Set Sail On The Sydney To Hobart

26 December 2013

The Sydney to Hobart yacht race has transformed from humble beginnings into one of Australia’s most iconic sporting events. Thousands of spectators will crowd Sydney Harbour with pleasure craft to watch the race’s traditional Boxing Day start, with just as many race fans set to descend upon Constitution Dock in Hobart to witness the epic endurance event’s thrilling climax.

When the starting cannon fires at one o’clock to signal the beginning of this famous blue-water classic, it rings out amid a Sydney Harbour crowded with every kind of floating craft imaginable. From single-seat kayaks to palatial spectator vessels, the harbour is the place to be to watch the start of a race now enshrined as one of Australia’s most iconic Yuletide events.

 Sydney Harbour

Float On Out To The Harbour

Widely considered one of the world’s most scenic natural harbours, Sydney Harbour forms a perfect vantage point from which to admire the dramatic Sydney skyline. Book a room in the historic precinct of The Rocks, take a stroll around Circular Quay and jump on a ferry across to Manly to enjoy one of Sydney’s most quintessential summertime experiences.

When it comes to the race itself, many spectators take to the open waters to enjoy the best vantage points of the frenetic opening flourishes. The Sydney to Hobart’s official website lists finding a clear a spot near Middle Head as one of the best places to watch these high-tech super maxis whiz by, while those not keen on following the yachts all the way through Sydney Heads are advised to stick close to the harbour’s western shore.

Sign On For Some Coastal Scenery

While it’s not overly common to follow the fortunes of the fleet by car down the New South Wales coastline, you can buck the trend and incorporate some dramatic coastal scenery into the bargain by hiring a vehicle and steering it southward towards Victoria. Head on past Wollongong and you’ll soon hit the open road through some of the state’s most picturesque seaside towns.

Scenic Nowra is a popular holiday destination for visitors from both Sydney and Canberra, while further down the coast, Jervis Bay is a popular stop-off en route to the equally resplendent Bateman’s Bay. Towns like Bermagui and Merimbula are regularly frequented by Victorian holidaymakers keen to soak up some rays at the beach, making the sun-kissed New South Wales coastline an attraction in its own right.

Constitution Dock Comes Alive

When the 2011 Sydney to Hobart concluded with one of the closest finishes in the race’s history, more than 10,000 spectators crammed into Constitution Dock in Hobart to see Investec Loyal claim line honours by just three minutes from its closest rival Wild Oats XI. Indeed, this harbourside dock adjacent to Salamanca Place is the place to be when the first of the Sydney to Harbour yachts cross the finish line.

Hobart itself is one of Australia’s most charming capitals, with a compact cityscape harbouring its own share of cosmopolitan cafes and highly-rated restaurants. Indeed, Tasmania’s urbane capital is the perfect place to end a competition embodying the spirit of adventure, as the famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race gets set to test the endurance of its fleet for another year.

Mike Tuckerman

From Europe to Asia and many places in between, there's rarely a town or city I've not enjoyed exploring. When I'm not wandering the streets and discovering new destinations, you can usually find me hanging out with the locals at major sporting events.