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 a quick rundown of how to get to his beautiful bay, and what to expect once you arrive.
- How to Get to Florence Bay on Magnetic Island
- Hike the Balding, Radical and Florence Track From Horseshoe Bay
- What to do at Florence Bay
- Sailing at Magnetic Island
- More Magnetic Island Travel & Adventure Guides
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
How to Get to Magnetic Island
Getting to Magnetic Island is as easy as a 40-minute ferry ride from the coast of Townsville.
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 of the return trip to Magnetic Island on SeaLink is $39 per adult with several concession options also available.
How to Get to Florence Bay on Magnetic Island
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 $2.80. However, I'd recommend buying a day pass, which lets you take unlimited transport around Magnetic Island for the cost of only two tickets.
From The Forts, 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.
Hike the Balding, Radical and 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.
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.
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.
Continue 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.
Where to Stay on Magnetic Island
Below I've summarised the three best places to stay on Magnetic Island for various budgets. The links go to Booking.com, which is what I personally always use to book the best deals on accommodation.
- Stay at the Koala Sanctuary: Bungalow Bay Koala Village - This hostel is one of the best-rated budget accommodation options on Magnetic Island. It has a good chill-out area, pool and of course, the on-site koalas.
- Best Hostel With a View: Base Backpackers - Base Backpackers is a name synonymous with budget travel in Australia. This hostel has shared rooms for under $35 a night. Rooms are actually small cottages and overlook the reef right on the water's edge in Nelly Bay.
- Best Guest House for Couples: CStay in Picnic Bay - One of the best value accommodation options for couples is Cstays in Picnic Bay. There are several twin rooms for less than $65 per night.
Related:Best Magnetic Island Sunset Points
Sailing at Magnetic Island
I explored Magnetic Island on my two-month sailing trip from Mackay to the Daintree River. During this time, we anchored up for a week in Horseshoe Bay.
Sailing log: Sailing Log Week 7 - Magnetic Island
More Magnetic Island Travel & Adventure Guides
I hope you've enjoyed this quick guide to visiting Florence Bay on Magnetic Island near Townsville, 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!