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french island

French Island is about 80 km from the centre of Melbourne, and is easily accessible, despite being so untouched.

French Island, Victoria's largest island, is located in Western Port Bay
More than two-thirds of French Island is national park.

" The largely unspoilt ecosystem is a major attraction for holiday-makers and nature lovers. It is an excellent spot for walking, nature studies, bus tours and bicycling, and there are three camping grounds." (The Age, see the full story {link will open in a new tab} )

Parks Map
Located just 80 km from the heart of Melbourne, French Island offers the perfect escape.
Famed for its wildlife and unspoilt environment, it is a place where you can reconnect with your natural environment and relax.

Even the short boat trip from Stony Point adds to the feeling of escape.

The Natural Place to Go

French Island is unique with a range of habitats; woodlands, heath, mangroves, coastal, wetlands and Western Port Bay. The island was “off-limits” for 60 years, protecting these habitats from most of the ravages of the 20th Century.

This is a haven for native mammals. Koalas, echidnas, and potoroos thrive here because there are no foxes. In fact, the healthy koalas are so prolific, they are used to populate many depleted areas on the “mainland”.

French Island is visited by 238 of the 400 bird species observed in Victoria. It is a significant breeding ground for pelicans, black swans, oyster catchers, shearwaters (“mutton birds”) and the majestic sea eagle. There is even a population of the extremely rare orange-bellied parrot.

The significance of Westerport Bay has been recognised by its listing under the Ramsar international treaty for the protection of wetlands needed by migratory birds. The coastal fringe abutting Tortoise Head Lodge and the wetlands on the property are reasonably considered covered by the spirit of this listing.

Over 500 plant species add to the natural beauty of this unspoilt environment, including nearly 100 orchids, some unique to French Island.

The island has no electricity wires or power poles to spoil the view. Here, you can really escape the city. With very few artificial lights, the night sky comes alive with stars.

The Natural Thing To Do

Having made good your escape, you can choose from many nature-based activities. 

Amble along secluded sandy beaches, without encountering another person. Cycle along flat, uncrowded roads. Spot 50 bird species in one day. Take a guided nature tour (walking and bus tour).

This is the perfect spot for photographing, painting and sketching landscapes and wildlife.

In the warmer months, the shallow waters of the beach just a short walk from the Tortoise Head Lodge provide an ideal spot for families.

Celebrate your Escape in Style

Whether you escape for a few hours or a week, do it in style. At Tortoise Head Lodge, every room features a panoramic view of the bay and island vistas. Relax in our comfortable lounge, dine in our friendly dining room, or contemplate the sunset from our generous verandahs.

Escape from the kitchen too!

We provide home cooked meals, tea and coffee, along with fine home baking. Scrumptious cut lunches a speciality!

Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements or preferences.

You don’t have to escape the kids

Plenty of resorts will tell you that you will have to escape from the children before you can have a real escape of your own. That’s fine for people who have baby-sitters on tap. But for those who don’t, or who simply want to share the experience of exploring nature with their children, Tortoise Head Lodge is your destination. We welcome children, as our tariffs show.