Cowes East Beach on Phillip Island has a very gently sloping beach and shallow sand bars that extend for several kilometres along
the foreshore from Cowes East to Silverleaves and beyond. At low tide, the water recedes 20-30 metres, exposing a wide, flat area
for building sand castles, digging or beach cricket. The sand is clean, with relatively few shells or seaweed.
Above: The expansive sandy foreshore at Cowes East Beach at low tide
Sand groins (the wooden fences heading into the water every few hundred metres along the beach)
help to trap and keep the sand in place. The best time to visit is about an hour after low tide, after the sand has drained and
dried out a little bit, but you can frolick in the shallow water at any time except near high tide, when the water backs up
to the steeper bank of sand at the back of the beach.
Swimming anywhere on Phillip Island at high tide or in choppy seas can be treacherous for inexperienced swimmers due to the strong currents around the island.
If you're not sure when low tide occurs, do an internet search for Cowes tides, making sure that you are looking at tide times for Cowes
on Phillip Island, not Cowes in England.
At the western end of the beach, near Erewhon Point, there is a pile of volcanic rocks to explore. At the top of the point you will also
find a children's playground. It includes a row boat on springs that looks out over the ocean, plus a long rubber pipe that you can balance on or
use as a novelty see saw.
Above: Frolicking in the shallow water as a seagull has its own "ankle deep water" experience
For adults, the several kilometre walk or jog along Cowes East Beach is a great way to stretch your legs and keep fit. For the energetic, you can also turn your
jog into a steeple chase over the sand groins.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Cowes East Beach, corner of the Esplanade and Steele St, Cowes East, Phillip Island,
140 km (approx. 2 hr drive) south of the Melbourne CBD.
To get to Phillip Island, take the Monash Fwy (M1) then the South Gippsland Hwy, Bass Hwy,
Anderson Link Rd and the Phillip Island Rd (C422, M420, B420) to the island.
Follow the signs to Cowes, which is approximately 17 km from the bridge at the entrance to the island.
In Cowes, you can head down the main street (Thompson Ave) and turn right at the Esplanade at the bottom
of the hill. Follow the Esplanade east for 380 metres and park at Erewhon Point, near the corner of the
Esplanade and Steele St. Walk down the steps at the eastern edge of the Erewhon Point playground.
Alternatively you can access the beach 400 metres further east at the end of
Dunsmoore Rd, anywhere along Stradbroke Ave.
None on the beach. A playground, rubbish bins, sheltered barbecues, drinking fountain,
park benches, picnic tables, bike racks and car parking can be found on the hill at Erewhon Point, which is
at the western end of the beach. Toilets are located on the foreshore of Cowes beach, down the stairs
directly west of Erewhon Point.
Baby change facilities:
No shade available on the beach. Shade available in the playground at Erewhon Point.
No dogs from 10 am to 5 pm during the months Dec to Apr. Dogs must be on a leash at all other times.
No fires, no motorized vehicles, no camping, no horses, no vegetation removal. Restrictions apply to the taking of
If you are planning to stay overnight in the area you can try
accommodation in Cowes
Bass Coast Shire Council
The penguin parade, every day at dusk at The Nobbies.
Before you head out, make sure to read the water safety information
beach is not patrolled by lifeguards. If you would prefer to swim at a beach with lifeguards during the peak summer holiday
period, Cowes Main Beach is 200 metres to the west of Erewhon Point.
The marker indicates the location of the beach at the end closest to Erewhon Point.
If you would like to leave a comment about this shallow water play area, please fill in the comment box below.
I'm particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
Make sure you let me know whether you consent to having your comments published on this website.
© Brad Neal 2017. All rights reserved.