9 Day Commemorative Centenary Tour
From: 29 October – 6 November 2017
Fully Inclusive at $3,995 per person, twin share only (Land package)
Fully escorted by Australian Military Historian and battlefield guide: Rod Margetts
This tour is strictly limited in capacity and is expected to sell out.
The battle of Beersheba took place on 31 October 1917 as part of the wider British offensive collectively known as the third Battle of Gaza. The final phase of this all day battle was the famous mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade. Commencing at dusk, members of the brigade stormed through the Turkish defences and seized the strategic town of Beersheba. The capture of Beersheba enabled British Empire forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza on 7 November and continue the advance into Palestine.
In October 2017, Boronia Travel Centre is giving you the opportunity to revisit and understand this significant battle, and the wider Australian Light Horse campaign in Palestine. The fully escorted tour, led by our expert battlefield guide, Rod Margetts, will include the official centenary commemoration of the Beersheba battle, as well as visits to the sites of other Light Horse actions of the campaign. For further reading about the Light Horse please refer to Rod’s blog: The Australian Imperial Force’s (AIF) Neglected Arm.
Your tour will begin and end in Tel Aviv, with a spectacular farewell dinner planned for our tour participants. As well as significant military history events, the tour also includes visits to major historical sites such as Megiddo and Masada and biblical locations on the Sea of Galilee. The unique range of activities and the venues have been carefully selected to enable you to experience the best local cuisine and the historical charm of the areas visited.
This exclusive battlefield tour is strictly limited in capacity and is expected to sell out with only a few places remaining. Also, due to popular demand we have put together an Egypt and Jordan Pre Tour including visits to Cairo, the El Alamein battlefields and Petra, Jordan. Please contact Boronia Travel centre for more information.Enquire Now
- Visit the ANZAC Memorial near Kibbutz Beeri from the Third Battle of Gaza.
- Visit Tel Sheba – a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Participate in the commemorative services at the Beersheba War Cemetery, the official opening of the ANZAC museum, a ceremony at the Turkish War Memorial, a ceremony at the Australian Soldiers Park, a parade down Beersheba’s main street and a re-enactment of the Light Horse Charge from the Tel Sheba overlook.
- Float in the hypersaline water of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth.
- Visit Masada, Herod’s famous mountaintop fortress where the Romans defeated the Jewish revolt.
- Learn about the Battle of Abu Tellul between the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade and the attacking German force.
- Visit to Nabi Samwil – a strategic outpost overlooking Jerusalem.
- Visit Mount Scopus and the panoramic overview of the Dome of the Rock, on the platform of the Temple Mount.
- Visit the War Cemetery and memorial to ANZAC soldiers and Old City’s Jaffa Gate.
- Guided walking tour through the alleys and byways of the Old City, including the Holy Sepulchre, the Egyptian Labor Corps, the Western (Wailing) Wall, and the Jewish Quarter.
- Visit the town of Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square.
- Visit the Ramleh Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in Israel.
- Follow in the footsteps of General Allenby’s Megiddo Offensive in Galilee.
- Visit Stella Maris, site of Elijah’s cave in Haffa, and the British War cemetery.
- See the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the largest church in the Middle East.
- Visit Tzemach which was the site of an attack by the 11th and 12th Australian Light Horse Regiments
- Learn about Galilee’s strategic and historical importance.
- Travel up to the Mount of Beatitudes, the site of the Sermon the Mount, where we will get an overview of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights.
Your Battlefield Tour Includes:
- Fully escorted by Boronia Travel Centre battlefield specialist and Australian Military Historian: Rod Margetts.
- All battlefield excursions, scenic drives and sightseeing as described in the itinerary.
- The opportunity to visit other places of personal interest in the area.
- The best available accommodation in each town or city.
- Breakfast and dinner daily.
- Plenty of Free Time. We understand that you might want to have a break occasionally.
- Services of a local english speaking guide throughout your tour.
- Ground transport in deluxe air-conditioned coaches with toilet.
- All entrance fees as per the itinerary.
- Boronia Travel Centre cap, ticket wallet and luggage tags.
- With the exclusive resources available, Rod Margetts may be able to assist with any family research you may be doing.
- Please note: There are no single supplements offered for the second coach due to limited accommodation available.
- Boronia Travel Centre uses Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Emirates for all their Western Front Tours, and has access to the most competitive discounted airfares available from Australia.
- Group airfare add-on options available upon request.
- Upgrade airfares to business and first class available upon request.
- Spend more time in Israel with one of our accommodation packages available at discounted rates.
