillip Island and faces towards the french island and the Mornington peninsula. At the 2016 census, cowes had a population of 4,839. The area was originally known as mussel rocks. In 1865, a government surveyor henry cox returned from a holiday retreat in England and named the town he surveyed after the seaport town of Cowes on the isle of wight, England. The post office opened on 1 august 1869. In recent years Cowes has seen a rapid expansion in its size. Many estates and apartments have been built in and around the town on what was previously rural farmland. An estimated 70% of houses are owned by absentee owners, most of whom live in and around Melbourne. The main road of the island (Phillip island road) leads into Cowes and becomes the town's main road, Thompson avenue. A distinctive feature of the road is the 1 km lining of golden cypress trees which were planted in the early 20th century. Further, into town, the road begins a gradual descent before it terminates with at-intersection at the waterfront. As the road approaches the waterfront, density of restaurants and general retail outlets increases. Cowes jetty was built at the end of Thompson Avenue in 1870 and remains a focal point of the town. It is flanked by sheltered beaches which are a popular attraction for families. An annual fireworks event was held at 9 pm on new year's eve until in 2010 when they were cancelled and reinstated in 2017. Occasionally a container ship can be seen from the waterfront heading to or from the port at hastings which is located to the north.

Images around Cowes VIC 3922

Around Cowes VIC 3922

Our Picks on what to Do in Cowes VIC

Phillip Island Wildlife Park

Philip Island Circuit

The Big Koala Statue

Seaview Holiday Park

Cowes Beach

A Maze n Things Holiday Park

Our Picks on where to Stay in Cowes VIC

Anchor Belle Holiday Park

Apartments at Glen Isla

Charm Heaven @ Phillip Island

Search hotels around Cowes VIC

The Search will open in a new window on Partner site

Our Picks on what to Eat in Cowes VIC

Cowes Tandoori Indian Restaurant

Three Aces Cafe

The Waterboy Cafe

Shopping in Cowes VIC

Community Services  

Cowes Visitor Information Centre VIC
97 Thompson Avenue,

Bass Coast Shire Council VIC
76 McBride Avenue,

Cowes Police Station VIC
92 Chapel Street,

Phillip Island Library - West Gippsland Libraries - Cowes VIC
89 Thompson Avenue,

Location Information 

  • Elevation: 12 m (39 ft)
  • Population: 4,839
  • State electorate(s): Bass
  • Federal Division(s): Monash
  • Population information is based on 2016 Census data.

Travel To  

Mornington VIC 3931 (109 km, 1 hr 29 mins)
Wonthaggi VIC 3995 (41.6 km, 38 mins)
Acknowledgement of Country

Cowes VIC is located on the following Aboriginal Nation/s. acknowledges the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and the traditional custodians of the lands where we live, learn and work.