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Best Boxing Day Harbour Cruises in Sydney 2018

Chase the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on 26 December.

Christmas might be over but the holidays have only just begun. If you’re itching to explore the city or have racked up a decent amount of Christmas money and want to spend it on something amazing, you can’t go wrong with a Sydney harbour cruise.

Not least because Boxing Day is the day the yachts set sail for Bass Strait in the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Whether you’re visiting Sydney or you’re a local Sydneysider, seeing the boats as they take to the seas is a sight not to be missed.

Here are the vessels either chasing the race on Boxing Day or sailing through the harbour throughout the day to keep the Christmas holiday vibe going.

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Top picks for Boxing Day harbour cruises that chase the start of the Sydney to Hobart:

Cruise company What's included? Price
Boxing Day Cruise
  • Food: Light lunch
  • Drink: Light refreshments
  • Cruise: 3 hour sailing from Darling Harbour
  • Departs: 11.30am
$109 per person
Sydney Harbour Boxing Day Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race start on a Tall Ship
  • Food: BBQ Buffet lunch
  • Drink: Wine, beer and soft drinks included.
  • Cruise: 4-hour sailing from Campbell's Cove, The Rocks
  • Departs: 10:30am and 11.15am, depending on option selected
$225 per person
Sydney Harbour Boxing Day Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race start on the Wangi Queen Ferry
  • Food: BBQ Buffet lunch
  • Drink: Wine, beer and soft drinks included.
  • Cruise: 4-hour sailing from Campbell's Cove, The Rocks
  • Departs: 10:30am and 11.15am, depending on option selected
$109 per person
Boxing Day cruise on Karisma
  • Food: Not included, but meal options can be arranged
  • Drink: Beverage packages available.
  • Cruise: Minimum 4-hour hire sailing from designated wharves along the harbour
  • Departs: Time upon request
$1,188 per hour (full boat hire)
Boxing Day cruise on Morpheus
  • Food: Not included, but menu options are available
  • Drink: Beers, wines and soft drinks included.
  • Cruise: 4-hour sail from Casino Wharf
  • Departs: 11am
From $140 per person
Boxing Day cruise on Prometheus
  • Food: Not included, but meal options can be arranged
  • Drink: Beverage packages available.
  • Cruise: 5-hour hire sailing from designated wharves along the harbour
  • Departs: 12pm
$9,950 per charter (full boat hire for 5 hours)

Top picks for other Boxing Day harbour cruises:

Cruise company What's included? Price
Experience Oz's Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise
  • Food: Buffet lunch
  • Drink: Not included, but available for purchase.
  • Cruise: 2-hour sailing from King Street Wharf + Bonus 2-hour sightseeing cruise after
  • Departs: 2pm
$88 per person
Experience Oz's Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise with Drinks
  • Food: 2-course dinner including shared mezze plate
  • Drink: Sparkling, wine, beer and soft drinks included
  • Cruise: 1.5-hour sailing from Darling Harbour
  • Departs: 5pm
$99 per person

Experience Oz's Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise

  • Food: Buffet dinner included
  • Drink: Not included.
  • Cruise: 3-hour sailing from King Street Wharf
  • Departs: 7.30pm
$99 per person
Experience Oz's Sydney Harbour Tall Ship Twilight Dinner Tall Ship Cruise
  • Food: Dinner included.
  • Drink: Not included.
  • Cruise: 2-hour sailing from Campbell's Cove
  • Departs: 5.30pm
$109 per person
Sydney Harbour 3 Course Dinner and Dancing Cruise
  • Food: 3-course dinner included.
  • Drink: Not included, available for purchase.
  • Cruise: 2.5-hour sailing from Circular Quay
  • Departs: 7.30pm
$154 per person
Experience Oz's 3 hour Sydney Harbour Sailing Cruise
  • Food: Not included, BYO allowed.
  • Drink: Not included, BYO allowed.
  • Cruise: 3-hour sailing from Darling Harbour
  • Departs: 1pm
$175 per person


Who else offers Boxing Day harbour cruises?

