Travel SOS: where to stay for the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race

Lee Mylne outlines where to stay and when to book for the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

the sydney-hobart yacht race

Lee Mylne has managed to combine her two passions – travelling and writing – into a long and successful career as a travel journalist. Her work is published in newspapers, magazines, websites and travel apps in Australia and around the world.

The Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race is an iconic sporting event that most Aussies, like Ken, hope to experience. In Travel SOS, Lee Mylne outlines where to stay and when to book.


Q. Tom

Every year I watch the Sydney to Hobart boat race and vow to myself that next year, I’ll be in Hobart to watch the boats come in. I know I am too late to plan anything for this year but if I were to go for New Year in 2017/18, how soon would I have to book? Can you advise the best place to stay?

A. Tom, if I were you, I would book now for 2017/18. Hobart gets packed over the Christmas-New Year period, for the very reason that you want to go at that time – to enjoy the revelry that accompanies the end of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race. So the earlier you book, the better!  Bear in mind that the race starts on 26 December and it takes some of the fastest yachts between two and four days to get to Hobart, so plan to book from Boxing Day onwards to be sure to see the winners arrive.

There are lots of great places to stay around the Constitution Dock marina and harbour area, depending on your budget – but also bear in mind that these can be noisy at night and that nothing is very far away in Hobart.


If you want to be close to the action, and within walking distance, here are a few suggestions of places I’ve stayed recently. For budget travellers, the Hobart Central YHA is just two blocks from the waterfront and is great value for money, with clean, comfortable but basic rooms (some with en-suites).

A little bit more expensive, but still reasonable, is the Customs House Hotel, which overlooks the waterfront. In the summer, there’s live music at night so it can be a little noisy, but you’re really in the thick of the action here.

If you’re looking for apartment-style accommodation, one to check out is Zero Davey, on Davey Street at the waterfront. It’s a bright and colourful place, and some studios and apartments have harbour views and balconies. A little bit further away, on the opposite side of the waterfront near Salamanca Place, is the Salamanca Inn, a modern apartment-style hotel (which has a heated indoor pool on the roof).

And if you really want to splurge, book to stay at the luxury Henry Jones Art Hotel on Hunter Street, right on the waterfront. It’s a beautiful hotel, built in one of the old IXL jam factory buildings and is really a work of art in itself.

There’s so much to do in Hobart, you won’t have a dull moment, especially at that time of year. If you’re interested in all things nautical, I’d also suggest that you find time to visit the Maritime Museum of Tasmania (on the corner of Davey and Argyle St) and the relatively new Mawson’s Hut Replica Museum, also on the waterfront.

Perhaps you would like to stay on for longer. If so, the Taste of Tasmania festival runs for a week from 28 December.



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    31st Dec 2016
    Where to stay for the SHYR? At home..... Sailing - a rich man's idle where you get permanently wet and weary while throwing buckets of hundred dollar bills into a hole in the water.

    Nearly bought a yacht coupla weeks ago - day before settlement some ghett rammed it at its mooring and damaged it beyond repairable cost. Dumb as...
    31st Dec 2016
    That was a beauty - some people should not be allowed on the water, same as on the roads - this was only a short time after a woman on a jet ski rammed a boat and killed herself, up here... Fer Shaitan's Sake - you aren't allowed to GO that fast in these here enclosed waters. Limit is four knots... until you reach the open water.
    31st Dec 2016
    I believe the best place to stay is at home also, I moved to Tassie from Perth, and I cant afford a hotel in Hobart under normal circumstances! Around christmas new year it is so over priced it aint funny. Better off hiring a camper from Cruisin motorhomes and doing it that way IMHO, then you are not confined to Hobart, theres lots to see out there.
    Also try air BnB, though I don't see any cheap ones either.
    Good luck mate

    31st Dec 2016
    A tad late to tell someone where to stay this year and next year anythng could have changed. What you can see of the race can be viewed on any TV anywhere in the country and to see the live finish you'd be lucky to see the dock for all he people there before you. Waste of time and money.
    31st Dec 2016
    If the intention is to watch the boats come into Constitution Dock then surely it doesn't much matter where you stay in Hobart as long as you can get there (and perhaps to Customs House as well). So unless you want to watch from a window, check out ALL accommodation within a few kilometres of the dock and pick from those. Obviously the closer in the more expensive but if this is on your bucket list perhaps money is not much of a consideration for you this time. Whatever you decide, decide quickly and book it. Not only will rooms become less available (if they are not already) they will be more expensive (than they already will be).

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