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Catch the Sydney to Hobart start from one of these 10 spots


The pressies might be unwrapped, but there’s plenty to look forward to on Boxing Day… and not just the cricket and chilled leftover leg of ham.

A large sum of yachts – differing shapes and sizes – set sail for Hobart; it’s a sight to behold in Sydney’s harbour. From super maxis to right down to all the spectator boats that fill the view, a vantage point rivals the MCG and your own lounge as the place to be on December 26.

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It’s a race that spans 628 nautical miles, but the first five or so are clearly the most spectacular. And the 2022 Sydney to Hobart has a strong fleet of 114 registered boats.

It’s an event worth seeing, not just on TV. Good thing there are options all over the place.

sth start2
The start line, just off Nielsen Park in Sydney’s east.

What time does the Sydney to Hobart 2022 start?

The traditional firing of the cannon to kick off one of the world’s most spectacular races is 1:00pm AEDT.

Best spots to watch the Sydney to Hobart

Nielsen Park

The official start line is just off Nielsen Park, in Vaucluse, making it one of the more popular viewing locations. It’s a bit more spacious than some of the other lookouts, but have a plan and get there well ahead of time.

Screen Shot 2022 12 17 at 12.56.13 pm

Watsons Bay & South Head

This iconic suburb on the tip of Sydney’s east is a must-do for any tourist visiting the harbour city, so it’s a particularly hot location on December 26. There are a number of vantage points and lookouts between the wharf up to Hornby Lighthouse, plus there’s the famous Watsons Bay Hotel for those looking to lock into a more boujee afternoon of activities involving boat-watching.

It gets busy around South Head though, so leave a few hours up your sleeve to nab a spot and be warned the ferries will stop running late morning as the harbour gets crowded.

This guy gets it.

North Head

Just beyond Manly is one of Sydney’s most special locations, North Head. It offers vast views back across Sydney harbour and displays the city’s skyline in all its glory. From North Head, you get a front on angle as the super maxis gain pace. As the harbour exit unfolds, all the yachts will steer to the right and out past the headline before setting sail for the south.

There are multiple vantage points at North Head, including the City View Lookout, and the better-known ones offer supreme elevation to go with the jaw-dropping sights.

One of Mosman’s headlands or lookouts

Referencing the map above, Mosman offers a range of locations west of the harbour starting line; from Bradley’s Head right up to Middle Head.

There’s no doubt Georges Heights Lookout is hard to beat, accessible by car, public transport or for the more adventurous by foot up a steep climb from Balmoral.

Clifton Gardens is a recognised picnic location that also offers some unique angle looking east over the start line.

Dobroyd Head

The more inaccessible stretch between the Spit and Manly is Dobroyd Head, known for its wild waters, unforgiving rock faces and less inhabitable conditions. That’s because it’s directly exposed to the Tasman Sea, facing right in between the North and South Heads.

The positive, though, is a guaranteed unique perspective on the race; yachts move further away and slowly ‘get smaller’ as they depart the harbour.

There’s Arabanoo Lookout, accessible by car, out the back of Balgowlah Heights.

On a boat

If you’ve got friends in high places or some cash to splash, this is an experience not to pass up.

The Clearview glass boat holds a monopoly as the only spectator vessel allowed within the Sydney Harbour exclusion zone.

Embed from Getty Images

A quick google search will present plenty of options for keen spectators – that don’t suffer sea sickness – after a front row seat with the wind in their hair.

Someone’s rooftop in North Bondi (!!)

Sometimes it’s about who you know, not what you know

Clearly a way more obscure suggestion, but those lucky enough to have access to elevation in Bondi should be able to see the super maxis start flying down the coast; some nearer the shore, others further off taking a wider berth.

Make sure to keep clicking back to for more content celebrating our sporting stars and the events that will define the summer holidays.

Picture of Phil Prior
Phil Prior
Phil is the editorial lead at Only Sports, bringing more than 12 years of wide-ranging sports media experience to the team. But it’s his unrivalled passion that sets him apart. He also commentates AFL on SEN Radio, plus Rugby on Stan Sport. Find Phil on LinkedIn.

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