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How to Hike to Florence Bay on Magnetic Island

How to Hike to Florence Bay on Magnetic Island

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Wondering how to get to Florence Bay on Magnetic Island? If you like hiking, viewpoints, and snorkelling, then I’d highly recommend taking one of the short hiking tracks to the northeastern bays on Magnetic Island.

Magnetic Island is one of Australia’s many hidden gems. Located just a quick ferry hop from Townsville, it’s both accessible and wild! Here’s a guide to finding one of my favourite spots on the island; Florence Bay, by taking one of the many short hikes accessible from the road.

In this guide, I’ll give you directions to hike to this beautiful bay with tips and what to expect once you arrive.

Florence bay, magnetic island, australia

How to Get to Magnetic Island

Getting to Magnetic Island is as easy as a 20-minute ferry ride from the coast of Townsville, operating daily.

The best ferry company is SeaLink, which has ferries operating roughly every hour from Townsville to Nelly Bay ferry terminal on Magnetic Island.

The cheapest SeaLink ticket can be booked online in advance on GetYourGuide, which gives you a scannable QR code to use on your phone when you board. The cost for the return trip to Magnetic Island on SeaLink is $40.50 per adult with some concession options available.

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Magnetic island sunset

How to Get to Florence Bay

Wondering how to get to Florence Bay? Hikers will have two options, either take a bus from Nelly Bay and hike the Arthur Bay track or hike from Horseshoe bay, passing Balding and Radical Bay on the way.

Florence Bay from the Nelly Bay Ferry Terminal

If you're coming straight from the Nelly Bay Ferry Terminal, then your best option will be to take a bus from the terminal to The Forts bus stop.

The cost of the bus ticket will be $3.60. However, I'd recommend buying a day pass for around $7.20 at time of writing, which lets you take unlimited transport around Magnetic Island for the cost of only two tickets.

From The Forts Track, you're going to want to follow Radical Bay Road, all the way past Arthur Bay. It's roughly a 30-minute walk, but the scenery is well worth it. If you have time, make sure to stop off in Arthur Bay, Alma Bay as well.

Walking to geoffrey bay magnetic island

Hike the Balding, Radical, & Florence Track From Horseshoe Bay

By far the best way to get to Florence Bay is to take the Balding, Radical and Florence Bay tracks from Horseshoe Bay.

The hike will take you around the best bays on Magnetic Island for sightseeing and snorkeling. There are also some incredible viewpoints along the way that shouldn't be missed. The hike will take approximately 3 hours for a return trip.

The Florence Bay hiking track starts from the eastern end of Horseshoe Bay, just past the bus stop on the beach.

There are several signposts along the trail and it should be fairly easy to find.

Magnetic island walk to florence bay
Beach on magnetic island

What to do at Florence Bay

Made it to Florence Bay? Other than just chilling on the beach, here are some epic things to do once you arrive.


Florence Bay is made famous for being one of the best snorkeling spots on Magnetic Island. There are several white, diamond reef markers that point out a clear snorkeling trail.

The reef stretches out all the way into the bay from the northern end. The other side is mostly sand and small patches of seagrass. Keep an eye out for manta rays that frequent these bays.

It's best to snorkel on Florence Bay on high tide, as it'll be easier to walk out to the reef.

Snorkeling on magnetic island

Find the Secret Secluded Beach

There is a small, secret secluded beach on the far end of the bay. It might not be immediately obvious, but if you walk around the rocks on the right side of the bay, you will reach it within about 20 minutes.

You'll need to climb some big rocks and balance on some logs as you walk across. However, once you arrive, you'll have a secluded spot that's perfect for snorkeling or just enjoying Florence Bay in complete isolation.

Florence bay magnetic island

Hike on to Arthur Bay

If you didn't catch Arthur Bay on the way in, then there is a road and a track that continues on from the southern end of Florence Bay towards Arthur Bay that you could take.

For those coming back to Horseshoe Bay, then it's only a short 20-minute detour to one of the best bays on the island.

If you're looking to explore more of Magnetic Island's hidden gems, then I'd highly recommend walking around the headland to Arthur Bay

Keep an Eye Out for Koalas

Magnetic Island is home to hundreds of Koalas, and they're not only found on the Forts Track. Koalas tend to keep to themselves but like to chill in the eucalyptus trees. Keep your eyes peeled on the Florence Bay track.

Remember, if you do see them, they are quite shy. Give them some space and admire them from afar.

Koala in the tree
Magnetic island sunsets at the bay track

Where to Stay on Maggie

Koala mum and baby in kuranda, australia

1. Selina Magnetic Island Top-Pick

This is one of the best-rated accommodation options on Magnetic Island. It has a good chill-out area, pool, yoga an option to sleep on a converted bus, and on-site koala tours.

Nomads magnetic island accommodation on the beach

2. Nomads Magnetic Island

This hostel offers shared rooms and private rooms. Rooms are small cottages that overlook the reef right on the water's edge in Nelly Bay.

Double bedroom at cstay in picnic bay on magnetic island, australia

3. CStay

One of the best value accommodation options for couples is CStay in Picnic Bay. There are several twin rooms available with an outdoor pool. It is located close to public transport and walking distance to many restaurants.

Sailing magnetic island 4 of 37
Magnetic island, australia

While you're here, make sure to check out some of my other guides below for more inspiration for Maggie and Far North Queensland!

Exploring florence bay, magnetic island, australia
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.