Cape Woolamai is renown for its large and consistent surf breaks, making it a popular spot to visit on Phillip Island; However, most travellers make it no further than the car park. The Cape Woolamai Coastal Walk features breath-taking panoramic views and a series of compelling rock formations and yet, it continues to remain relatively unknown. The walk consists of three main points of interest. Cape Woolamai’s old granite quarry, Phillip Island’s Highest elevation point: The Beacon, and lastly, the unique granite rock structures that form The Pinnacles.
This coastline is also teeming with wildlife, wallabies by day, and a vital breeding ground for short-tail shearwaters aka the Muttonbird by night; a popular whale watching spot too.
Before you embark on the 8.5km circuit be sure to check the local tide information, as parts of the trail cannot be accessed at high tide. It is also recommended to hike in a clock-wise direction in mid-late afternoon to experience a sunset at The Pinnacles.
- 1 hour and 30 minutes from Melbourne
- Not accessible at high tide
- 8.5km walk, allow 3-4 hours to complete
- Moderate Difficulty: Soft sandy sections, 2 sets of stairs and a gentle climb up to The Beacon
- Public toilets can be located at the Surf Life Saving Club
Cape Woolamai’s Granite Quarry
Nearing the end of Cleeland Bight sits the remains of a short-lived granite quarry. In the late 19th century, local granite was split and blasted to supply Melbourne builders. After just 2 years of operation, the enterprise was decommissioned, leaving evidence of previous activity. Remnants of an old jetty and drill holes in large granite pieces can be seen at low tide.
At 112 metres above sea-level, The Beacon is Phillip Island’s highest point. Located at the very tip of the cape, this structure projects light to assist boats in navigating the coastline. The 360 degree views on offer from this point is a sight to behold; Phillip Island, San Remo, Kilcunda and beyond.
A quick glance over any cliff face along this walk and there is bound to be granite formations to see, but none quite as impressive as The Pinnacles. The processes of volcanic activity and erosion take the credit for creating this grand seascape. One formation resembles a spiral staircase that ascends in to the sky and the other a set of consecutive columns; made even more scenic by the unique pinkish colouring that features in Woolamai granite. This ancient icon is easily the highlight of the hike and should headline any Phillip Island “to do” list.
From the Cape Woolamai car park, walk away from the beach and back up the access road. Look for a sandy trail labelled as “Cleeland Bight”, roughly 40m up on the right; the route towards the old quarry begins here. Take the track for 300m to reach the waters edge. Turn right and follow this coastline for 1.7km. Stroll past the scattered driftwood and appreciate the views back towards the mainland. In no time you will reach the Old Granite Quarry.
Commence the journey towards The Beacon by continuing up the flight of stairs and turning left at the first junction. Lying between the Quarry and The Beacon sits a breathtaking lookout point. The first section of rugged coastline is revealed here, 1.2km up from the Quarry. Steep, jutted cliff faces and turquoise water can be seen, don’t miss it.
From the Lookout continue up towards The Beacon. Once the sightseeing is done, continue down towards The Pinnacles for 2km. Peer over the cliff tops at any time to reveal an eye-capturing coastline that has been slowly eroded by the harsh seas of the Bass Strait. After the sun goes down and your time at The Pinnacles is done, head North towards Woolamai surf beach. The last leg involves a 700m walk on the sand, back towards the car park.
Directions to Cape Woolamai Coastal Walk
- Use the address: 288 Woolamai Beach Road, Cape Woolamai, Victoria
- Park in the Surf Live Saving Club car park.
- Begin walk at “Cleeland Bight” trail entrance, roughly 30m back up the road on the right.
Note about conversation
The area around Cape Woolamai is a crucial habitat for various bird species such as the Australian Muttonbird and even the endangered Hooded Plover.
To preserve the delicate ecosystem, visitors should remain conscious of their impact. Keeping noise levels low and staying on designated paths are crucial to avoid disturbing the birds’ natural behavior, which includes their reproductive and feeding patterns.
Conservation efforts here focus on maintaining the ecological balance, ensuring the survival and prosperity of these species in their natural habitat.
Humble Review: Tom Mcmaster
As a photographer, it’s not very often that you visit a location that fulfils your expectations, the Cape Woolamai Coastal Walk not only fulfilled my expectations set by social media posts but exceeded them tremendously. The water was more blue and the heights were greater than expected, although I’m thrilled with the photos I took, they will never do it justice. I am still kicking myself for never having visited this incredible walk in my frequent trips to Phillip Island, it is safe to say I will be coming back very soon.