Boxing Day might be a public holiday, but Sydney doesn't take the day off. Instead, it hosts one of the most iconic yacht races in the world: the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
From the harbour, yachts set sail for Bass Strait vying for glory. And while you can watch it on the TV or the foreshore, for something truly exceptional, you can hop on a cruise to chase the yachts as they leave the headland.
Now that's how you spend Boxing Day.
Check out our top picks for the cruises that are operating this year.
Searching for Boxing Day cruise deals? Click here.
Our top picks for Boxing Day harbour cruises in Sydney 2023
Keen for a sleep-in? Maybe you'd prefer to soak up the Sydney sun instead of being part of the race action? These cruises run on 26 December and take in the beauty of the harbour throughout the day.
Boxing Day lunch cruises
Morpheus Cruise Boxing Day
Groupon Boxing Day cruises
Boxing Day Sydney to Hobart cruises
Boxing Day cruise deals for Sydney Harbour
Where to watch the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is back!
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 2 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. In South Head, try for Rushcutter's Bay, Hornby Lighthouse and restaurants along the shore 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 with 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 they 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 a live feed.
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race frequently asked questions
- When does the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race start? The fleet officially sets sail at 1pm on Boxing Day 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 the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 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 Yacht Race finish? The official finishing line of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 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 Yacht Race 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 south down the east coast of Australia, through Bass Strait and down the coast of Tasmania, ending in Hobart.
- How long does the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race take? While the first Sydney to Hobart may have taken over 6 days to complete, these days the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race lasts around 1 and a half days. In 2017, LDV Comanche completed it in 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds.