G’day Travelers! Following from my recent posts with tips for travelling to the Australian Grand Prix and Rally Australia. I thought I’d put together another post about an international motorsport event. So here my tips for traveling to the Bathurst 12 Hour.
Australia’s and arguably one of the worlds best race tracks Mt Panorama is home to the Bathurst 12 Hour, which has been building in stature over recent years attracting manufacturers, teams and drivers from all over the world.
I’ve been to Bathurst many times over the last several years, having been to the Bathurst 12 Hour both as a spectator initially and a photographer more recently.
Where is the Bathurst 12 Hour held?
The Bathurst 12 Hour is held at the Mt Panorama circuit just outside of the township of Bathurst. Bathurst is about a 3 hours drive west out of Sydney, Australia via the Great Western Highway through the scenic Blue Mountains.
There are two ways to get to Bathurst, either driving in via the Great Western Highway or Bells Line of Road (which joins back up with the Great Western Highway at Lithgow). Alternatively there are country train services linking Sydney to Bathurst. However, do yourself a favour, the drive is fantastic and there are great places to stop to get stunning views of the scenic Blue Mountains on the way.
Where To Stay?
While Bathurst is home to several big events each year, accommodation can be hard to come by. The primary accommodation at both the big events at Mt Panorama, the Bathurst 12 Hour and the V8 Supercars Bathurst 1000, is camping. There are plenty of well serviced camp grounds within the Mt Panorama circuit complex. My personal pick being the paddock campground, however you’ll need to book early as it’s one of the first to book out.
There are a few hotels around Bathurst, the most famous of which being the Rydges Hotel built along side the circuit (at The Chase). Hotels in and around Bathurst make most of their money during these big events so prices are quite high and they book out very early. That said if you look around, there are hotels at a variety of price points. If you’re looking for a bargain, look at the hotels attached to the local pubs. It’s also worth keeping an eye out as the hotels do get some cancellations as the event gets closer and you might be able to pick up a deal. Here’s some of the hotel options in the heart of Bathurst.
Alternatively, if you can rustle a group of people, renting a house in Bathurst could be the most cost-effective option for accommodation. There are plenty of locals that rent out their houses during these events for reasonable prices. That’s always worth investigating.
Getting To and From the track?
Unless you are camping at the track and well stocked up, you are going to need a car to get into and around Bathurst. While the township of Bathurst is quite small and you can walk around the main part of town quiet easily. It’s a bit of a hike (up hill) to get to the track from town.
Having a car becomes even more important if you are staying in a house or just outside of town.
What To Do In The Evenings?
Bathurst is a buzz when the motor racing comes to town. You’ll find most the pubs in town offering a decent feed and some sort of live entertainment over the course of the event. The pubs are plentiful, with several scattered throughout the town. Just a matter of looking for one that grabs your interest.
However if you are looking for a quieter night there is plenty of other options for dinner around Bathurst. There’s everything from fast food through to fancy restaurants in the center of town. Just a matter of taking a quick walk around the main street to find something you are looking for.
Spending Time in Bathurst Before or After?
While the race is the main attraction, there are a couple of things to do in Bathurst, if you’d like to spend an extra day or two there. Here’s what I got up to the last time I spent some time exploring Bathurst.
It’s also a great opportunity to visit the famous Blue Mountains on the way from or to Sydney. Here’s my picks for the best things to do in the Blue Mountains and a few tips for visiting the Blue Mountains for the first time.
Bathurst 12 Hour Tips
Bathurst is a fantastic race track which you need to see at both the bottom of the top of the hill. There is usually a bus service that transports spectators between the two, which is well worth it. From memory the bus costs $5 but it’ll save you a bunch of time, as the walk from the bottom to the top takes well over an hour. It’s also worth noting there is no way to get from the bottom of the track to the top within the circuit complex. The only access is an access road outside of the track.
Mt Panorama offers plenty of great vantage points to watch all the action, make sure you walk around both the top and the bottom of the track. It’s definitely not the sort of track you sit and watch the action from one corner, its well worth moving around. The benefit of a 12 hour race is you can spend plenty of time taking in all the different vantage points.
For more information about the Bathurst 12 Hour including maps, camping options and where to buy tickets head over to the Bathurst 12 Hour website – http://bathurst12hour.com.au
If you’d like to see my photos from the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour, head on over to – http://vandersyde.com/2015/02/10/liqui-moly-bathurst-12-hour-2015/
Have you been to the Bathurst 12 Hour before? I’d be interested to see if you had any additional tips I might have missed. Leave them in a comment below.
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