10 Day Fully Escorted Battlefield Tour
From: 21 – 30 April 2018
Fully Inclusive at $5,420 share twin* per person
(Land package only)
Single Supplements are available at $1,380 (Minimal availability)
Our tours, now in their 22nd year, are more in depth, spending prolonged periods exploring the battlefields and following in the “footsteps” of the Anzacs whilst still blending visits to cultural sites and many fascinating places not found on any other tours. The itinerary is designed in-conjunction with the most experienced and respected historians and curators in Australia, having travelled to, and extensively researched the battlefields so important to Australia’s history, they are both a commemorative and educational journey into our past and, for some, a personal pilgrimage.
The Centenary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux Tour will enable you to attend the special centenary Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux in France. Registration for the centenary service is now open, which is offered free of charge by the utilising a first in, first serve approach. Tickets are available on the DVA Commemoration website.
Please be aware that that the Dawn Service commemorating the centenary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux is restricted to only 4,000 people, being far less than the number of people that attended the Gallipoli Centenary commemoration services in 2015 (10,000).
You will also be able to attend the moving Last Past Ceremony at Menin Gate in Ieper, Belgium whilst also visiting the major sites where Australian soldiers saw battle in Flanders and the Somme areas, concluding with a stop at Compiegne, where the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918.
Due to the high interest from those wishing to attend the centenary commemoration, we are pleased to confirm that we will be offering three tour groups which will be escorted by our most experienced battlefield guides, Graeme Beveridge, Rod Margetts and Nick Fletcher.
Each guide will present information about the background and specific events which occurred, in an interesting and entertaining way. They will personally introduce themselves to all tour members via email or telephone prior to departure, and invite you to advise them of any subject of particular interest, such as relatives who had fought (and sometimes died) during the conflict. They will then research the matter to ensure, where possible, that the tour visits the particular site and that detailed information on the actions there are provided.
Your battlefield trip will begin and end in Paris, with a spectacular farewell dinner cruise on the Seine, with time in Brugge for sightseeing, shopping and dining. Our tour focuses on a unique range of activities and the venues have been carefully selected to enable you to experience the best local French cuisine and the provincial charm of the areas visited.
With access to a vast array of documentation, maps, film and photographs from the archives at the Australian War Memorial to enhance your experience, we promise you a wonderful and memorable tour.Enquire Now
- Shopping and plenty of sightseeing in beautiful Paris, with an opportunity to see the quaint shops, grand arcades, museums, the Louvre, plus so many more attractions.
- The very special Anzac Day Dawn Service at Villers Bretonneux.
- Participate in the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate – a never to be forgotten experience.
- Visit the main Somme battlefields where the AIF suffered thousands of casualties in several short weeks, plus the famous battleground of Hamel, and the subsequent ‘advance to victory’.
- Retrace the steps of the terrible Third Battle of Ypres and the former battlefields of Hill 60, Menin Road, Polygon Wood and many other sites of key interest.
- Visit historic Brugge with its wonderful art, architecture, canals and lace shops.
- Spectacular farewell dinner cruise on the Seine, Paris, to celebrate with new friends and the end of a wonderful tour.
Your Battlefield Tour Includes:
- Fully escorted by Western Front specialist and battlefield guide.
- All battlefield excursions, scenic drives and sightseeing as described in the itinerary.
- The best available accommodation in each town.
- All meals as listed on the itinerary, which have been specially selected to enable you to experience the best local cuisine.
- 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 and DVD player
- All entrance fees as per the itinerary.
- Boronia Travel Centre cap, ticket wallet and luggage tags.
- Single Supplements are available at $1,380 (minimal availability)
- *Prices are per person twin share. Land package only.
- Boronia Travel Centre uses Singapore Airlines 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 Paris with one of our accommodation packages available at discounted rates. AWM tour member discounts available.
