Each year, thousands of Australians and New Zealanders make the pilgrimage to Gallipoli to pay their respects to the troops who fell in battle during World War I.
It's time to kick that travel goal and travel to Gallipoli to experience the once-in-a-lifetime Anzac Day dawn services.
Here are the top 5 reasons (counting down from 5) why you should do it now rather than later.
While the Australian government has advised that Australians should exercise a degree of caution when travelling to Turkey this year, if you still want to make the journey it advises that you limit your time in Ankara and Istanbul and avoid regions nearest to the Syrian border when you do.
5. It’s part of Australian history
Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula. It’s the day when Australian and New Zealand troops first laid military action during World War I by setting out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula.
They officially landed on Turkish soil on 25 April 1915, and it’s on this date that we celebrate their bravery.
Services around the world are held to commemorate the soldiers who fought bravely and died for their country on this day, but none can compare to the services in the home countries of Australia and New Zealand and on the site of the battle, Gallipoli. It’s for this reason that thousands of Australians flock to Gallipoli each year to share in their history and pay their respects at the very site where our heroes fought and fell.
Last-minute Anzac Day tours
It’s not too late to secure your spot on an Anzac Day tour. These tour companies still have spots available!
4. You might have missed the 100-year anniversary, but we’re still in the Anzac Centenary
Now more than ever is a prime time to visit Gallipoli, as we’re currently celebrating the Anzac Centenary, marking more than 100 years since World War I.
The centenary began in 2014 (the year WWI began) and runs through to 2018, so if you haven’t saved your monies up for the trek yet, you still have a few years to do so for an experience of a lifetime.
Tours tend to sell out fairly quickly so it's a good idea to book your trip as far in advance as possible.
3. It’s more than just an Anzac Day dawn service
A fundamental part of the worldwide services held for Anzac Day is the dawn service, a time that is especially memorable, as it was the time of the original landing.
Held in Anzac Cove (Gallipoli), there are two services available to attend: an Australian/New Zealand service and a Turkey service to commemorate the fallen on both sides of battle. Services begin at 5:30am and conclude at 6:30am, however there’s so much more to the service than this waking hour. The site itself is open to visitors from 6pm on 24 April, and an overnight reflective program will commence at 8pm. This program includes documentaries and interviews detailing the Gallipoli campaign as well as musical performances and runs into the early morning.
Top dawn service land tours
2. You can still visit Lone Pine… but for how long?
As of early in 2016 that the Lone Pine service, which was held to commemorate the Battle of Lone Pine from 6-10 August 1915, will no longer be held as part of the Anzac Day celebrations. According to the federal government, this was due to safety concerns, as the terrain is rough and high, and the trek from Anzac Cove to Long Pine to make an 11am service was long and difficult.
Despite this, the site will be open from 24-25 April, and many tour companies will include a visit to it as part of their Anzac Day tours. Now more than ever is the time to visit before the government changes its rules and regulations again.
Anzac tours that include Lone Pine
1. There’s no more ballot registration
As of 2015, visitors no longer have to “win” tickets in a ballot to attend the Anzac Day service in Gallipoli, and all are freely able to attend on the day.
While you're free to just "rock up" at the site for the dawn service, it is highly advised that you register your interest in attending. This is so that suitable infrastructure, security, medical assistance and food vendors are available on site to accommodate the numbers.
Well, what are you waiting for? Time to book your trip of a lifetime and tick this baby off your bucket list!
Travel advise for Turkey and the Western Front 2016
The Australian Government does have page with the latest information for Australians travelling to Turkey for Anzac Day. It advises that travellers are to exercise a high degree of caution (as with the rest of Turkey) due to the high threat of terrorist attacks in the nation. Those planning to travel to Turkey or the Western Front can keep up to date with the travel advised issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs by signing up here.
When you arrive, Australians are advised to remain vigilant about their personal security at all times.
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