  • Fantasea Cruising: Follow the Sydney to Hobart flotilla from Sydney Harbour, out to Sydney Heads and onto Bondi Beach in this special Boxing Day cruise. The ship departs at 11:30am and has a journey time of 3 hours. Prices from $99pp.
  • Captain Cook Cruises: Chase one of the greatest ocean races in the world with Captain Cook Cruises. Six cruise options are available including a picnic cruise and seating on the sky, club or show decks. Prices from $79.
  • Bass and Flinders Cruises: Three of Bass and Flinders’ cruise ships will depart from either Darling Harbour, Circular Quay or Manly Wharf to chase the race on Boxing Day. Prices from $130pp.
  • Sydney Boat Adventures: Offering a 5-hour harbour cruise, Sydney Boat Adventures lets you witness the Sydney to Hobart yacht racers as they prepare for the long journey ahead before you chase them through the harbour. This is a chartered vessel with prices from $4,500.

Boxing Day harbour cruise deals

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Where to watch the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

If you haven't secured yourself a spot on one of the spectator ships above, there are numerous vantage points in both Sydney and Hobart where you can watch the race in action.

Sydney vantage points:

  • South or North Head: These are the ideal spots to catch the fleets as they set sail from the two starting lines to the north and south of Shark Island. In North Head, find your place at Cremorne Point, Bradley's Head, Clifton Gardens or at the Q Station while in South Head, try for Rushcutter's Bay, Hornby Lighthouse and restaurants along the shore front of Watson's Bay.
  • Sydney Harbour National Park: Offering more space for a better view, Sydney Harbour National Park boasts panoramic views of both North and South heads.
  • Headland Park: This former military lookout drinks up endless views of Sydney Heads, the city skyline and the eastern suburbs.

Hobart vantage points:

  • Constitution Dock: Sending the fleets off is one thing, welcoming the winners as they stream in is another. In Hobart, Constitution Dock comes to life with the Hobart Race Village. It's a week-long festival, family friendly activities, food trucks, markets and more.
  • Battery Point: For that glorious photo finish, be there at the official finishing point on Castray Esplanade in Battery Point.
  • Wrest Point: Overlooking the Derwent River, Wrest Point hotel is one for the fanatics trying to catch the first fleets as the arrive in the wee hours of the morning from the comfort of their private balconies.

The official Rolex Sydney to Hobart website provides a live tracker to monitor the progress of the fleets in anticipation of the winner. You can also follow the race on the site via live feed.


Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race FAQs

  • When does the Sydney to Hobart start? The fleet officially set sails at 1pm from the start lines just off Nielson Park. A 10 minute warning signal is made at 12:50pm and a preparatory signal sounds at 12:55pm.
  • When does Sydney to Hobart finish? The race ends on 1 January, the time of which is dependent on when the first ship crosses the finishing line in Hobart.
  • Where does the Sydney to Hobart finish? The official finishing line of the Sydney to Hobart is off Castray Esplanade on the River Derwent, right in Battery Point.
  • When was the first Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race? The first Sydney to Hobart set sail in 1945 after a group of friends decided to sail in competition. The winner took 6 days and 14 hours to complete the journey.
  • How far is Sydney to Hobart? The course is 628 nautical miles, which is approximately 1,170 kilometres. It sails from Sydney into the Tasman Sea, travelling down the south coast of Australia, through Bass Strait and down the coast of Tasmania, ending in Hobart.
  • How long does the Sydney to Hobart Race take? While the first Sydney to Hobart may have taken over six days to complete, these days the Sydney to Hobart race lasts around one and a half days. In 2017, LDV Comanche completed it in 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds.


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Alex Keshen

Alex takes care of the travel section here at finder.com.au. If there's a new sale on tours or cruises, discounted flights or hotels, or anything else that can be on offer, she'll fill you in.

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