Meals Included: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Day 1, 29 October – Arrival Day. Meet and greet into Israel and transfer to our Tel Aviv hotel. This evening we will have a reception with dinner, meet our historian, local guide and other tour members. D
Overnight: TEL AVIV
Day 2, 30 October – After breakfast, we will visit the ANZAC Memorial near Kibbutz Beeri, which commemorates the fallen soldiers from the Third Battle of Gaza. Then we will travel to Bir Asluj, the site of the joint Turkish-German headquarters during the Sinai campaign. Here we will see the remnants of the Turkish train bridge which was destroyed by ANZAC forces. At the Eshkol Park, we will see the remains of the tracks laid down by the British to supply the advancing troops. It was at this site where the Shellal mosaic was uncovered in a Turkish dug trench. After the war, the mosaics were taken to Australia and put on display in the Hall of Valour of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Following lunch, we will head to Tel Sheba – a UNESCO World Heritage site and excellent place to learn about the Battle of Beersheba. From here, we will travel to our hotel on the coast. B D
Day 3, 31 October – Today we will join the commemorative events of the 100th anniversary of the Charge of the Australian Light Horse Brigade in Beersheba. This includes a commemorative service at the Beersheba War Cemetery, official opening of the ANZAC museum, a ceremony at the Turkish War memorial, a ceremony at the Australian Soldiers Park, a parade down Beersheba’s main street and a re-enactment of the Light Horse Charge from the Tel Sheba overlook. At the end of the day, we will return to our hotel on the coast. B D
Day 4, 1 November – Today we will descend to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, where we have the opportunity for a swim and experience floating in its hypersaline waters. On our way, we will visit Masada, Herod’s famous mountaintop fortress where the Romans defeated the last remnants of the Jewish revolt. From here, we will head north along the Jordan Valley past Qumran, the site of the Dead Sea scrolls and Jericho, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, where the 38th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers was stationed. We will learn about the Jordan River crossings and the Battle of Abu Tellul, where the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade inflicted a major defeat of an attacking German force. Later, we will head to Nabi Samwil on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a strategic outpost overlooking Jerusalem that was captured in heavy fighting in December 1917. From here, we will continue to our hotel in Jerusalem. B D
Day 5, 2 November – We begin our day on Mount Scopus and the panoramic overview of the Dome of the Rock, on the platform of the Temple Mount. Holy to all three monotheistic religions, this was the site of Solomon’s Temple mentioned in the Bible. From here, we will visit the War Cemetery and memorial to ANZAC soldiers, before continuing on to the Old City’s Jaffa Gate, the site where General Allenby accepted the surrender of Ottoman forces following the Battle of Jerusalem in 1917. From here, we will continue for a guided walking tour through the alleys and byways of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be the site of the crucifixion and burial of Christ. We will continue along the Via Dolorosa to St. Stephen’s gate and the memorial to the Egyptian Labor Corps, who were an important logistic asset for the British. We then move to the Western (Wailing) Wall, and through the Jewish Quarter. After lunch, we will drive south to the town of Bethlehem, where we will visit the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square, traditionally accepted as the site of Jesus’s birth, before heading back to our hotel in Jerusalem. B L
Day 6, 3 November – After breakfast, we will begin by travelling to the Ramleh Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in Israel. Located at a crossroads between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the cemetery contains the remains of soldiers who fought all along this front during the fierce battles of 1917. Over 5,000 soldiers from throughout the Commonwealth are buried here, including many from Australia and New Zealand from both world wars. From here, we will go on to Jaffa and learn about the city’s 5,000 years of history and its important role in World War 1, before heading to Tel Aviv where we will visit the site along the Yarkon River where British soldiers conducted a brilliant night assault crossing, driving back the Turkish front line to secure the port of Jaffa. B D
Overnight: TEL AVIV
Day 7, 4 November – After breakfast, we head north to the Galilee in the footsteps of General Allenby’s Megiddo Offensive. First, we will visit Moshav Avihail and the Israel Defense Department’s Jewish Legion Museum, which commemorates World War I and the contributions made by Jewish soldiers to the war effort. Following the museum, we will stop at Megiddo itself, the ancient site where archaeologists have uncovered 21 layers of history. Overlooking the Jezreel Valley, this is the place where, according the Book of Revelations, the final battle of Armageddon will take place. Next we will continue on to Haifa, where we will visit Stella Maris, site of Elijah’s cave, and the British War cemetery located near the beautiful German Colony. After lunch, we will head to Nazareth and visit the Basilica of the Annunciation. The largest church in the Middle East, it commemorates the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary and the Immaculate Conception. Our final stop will be at Tzemach, near Kibbutz Deganya, which was the site of an attack by the 11th and 12th Australian Light Horse Regiments on a Turco-German force holding the railway station. Following this, we will head to the Galilee to our hotel. B D
Day 8, 5 November – Today we will learn about the Galilee’s strategic and historical importance. We will start our day with a visit to Tabgha, the site of the Miracle of Loaves and Fishes and continue on to Capernaum, which is known also as “Jesus’ own Town”. Located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the town was the site of Jesus’s first public ministry and the site of many miracles such as the raising of Jairus’s daughter Talitha from the dead and the miracle of walking on water. We continue on to the Mount of Beatitudes, the site of the Sermon the Mount, where we will get an overview of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. From here, we will continue north to the Gesher Bnot Yaakov or “Bridge of the Daughters of Jacob,” a strategic spot on the Jordan River that was variously captured by the Crusaders, Saladin and Napoleon, and was the site of the last major battle of the Sinai and Palestine campaign in 1918. From here, British and Commonwealth forces entered Syria to capture Damascus and Aleppo. We continue up to the Golan Heights and stop at an observation point on Mount Bental to view Quneitra, a deserted Syrian village not far from Damascus where the Australian Mounted Division and British 5th Cavalry Division defeated the Turks in September 1918. Following our tour, we will return to our hotel for a farewell dinner. B D
Day 9, 6 November – This morning our tour ends with a transfer to Tel Aviv Airport airport. B
Please Note: Itinerary subject to change according to prevailing circumstances.Enquire Now
Our tour members depend on us to provide a once in a lifetime battlefield experience combined with exceptional customer service. We do our best to meet and exceed their high standards, which is what you’d expect from Australia’s leading battlefield tour company. Here’s what our past passengers say about Rod Margetts – our very popular and knowledgeable battlefield guide:
Rod did an amazing job, and even though he wasn’t well for a few days, didn’t miss a beat. The Vietnamese guides were great, especially Chi who took us to a rooftop bar on the last day to try the most amazing Vietnamese coffee. Once again thanks to the team.”
