Battlefield Tours


Day 1 , 19 April (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 4-star hotel in the heart of Istanbul's Old Town. This is the ideal place to stay in Istanbul, only a short walk from the city's famous attractions and in the midst of the best shopping and dining. This evening we will come together to enjoy a welcome drink followed by dinner in our hotel, an excellent opportunity to get to know our historian, tour manager and fellow travellers. (D)

STAR INCLUSIONS: Airport transfer - Central 4-star Istanbul hotel - Welcome drink - Welcome dinner

Day 2, 20 April (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)

STAR INCLUSIONS: Full-day Istanbul sightseeing tour (with all admissions)

Day 3, 21 April (Istanbul to Gallipoli)

Our journey in the footsteps of the Anzacs begins today, as we depart Istanbul for the 5-hour drive to the Gallipoli peninsula. As we drive along the shores of 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 the Gallipoli battlefield area we will enjoy free time for lunch in the port town of Eceabat before crossing the Dardanelles by ferry and visiting Cimenlik Fort in the town of Canakkale. This fort was heavily engaged by Allied warships during the naval battles of February and March 1915 - a huge unexploded British naval shell is still embedded in one of the fort's walls! In the evening we will leave the noise and bustle of Canakkale for the tranquillity of our 3-star Gallipoli hotel, our home for the next five nights. We will enjoy dinner on arrival. (B, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS: 5 nights' hotel accommodation at Gallipoli - Cimenlik Naval Museum - Dinner

Day 4, 22 April (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. 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'. A buffet lunch is included today, as is dinner in our hotel. (B, L, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS: Gaba Tepe Museum — Local lunch — Dinner

Day 5, 23 April (Cape Helles and Suvla Bay)

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 in the pretty village of Seddülbahir, 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)

STAR INCLUSIONS: Cape Helles touring — Picnic lunch in scenic Seddülbahir village — Suvla Bay touring - Dinner

Day 6, 24 April (Gallipoli)

The pace will be relaxed today to prepare for our busy day tomorrow. In the morning 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. In the afternoon we will have time at leisure, a chance to rest before our big day tomorrow. After dinner we will depart for the Anzac Day Dawn Service. (B, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS: Visit to ancient Troy — Dinner

Day 7, 25 April (Anzac Day)

An Anzac Day we will never forget! We will depart from our hotel at approximately 10pm on April 24 and drive the short distance to Canakkale. Then, while other groups are fighting with each other for space on the peninsula’s congested roads, we will board a boat, and cruise around the southern toe of the peninsula, approaching Gallipoli in exactly the same way as the original Anzacs did in 1915. This enables us to leave our hotel later than other groups, and avoid road closures and traffic hold-ups. Our boat will dock only a short drive from the Anzac Commemorative Site. Then, as the dawn breaks over the Gallipoli peninsula, we will join thousands of fellow Australians and New Zealanders in a once-in-a-lifetime event, the Dawn Service at Anzac Cove. As the sun rises behind us, the strains of the Last Post will echo across the valleys and ridges of Gallipoli, silent now but once the scene of so much sacrifice and tragedy. Following the service we will walk up to Second Ridge, where you can choose to attend either the Australian service at Lone Pine or the New Zealand service at Chunuk Bair. Mid-afternoon we will leave the peninsula and return to our hotel in time for dinner and a relaxing evening. (B, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS: Boat transfer to Anzac Cove - Dawn Service at Gallipoli - Dinner

Day 8, 26 April (Gallipoli to Istanbul)

We farewell Gallipoli this morning and return to Istanbul. This evening we will enjoy a cruise along the Bosphorus, the river that cuts through the heart of Istanbul and separates Europe from Asia. The incredible Istanbul skyline, with its hundreds of domes and minarets, can only truly be appreciated from the water. We will enjoy dinner and local entertainment during the cruise, a chance for a final celebration with the new friends we have made during this special voyage. (B, L, D)

STAR INCLUSIONS: Bosphorus cruise — Lunch — Farewell Dinner

Day 9, 27 April (Istanbul)

Sadly our tour ends today. After enjoying breakfast and checking out of our hotel, we will be transferred to the airport for our onward flight. The journey may be over but the memories will last a lifetime. (B)

STAR INCLUSIONS: Airport transfer

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Battlefield Tours - Testimonials
It was a great trip, we had an amazing group on the tour and Mat, Richard and Kristof really did a fantastic job. A great 'taster' for going back to the area - which we will!"
- Kim Hudson
Battlefield Tours - Video Gallery
Battlefields = Mat McLachlanMat McLachlan is one of Australia's leading war historians and battlefield guides, and has spent more than a decade following in the footsteps of Australian troops on battlefields around the world. More
Battlefield Tours - Video Gallery Battlefield Tours - Video Gallery
Battlefield Tours - Testimonials