Is there anything to do on French Island?

Is there anything to do on French Island?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 04/12/2022

Reading time: 4 mins

French Island is a charming, peaceful island located just to the south of Melbourne.

French Island is a bit of an anomaly even to Melbournians, who are well aware of its presence but unaware as to what, if anything, goes on there! French Island is Phillip Island’s quiet neighbour. It is the inner-bay island where not much is going on but that’s exactly how those who live there – and travel there – want it.

But this doesn’t mean there is absolutely nothing to do there! French Island is actually one of Victoria’s ideal getaways for people searching for some peace and serenity. Maybe even for travellers seeking a healthy little detox from the everyday hustle and bustle. Why not take a little time to kick back, relax and let some of that fine French Island nature engulf you in its beauty?

Here are some peaceful experiences you can have while visiting French Island.

French Island National Park

Where better a place to enjoy some peace and serenity than in a tranquil national park? The French Island National Park is situated on a massive island with only around 100 people living on it. French Island National Park is the perfect place to unwind and be surrounded by nature.

The national park is comprised of rugged shorelines, windswept beaches, swampy mangroves and salt marshes. All these landscapes combine to create an adventurous spot that is perfect for a day of exploring.

There are many different hikes to choose from, each varying in length, and leading through different landscapes. The General Store walk is the shortest hiking trail that takes about 2 hours round trip. There’s a large chance hikers will come across koalas and a plethora of birds on this walk. The Old Coast Road Track is about a 3 hour return trip and winds through the woodlands of the national park. The West Coast Wetlands Walking Track takes about 3.5 hours roundtrip. It’s the longest walk on the island and passes by lookouts and wetlands. The Fairhaven Northern Beach walk takes about 2 hours to complete and follows the shoreline.

Cycle around the island

You may be surprised to find that French Island is not accessible by car. Instead, the island is an eco-island that is ideal for cycling. You will have to take a ferry to French Island before hiring a bike to get around. Alternatively, you can bring your own bike on the ferry. The best bike to hire is a mountain bike because it will be able to carry you across more terrains.

Once you have secured a bike, it’s time to explore! There are plenty of cycling paths to follow that connect across the island. Whether you want to head to the beach, the forest, or a specific location, your bike will be able to get you there.

View the island’s wildlife

Koala viewing

French Island is home to an abundance of wildlife. If you are camping on the island, you may be able to spot an echidna, long-nosed potaroo, or eastern-barred bandicoot. There are also over 200 species of birds that live on French Island. If you are a fan of birdwatching, this island is for you.

Of course, one of the animals many people try to spot is the koala. French Island is actually home to one of the largest populations of koalas in all of Australia. The koalas on this island don’t face the same dangers that koalas on the mainland face, so the population here is quite large.

Hang out & camp!

Camping on French Island

As we’ve made it abundantly clear – French Island is a place for chilling and reconnecting with nature. The best way to spend more than a day here is to camp. The main campground on the island is Fairhaven Campground. The campground offers a truly remote feeling, surrounded by trees with access to the beach. The campground is small, with only 10 campsites available. Because of this, you will want to be sure to secure your campsite ahead of time.

After learning about what to do on French Island, we’re sure you are going to love this amazing location as much as we do. Visit French Island for a few days, or join our unforgettable Phillip Island and French Island adventure!

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.