Australia Western Front
We having been running tours specifically geared for Australian groups since 2000 and have built up a range of contacts second to none. We arrange for two group members to lay a wreath at the ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe and the Menin Gate and, wherever possible, take detours to cemeteries where group members relatives are buried. This tour includes attendance at the Anzac Day ceremony at Villers-Bretonneux.
DAY 1 AUSTRALIA/LONDON
DAY 2 ARRIVE LONDON (2 nights)
Early arrival into London where we are met at the airport, this morning an orientation tour of London including Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Tower of London and a leisurely cruise on the Thames before a check in at the hotel.
ACCOMMODATION: Strand Palace Hotel, London
DAY 3 LONDON
This morning we enjoy the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace before departing for an afternoon tour of Windsor Castle.
DAY 4 LONDON/YPRES (2 nights)
Depart London for Brugges “the Venice of the North” for a walking tour along the cobbled streets before we continue to Ypres.
ACCOMMODATION: Novotel, Ypres or Kasteelhof t'Hooghe
DAY 5 YPRES
Tour the Battlefields in the Ypres Salient including Tyne Cot, Hill 60, Passchendaele, Polygon Wood for a battlefield walk through the area captured by the Australians in October 1917 and the museum and trenches at Sanctuary Wood. Tonight the “Last Post” ceremony at Menin Gate. Held at the Menin Gate Memorial on the east side of Ypres, originally the location of the old city gate leading to the Ypres Salient battlefields through which so many passed on their way to the front line. For a few moments the noise of traffic ceases and stillness descends over the memorial. At exactly 20.00 hours up to six members of the regular buglers from the local volunteer Fire Brigade step into the roadway under the memorial arch. They play Last Post, followed by a short silence and then play Reveille.
DAY 6 YPRES/FROMELLES/PERONNE (6 nights)
Today we also visit Messines Ridge and then travel to Fromelles and VC Corner Memorial and Pheasant Wood Cemetery, scene of the disastrous Australian battle undertaken by McCay’s 5th Division in July 1916.
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel Le Saint Claude, Peronne
DAY 7 PERONNE
After driving north we visit the Australian Second Division memorial at Mont St Quentin, then the Hindenburg Line with a guided walk over the battlefield of April/May 1917, and the nearby village of Bullecourt , the one-day affair which was the First Battle of Bullecourt (11 April 1917) resulted in the 4th Division being essentially wiped out as a fighting force for months.
In afternoon we visit the tunnels at Vimy Ridge the most poignant spot on the battlefields for the Canadians.
DAY 8 AMIENS
Drive to Villers Bretonneux, visit to the school/museum, the Australian Monument and Le Hamel. We later visit Amiens Cathedral, then north to the extraordinary underground city of Naours situated between Amiens and Doullens. Since the 3rd Century, men have dug beneath the chalky plateau to protect themselves through times of invasions. They developed a three kilometre network of galleries and hiding places with 300 rooms that could shelter 3000 people and the livestock of the village. One finds in it the public rooms, stalls, wells and chimneys as well as a chapel. During the First World War, allies occupied the underground caves, with writings of Australian soldiers to be found. It was the Germans that lived there and installed their station of command during the Second World War between 1942 and 1944.
DAY 9 SOMME
Tour the Somme battlefield area including visits to Pozieres battlefield including Brind’s Road Walk, the Gibraltar & Windmill sites, Thiepval, Mouquet farm, Ulster Tower, Lochnager Crater and the Beaumount Hamel trenches. Sandwich and soup lunch at the Ulster Tower.
DAY 10 SOMME
This morning visit the excellent historial museum in Peronne tracking the history of the First World War. This afternoon train buffs will not be the only one who enjoys the miniature train ride through woods and hills along the banks of the Somme. The "Petit train de la Haute Somme" is the last remaining section of a large military network built during WW1. The site is situated right in the zone of the battle of the Somme (July to November 1916) where British and French armies had built a considerable network to prepare the offensive.
DAY 11 ANZAC DAY PERONNE/VILERS BRETONNEUX/PARIS (3 nights)
Early start this morning for the ANZAC Day Dawn Service (Service details to be confirmed) before we continue to Paris.
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel Victor Hugo, Paris
DAY 12 PARIS
This morning sightseeing of Paris with a local guide by coach including the Opera, Notre Dame, The Louvre before a stop at the Eiffel Tower and visit to level 1. We also enjoy a cruise along the river Seine.
This evening we attend the ceremony of The Flame, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath l’Arc de Triomphe.
DAY 13 VERSAILLES/CHARTRES
Excursion today to takes us to Chartres to visit the impressive Cathedral before return via Versailles to view this wonderful palace and fine formal gardens, this evening a farewell dinner
DAY 14 PARIS/AUSTRALIA Singapore Airlines
Morning transfer to the airport for your flight home.
DAY 15 late evening arrival