Phillip Island Excursion Site 16: Rhyll township

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If you park somewhere near the yacht club you can take a leisurely walk north along the narrow beach around the headland and back. There are public toilets at a couple of places in the area.

Strewn across the beach at and around the headland are abundant black basalt cobbles filled with vesicles (holes). In the embankment below the hill alongside the beach you can see the weathered profile of the basalt, forming a rich, red soil.

Toward the base of the embankment you can see how the surface material on the slope has been sliding down the hill toward the beach. The material that has moved is called colluvium. It can be seen to contain broken pieces of basalt (basalt clasts) in the exposed section toward the bottom. This illustrates something of the way the landscape changes in steep terrain.

Some points of historical interest near Rhyll:

  • A memorial on the Rhyll-Newhaven Road, 50 metres south of the Cowes-Rhyll Road proclaiming the area a British possession.
  • A memorial near the jetty to commemorate the discovery of the area (port) and later expeditions.
  • Memorial at Rhyll to visit by Lieutenant James Grant.
    Memorial at Rhyll to visit by Lieutenant James Grant.
  • A memorial bronze plaque on pink Woolamai granite, commemorating the visit to Western Port by Lieutenant James Grant in the brig ‘Lady Nelson’, and for the naming of Lady Nelson Point, located on the corner of Beach Road and Reid Street north of the yacht club.

    Check the pink granite memorial stone near the corner of Beach Road and Reid Street north of the yacht club on top of the bluff. This stone was cut from the old quarry at Cape Woolamai to the southeast of Phillip Island. You can get a good look at the mineral structure of the granite. Look for the three main minerals, quartz (translucent grey), orthoclase (pink) and plagioclase (white). See how the minerals are interlocking—they are not just pushed together like sandstone. Notice that the granite contains a black ‘accessory’ mineral too.


The area provides a good view of the Rhyll Inlet and some of the basalt outcrops. There are good examples of the effects of gas bubbles on the basalt producing vesicular texture.

Guide available as a booklet
This entry is taken from the geological excursion guide for Phillip Island. The complete guide is available as a booklet on Aussie store.