Meals Included: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Day 1, 21 April – For those members travelling on our group flight you will be met by your tour director and transferred to the hotel. Late afternoon, join your Tour Director and battlefield guide for a welcome reception. Then continue on the introductions with your fellow tour members for a welcome dinner in a local Parisian restaurant. D
Day 2, 22 April – After breakfast board the coach, travelling north of Paris we begin treading the First World War battlefields. We head to the Somme battlefields of 1916, paying particular attention to the area around Pozieres and Mouquet Farm, where the AIF suffered 23,000 casualties in several short weeks. See the Lochnagar Crater, created by one of the many mines blown on 01 July 1916 to mark the beginning of the Battle of Somme, then the 1st Australian Division Memorial, and the remains of the famous ‘Gibraltar’ blockhouse. Drive through the small village of Pozieres to the Windmill site, with its chilling pronouncement, Australian troops … fell more thickly on this ridge than on any other battlefield of the war. Continue on via Mouquet Farm to Thiepval, where the great British memorial to the ‘missing’ stands. We’ll make a lunch stop at a cosy café in Albert before continuing our drive through the battlefields to the Newfoundland Canadian Memorial at Beaumont-Hamel. Then onto Amiens for freshen up and dinner. B L D
Day 3, 23 April – Today we return to the Somme battlefields to look at some of the main Australian battlefields of 1917. Travel to Bullecourt, via the Somme winter region around Butte de Warlencourt and Flers (where “trench foot”, the wet and the freezing cold was remembered by many old soldiers as the worst experience of the war), Bapaume, the town captured on 17 March 1917, and the Hindenburg outpost line villages around which several battles were fought. Tour the battlefield of Bullecourt where the AIF suffered 10,000 casualties in capturing part of the notorious Hindenburg Line defences in April/May. Visit the Jean and Denise Letaille War Museum and inspect the local memorials including the Bullecourt “Digger” and the Slouch Hat Memorial. Lunch today is a special occasion, presented by the local people in the town hall, it’s a wonderful display of the unique friendship between Australians and the locals in villages throughout the Somme battlefields, always a highlight! After bidding farewell to our new friends, we drive to Villers-Bretonneux to visit the Franco-Australien Museum located in the Victoria School and then Adelaide Cemetery, located on the outskirts of town, it was the original resting place of the Unknown Australian Soldier now entombed at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Tonight is free to wander Amiens and enjoy the atmosphere of the canal waterfront. B L
Day 4, 24 April – Today we tour the sites of heavy fighting in 1918, where the AIF confirmed its outstanding reputation as fighting troops, including the famous battleground of Hamel, and the subsequent Allied counter-offensive spearheaded by the Australian Corps under Sir John Monash, and the breaking of the Hindenburg Line. We go to the Australian Corps Memorial at Le Hamel, the Richthofen (‘The Red Baron’) crash site, and the 3rd Australian Division Memorial at Sailly-le-Sec, before a lunch stop at Peronne. This major town was liberated by Australians on 1 September 1918. Afterwards, we visit Mont St Quentin where we see the famous 2nd Australian Division Memorial, then on to the Hindenburg Line to view the Bellicourt tunnel, finally, Montbrehain where the Australians fought their last infantry action of the war. A free evening in Amiens or perhaps turn in for an early night to prepare for Anzac Day. B L D
Day 5, 25 April – ANZAC Day. ANZAC Day; a special day. We have an early rise to join thousands of fellow Australians for the special centenary Anzac Day Dawn Service. The ceremony conducted at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, surrounded by the graves of soldiers killed in the local 1918 fighting, is a never to be forgotten experience. Following the ceremony we’ll go into Amiens for lunch before returning to the hotel for rest. B L D
Day 6, 26 April – Depart Amiens and leave the Somme region heading for Flanders and the ancient town of Ieper. On the way we make an important stop at Fromelles to see where the Australians fought the disastrous action on 19/20 July 1916. We will explore the war museum, then visit the new Pheasant Wood Cemetery specifically established to house the remains of those disinterred from the site nearby of the mass graves discovered in recent years, “Cobbers” Memorial, and VC Corner. We make a stop for lunch at a wonderful eclectic café in Estaires before crossing the border, travelling via the Messines Ridge and Armentieres to the Belgian village of Poperinge to visit TOC H where allied soldiers took short breaks to forget about the war for a while. We continue onto the city of Ieper to settle in at hotel, and take the chance to visit some fine restaurants in the town square. B L
