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I've been playing Terraria for a while, and I'd like to get up onto those Floating Islands for their loot (mainly interested in the Shiny Red Balloon).

What is the most reliable and/or easiest method to locate these Floating Islands?

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5 Answers 5

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One of the best and quickest methods (apart from external map viewers) is to use Meteor Shot or Water Bolt. Just keep walking on the ground and shooting bolts straight up, if they bounce back there is an island above you.

More information and other good tips can be found here.

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  • How long should I wait for the shot to bounce back before moving on? Also, how close together should I shoot the shots?
    – kiri
    Feb 26, 2014 at 7:52
  • With Meteor shot you only have to wait a second or two on each location, Water Bolt is slower so a bit more for that. You can shoot twice per screen length or so.
    – Hex
    Feb 26, 2014 at 7:58
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I've found that using several gravitation potions is the most efficient method to locate floating islands.

  • It clears the black unexplored territory of the sky on your map
  • You know for a fact you did not miss any floating islands
  • It only requires a few gravitation potions for the entire world (depending on size)
  • You do not have to wait for projectiles to bounce back

Really the only downside to them is that they are rather difficult to obtain early game, as you can only find them in pots and chests until you are able to obtain fireblossom and feathers.

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  • 1
    Late-game, when I have this option available, it is my preferred option for seeking out floating islands. Especially good if you already know what range to look in, but you can also just keep an eye on the area you've looked at on the map.
    – Zibbobz
    Feb 27, 2014 at 19:25
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    I personally do not use potions very often, apart from the healing potion when required. I just don't like them for some reason.
    – kiri
    Feb 27, 2014 at 19:54
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There are many ways to find sky islands:

Pre-Hardmode

  • The "traditional" method (the way most players have done it since the earliest versions of the game) is to use meteor bullets or water bolt to shoot a projectile upwards, then wait to see if it comes back down. If it does, there's a sky island above you.

  • If you have a stack of dirt/sand, you can build a pillar straight up to see if you run into an island. This is very tedious, since you'll usually want to tear down the pillar after going up, and depending on the speed of your pickaxe this can be aggravatingly slow. It's also dangerous in the early game, especially if you don't have a grappling hook or cobalt shield to anchor yourself to the pillar, since Harpies will knock you off and make you to fall to your death. The rewards can be very worth it in the early game though. Rope also works for this trick, and it makes ascending/descending a little safer.

  • Gravitation potions drop infrequently from pots and can also be found in chests underground or from fishing. Using one can let your explore the sky freely, but be careful - you can still take falling damage even when falling upside down.

  • The Queen Bee has a small chance to drop the Bee mount, which grants limited flying ability. Though its horizontal distance is pretty lackluster, you can easily fly vertically to find any sky islands in your world.

Hardmode

  • The Wizard, once found and freed, sells the Ice Rod, which can create temporary blocks of ice in midair. Combined with a grappling hook, this make aerial travel quite simple.

  • Once you get your first set of wings, getting to the sky islands is pretty trivial, especially with late game wings. Of course, actually obtaining the wings without access to Souls of Flight from Wyverns can be a bit of a problem... you'd have to get lucky and get a pair of Fin Wings from the Angler quests or a set of dev wings from a boss bag in Expert Mode, or you'd have to buy a set from either the Steampunker or Witch Doctor.

Other

In earlier versions of Terraria (prior to v1.2), sky islands had various rare ore deposits scattered around. Occasionally, due to a world generation bug, these ores could spawn on the surface in addition to on the sky island. If you ran along the surface and found silver or gold, there was a strong chance that a sky island was directly above you.

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An efficient way to find them is constantly flying with wings/a flying mount(e.g.Cosmic Car Key/Bee Mount). Up from 1 to 3 floating islands can be found in small worlds and from 1 to 8 in large worlds. After a few in-game days, most part of the map will be covered in this way, and if you have luck, you may found a lot of floating islands. The Water Bolt is the harder way, since you must wait until the bolt comes back and it's also found pretty hard.

The easiest way to get wings is going in the hardmode underground jungle biome, make a house there, and wait for the witch doctor to come in. It must be night when you go to the witch doctor to get the wings, and you must have 1 platinum coin at you too. Once you get them, you'll easily be able to get to floating islands, but beware of Harpies and Wyverns.

The flying mount is completely optional, but just so you don't have to get down after some time.

Hope i helped you with this tips.

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If you wait until hard mode Wings might be useful. That's what I did to find Islands

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  • They may be useful, but this doesn't really provide a method of finding islands reliably.
    – Timmy Jim
    Jan 13, 2017 at 18:59
  • @TimmyJim It uses effectively the same strategy as gravitation potions, so it's a perfectly valid answer. The real problem is that getting the souls of flight needed to craft wings is tough if you can't get up to the space biome (where sky islands are) to begin with.
    – Mage Xy
    Jan 13, 2017 at 19:01
  • Also another downside to this is the fact that the stuff you are going to be getting from Sky Islands won't be very useful at all if you manage to get into Hard Mode since that loot doesn't scale at all.
    – Ramirez
    Jan 13, 2017 at 19:13
  • that method will work, but its very time consuming and ineffective until late-game. Sep 18, 2017 at 16:18

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