Kay and John Woolnough
“I want to thank you for the exceptional tour I did with Rod Margetts and the other three tourists. We had the most wonderful tour because the guides, Rod and Sinan were so patient, knowledgeable and enthusiastic and we four felt that the tour was personal and tailored just for us.
Thank you John and your team for putting together such an outstanding tour. It will remain a highlight of my life and I’ll always be glad I went to the hallowed soil of Gallipoli to honour my two great uncles and all the soldiers, both Allies and Turks. With my very best wishes to you and again, my sincere thanks.”
We cannot speak too highly of our guides. Rod and Sinan made sure that the tour was loaded with interest and information, and very enjoyable. Although we were such a small group yet we got the best presentation possible. The way Rod and Sinan worked together was amazing – you would swear it was fully scripted!! There was no doubt that they enjoy working together, and mutually provided flexibility with the programme showing they had the specific interests of the 4 of us in the group. Didn’t matter whether it was Istanbul or the battlefields, they both covered the interesting and relevant parts so well. This included our visit to Shrapnel Valley Cemetery a second time to place flowers at my Uncle’s grave. Rod made sure the two “girls” in the group found the headstones etc which were of specific interest to them. We obviously could not take all the information in but what we did assimilate is food for further reading and understanding. By covering the main aspects fully they gave us a sound overview and the basis to look at other material, which we will do.
David Williamson and Andrew Williamson
I need to thank the 3 Tour guides Rod, Mark and Mark who gave everybody a great insight to the campaign, as soldiers we think we know our history but talking to many of the members and they all commented on how much they did not know, again well done. I also need to congratulate you on the 3 local guides who not only assisted in giving us an insight from the Turkish side but on their country, they were outstanding. Once again thank you very much.”
Gallipoli 2015 – Anzac Day Centenary Tour
Rod, I knew you were a good instructor 35 years ago, but you have taken it to a new level. I had done a lot of reading leading up to the tour, but information overload, inability to relate it to ground and my faulty memory meant that I was having trouble putting it in context (to the extent that I recognised the relevance behind all your daily questions, but couldn’t remember any of the answers). Over a week you put all of that information and feeling for the ground into context in a measured, logical, informed and interesting way. I had wondered how those in the group who might not have been so committed to military history would remain engaged, so for me the proof of your approach was their enthusiasm throughout. The detail of your descriptions and ability to answer questions from left field with your broader understanding was simply outstanding. I re-read Sniffy’s book on the plane on the way home as a good summary of the first couple of days and it all makes sense now. (Actually, better to say I understand it now, as the whole affair certainly didn’t make sense). Thank you.
We had the trip of a lifetime, with the help of Rod Margetts, and Sinan (Our Turkish Guide) the Gallipoli trip was absolutely amazing, Rod explained everything in a way everyone in the group understood, my husband and I had the wonderful opportunity of laying a wreath for our Anzac at the Lone Pine Centenary Commemoration, which was televised and recorded by our family at home, a once in a lifetime opportunity. We also attended the Centenary “Smoking Ceremony” for our Indigenous Soldiers, also another once in a lifetime experience. Rod’s guidance throughout out Gallipoli experience was absolutely fantastic, and Sinan gave us the cultural and the Turkish version of events. I don’t believe there was anything left out.
Margaret & Barry Weston
Our customers depend on us to provide a once in a lifetime battlefield experience combined with exceptional customer service. Visit our page full of client testimonials.Enquire Now