Day 7, 27 April – This morning we break from the battlefields to wander the picturesque medieval city of Bruges, with its wonderful art, architecture, canals, and chocolate and lace shops, perhaps enjoy lunch or ice-cream and waffles in one of the many little cafes or a scenic boat cruise along the canals. We return to Ieper with the remainder of the afternoon free to explore the Town Square, perhaps visit the In Flanders Fields museum located inside the famous Cloth Hall. This evening we have dinner together in a restaurant located in the old casements of the city in what were formerly barracks used by British troops in the Battle of Third Ypres before participating in the moving “Last Post” ceremony and wreath-laying at the Menin Gate Memorial. B D
Day 8, 28 April – Today, we concentrate on the Australians’ experiences in the terrible third battle of Ypres; here we had 38,000 casualties over several weeks during late 1917. For the AIF this was the most costly year of the war. We will visit Hill 60 (see the Australian Tunnelling Corps Memorial), Menin Road, Polygon Wood, where the 5th Division Memorial stands, Broodseinde Ridge, and Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing. The largest Commonwealth War Cemetery, Tyne Cot contains over 11,000 graves including two Australian VC recipients. We also visit the village of Passchendaele and the excellent Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 followed by lunch in the cosy café onsite. Then we’ll visit the huge German war cemetery at Langemarke before returning to Ypres. This evening is free for you to enjoy a final Belgian beer or waffle in the lovely atmosphere of the town square. B L
Day 9, 29 April – We conclude our tour of the battlefields returning to Paris via Vimy Ridge, the spectacular Canadian Memorial and the park and museum at Compiegne, where the Armistice ending the fighting was signed on 11 November 1918. Settle in at hotel, with the remainder of the day free for personal sightseeing and exploring. This evening join our farewell dinner for a cruise along the Seine, seeing the beautiful sights of Paris and Notre Dame Cathedral by night. B D
Day 10, 30 April – After breakfast the tour comes to an end with a group transfer to the airport mid-morning. B
Please Note: Itinerary subject to change according to prevailing circumstances.Enquire Now
Le Meridien Etoile, Paris
Le Meridien Etoile is just across the street from Le Palais des Congrès de Paris convention centre and mall. This sleek hotel is 1.3 km from the Arc de Triomphe. In this stylish property with modern decor, all air-conditioned rooms have private bathrooms, Wi-Fi access and flat-screen TVs. The rooms are soundproof and room service is available for all meals. The Jazz Club Etoile is on the ground floor of the Méridien Etoile. It is a well-known Paris jazz club and hosts some of the world’s best musicians. The club overlooks the interior courtyard. It also has a terrace in the interior garden, where you can enjoy snacks and cocktails.
Novotel Amiens East
Novotel Amiens East is a wonderfully laid-back hotel that overlooks a beautiful wooded park, and is ideally located for visiting places of remembrance. The modern rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, plus desks, minibars, and tea and coffee making facilities. Amenities include a casual French restaurant and an all-day bar. There’s also an outdoor pool and a sun deck.
Novotel Centrum, Ypres
Novotel Centrum Flanders Fields is a 3-star city centre Ypres hotel, a stone’s throw from Ypres Market Square and In Flanders Fields Museum. You’ll also be within 5 minutes of Cloth Hall and Menin Gate Memorial. The hotel has a restaurant and free WiFi along with an elevator (lift). There is also a bar/lounge where guests can enjoy drinks, plus there is a fitness centre and steam room for guests to take advantage of also.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 our efforts…
“Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed the Western Front Tour with Aaron Pegram and John. The itinerary was well planned, Frank the bus driver was exceptional and the accommodation fine.
As the Tour Director, John did a terrific job managing us all in a very friendly manner and his insights and commentary on the local areas was very good.
A special mention for Aaron. His historical knowledge made it all came alive for me and it was terrific how he was able to meet everyone’s needs and requests on the tour. Nothing was ever too much trouble and he got the balance just right between enough information and information overload. A great experience I will never forget.”
“Howard and I have been very remiss in not contacting you to tell you how much we enjoyed our trip to the Western Front with Boronia Travel this year. It was all we were hoping for, and more. The “more” was because of the people. Graeme and John, the tour historian and tour leader, were so generous with their time and knowledge and were the ultimate professionals, making our travel experience one of ease and extraordinary interest. Jean-Michel, our bus driver, was a legend and our fellow tour companions completed the experience. Thank you.”
Rae King and Howard Gibbon
“I write to commend and thank you for the marvellous Guide we had in Aaron Pegram on the recent Western Front tour in April. Aaron was not only extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the War but he ensured that everyone who had a personal interest in a battlefield, cemetery or memorial had the opportunity to visit the site and was given time for quiet reflection.
Although the Tour participants had a collective interest in the Western Front, we were a diverse group of people and Aaron managed us all with great sensitivity and aplomb. Once again, thank you for such a great Tour”.
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