Gallipoli Anzac Day Centenary 2015
9 Nights, April 2015 | Prices from $3291*
NEW WEBSITE LAUNCHED: Please see our new dedicated website at www.gallipolitour2015.com.au for full information about our 2015 tours.
The Gallipoli centenary promises to be one of the most significant events in Australia's history. Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours has secured a large amount of hotel accommodation at Gallipoli, and has designed two itineraries to enable you to be at Gallipoli in 2015. We will have a range of accommodation to suit all budgets.
Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours is organising its own Dawn Service at a significant historic site at Gallipoli for passengers who do not receive a ticket in the official ballot.
YOUR TOUR INCLUDES:
The best historians: Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours employs Australia's leading battlefield historians. No other tour company can match the quality and expertise of our guides. You will recognise many of our historians from their books and TV appearances.
All excursions, scenic drives and sightseeing as described in the itinerary
Return airport transfers in Istanbul
Tips to your Tour Manager, Historian and Driver
Anzac Day commemorative services (at the official site for passengers who receive a ticket in the ballot or at our dedicated site for others)
5 nights' accommodation at Gallipoli, more than other tour operators, plus 4 nights' accommodation in Istanbul
Sightseeing tour of Istanbul, including the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia, Topkapi Palace (and the Harem), the Grand Bazaar and more
Half-day tour to ancient Troy
Breakfast daily, 4 lunches, 7 dinners
Welcome drink in Istanbul
Services of a Tour Manager, Driver, WWI War Historian and experienced local guides
Extensive touring of the WWI battlefields
All entrance fees as per the itinerary
Travel by first-class air-conditioned coach with seat belts, toilet and DVD player
Bottled water for each passenger each day
Bosphorus cruise in Istanbul
Autographed copy of Mat McLachlan's definitive book, 'Gallipoli: The Battlefield Guide'
Quality travel bag
Day 1 (Istanbul)
Welcome to Istanbul and our tour in the footsteps of the original Anzacs! On arrival at Istanbul Airport we will be met by a representative from Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours and transferred to our hotel. This evening we will come together to enjoy a welcome drink followed by dinner, an excellent opportunity to get to know our fellow travellers. (D)
Day 2 (Istanbul)
Today we will explore Istanbul, one of the world’s great historic cities. Formerly known as Constantinople, it was this city that was the ultimate objective of the entire Gallipoli campaign, and today we will delve into its cultural treasures. We will begin with a visit to the grandiose 15th century Topkapi Palace, former home of the Sultans of the old Ottoman Empire. Its displays include an incredible collection of jewels and ornaments and the original Harem, where the Sultan’s wives and children lived. Next we will visit the famous Blue Mosque, one of the most spectacular mosques in the world, and the Hippodrome, an Ancient Roman racetrack constructed in the 3rd century AD. We will also visit the amazing Basilica Cistern, one of several hundred ancient cisterns built beneath Constantinople in the 6th century to supply water to the city. Today visitors can walk on platforms over fish-filled ponds, as classical music and artistic lighting illuminate the chamber. Be sure to see the sculpture of Medusa’s head, positioned upside-down as a support base for one of the cistern’s columns. We will end a memorable day with a visit to the magnificent Aya Sofia, originally a Byzantine church and now a museum, featuring spectacular mosaics and decorations. We will also have time to wander the maze of shops in the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest and oldest markets. (B)
Day 3 (Istanbul to Gallipoli)
Our journey in the footsteps of the Anzacs begins today, as we head for Gallipoli. As we travel along the Sea of Marmara and the straits of the Dardanelles, we will be viewing the waterway that the British, French and Anzac troops were intended to secure during the Gallipoli campaign. This inconspicuous stretch of sea was the cause of the carnage at Gallipoli. On arrival at Gallipoli we will check in to our hotel and enjoy free time before dinner. (B, D)
Day 4 (Anzac Sector)
Today we will visit the battlefields that were the birthplace of the Anzac legend. We will explore Anzac Cove, North Beach, Shrapnel Gully, Lone Pine, The Nek, Quinn’s Post, Chunuk Bair and many more, escorted by our expert historian, who will bring the stories of courage and sacrifice that define the Gallipoli campaign to life. The most moving part of this experience will be spending time in the cemeteries where thousands of Anzacs lie, and seeing the graves of legendary Anzacs including John Simpson, the ‘man with the donkey’. Lunch is included today, as is dinner in our hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 5 (Helles and Suvla)
Our next day will be spent exploring a lesser-known, but no less important, chapter of the Gallipoli story, the battlefield at Cape Helles on the southern toe of the peninsula. British and French troops landed on the beaches at Helles at the same time the Australians came ashore at Anzac Cove. More than 30,000 of them were killed in nine months of fighting, as they desperately tried to advance northwards and link up with the Anzacs. Today we will visit the cemeteries where many of them still lie, as well as the beaches where they were mown down as they came ashore. We will also pay our respects to the soldiers on the other side of the line, the Turks, at the impressive Martyr’s Memorial overlooking Morto Bay. We will enjoy a picnic lunch before discovering the story of the Anzac’s forgotten battle at Gallipoli with a visit to the battlefield at Krithia. Hundreds of Australians and New Zealanders were killed here during a murderous advance in May 1915, yet today the battle is virtually unknown. This afternoon we will drive north to visit the battlefields at Suvla Bay, scene of missed opportunities and bitter disappointment during August 1915. We will return to our hotel this evening for dinner, and the chance to share our stories of a memorable day with the rest of the group. (B, L, D)
Day 6 (Ancient Troy)
Today we will travel south to tour the ancient city of Troy, immortalised in the tales of the Trojan War and the story of the famous Trojan Horse. We will also see the remains of Turkish forts on the Asian side of the Dardanelles, which played a crucial role in stopping the Allied naval attack in March 1915. This evening we will enjoy dinner in our hotel. (B, D)
Day 7 (At Leisure)
Today the pace will be relaxed in preparation for our busy day tomorrow. Our tour manager will be on hand to give recommendations for local sightseeing activities during the day. In the evening we will check out of our hotel and board our touring coach for our transfer to the Dawn Service sites. Due to crowd numbers, we expect that this transfer will take several hours. (B)
Day 8 (Anzac Day)
An Anzac Day we will never forget! We will arrive at the Dawn Service sites during the night (our arrival time will depend on traffic flows and local road closures). Then, as the sun rises, we will join thousands of other Australians and New Zealanders in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. We will participate in other commemorative events during the day (details to be advised), before boarding our coach in the afternoon for our transfer back to Istanbul. On arrival in Istanbul we will check in to our hotel and have time to rest after a long and emotional day. (B)
Day 9 (Istanbul)
Another relaxed day, to give us a chance to sleep in. Our tour manager will assist us with plans for any last-minute sightseeing or shopping we would like to do in Istanbul. This evening we will come together for a farewell dinner, a final opportunity to say goodbye to our travelling companions. (B, D)
Day 10 (Farewell)
Sadly our tour ends this morning. After breakfast, we will be transferred to the airport to meet our onward flight. Passengers joining our extension tours of Turkey or the Western Front will be transferred to the meeting points for those tours. Our journey in the footsteps of the original Anzacs may be over, but the memories will last a lifetime. (B)
Please note: This itinerary is an indication of the sites that will be visited on the tour, but the order of touring on each day may be altered. This itinerary is also subject to change once final plans for Anzac Day services have been announced.
*Prices from $3291
Per person, twin share, land only.