13 Day Fully Escorted Battlefield Tour
From: 26 August – 7 September 2020
Fully Inclusive at $7,490 per person twin share (including airfare)

Single Supplements available at $1,265

Escorted by: Dr Meleah Hampton and Emma Campbell

We’re excited to release our exclusive ladies only tour of the Western Front Battlefields in 2020. This is an wonderful opportunity for female travellers to retrace the steps of our Anzacs while immersing themselves in local experiences with likeminded travellers. What better way to learn about and discover the battlefields than under the guidance and encouragement of friendly professionals in an amazing ladies only environment!

This battlefield tour has been organised at a relaxed pace, with plenty of time to enjoy the spectacular scenery, the beautiful villages and the most important battlefield sites on the Western Front.

About Your Tour Guides

Dr Meleah Hampton is an historian at the Australian War Memorial. She has written extensively on the First World War from Gallipoli to Montbrehain, and is the author of two books on the Pozières campaign: Attack on the Somme: 1st Anzac Corps and the Battle of Pozières Ridge 1916 (Helion, 2016) and The Battle of Pozières: 1916 for the Army History Unit Campaign Series in 2018. Her primary interest lies in the operational conduct of the First World War, but she has also worked extensively in the field of military biography. A frequent visitor to the battlefields, Meleah is an engaging and knowledgeable speaker and student of the First World War.

Emma Campbell is a Canberra historian and author of The Last Post: a ceremony of love, loss and remembrance at the Australian War Memorial. After 13 years at the museum, Emma has recently left to pursue her love of writing biography and, in particular, telling women’s stories. Emma is currently working on a biography of Dame Alice Chisholm, who opened canteens that fed hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the Sinai-Palestine theatre during the First World War. Her other areas of interest and expertise include Commemoration and its role in Australian society; the role of women during the First and Second World Wars; and the history of the Australian War Memorial.

About Your Tour

Departing Australia in August 2020, and beginning in the beautiful city of Paris, the tour will explore the main sites Australian’s saw action during the World War One campaign of 1914 -1918 in France and Belgium as well as discussions on the courageous women that supported our soldiers on the battlefields  and also the effect war had on those back home.

Working together, Meleah and Emma will present information about the background and specific events which occurred, in an interesting and entertaining way, and prior to departure, tour members are invited 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.

For both your convenience and the comfort of those that may be travelling alone, in-conjunction with the tour, return economy class flights from Melbourne and Sydney to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport have been included (flights from alternate capital cities also available).

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Visit the main sites of the World War One campaign of 1914 -1918 in France and Belgium where the AIF suffered thousands of casualties.

Highlights include:

  • Participate in the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate – a never to be forgotten experience.
  • Visit the main Somme battlefields of 1916, including Pozieres and the Windmill site, where the AIF suffered thousands of casualties in several short weeks.
  • Visit the Bullecourt battlefields of 1917 including the Bullecourt “Digger” and the Slouch Hat Memorial.
  • Visit the newly opened Sir John Monash Centre at Villers Bretonneux
  • Retrace the steps of the terrible Third Battle of Ypres by visiting Polygon Wood, Menin Road, and Memorial to the Missing, plus many other sites of key interest.
  • An important stop at Fromelles to see where the Australian and British troops participated in a costly and unsuccessful attack on 19/20 July 1916.
  • A visit to the Vignacourt 14-18 Interpretive Centre which is located within the original farmhouse and displays recently discovered photographs.
  • 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 Australian War Memorial Historian, Dr Meleah Hampton and Canberra Historian and Author, Emma Campbell.
  • All battlefield sites, scenic drives and museums as described in the itinerary.
  • Ground transport in luxury air-conditioned coaches with toilet facilities, free WiFi and double the legroom of a standard coach.
  • Centrally located accommodation, perfect for exploring the villages in your free time
  • All meals as listed on the itinerary
  • Plenty of Free Time to shop, explore and dine at the beautiful towns visited throughout France and Belgium.
  • Services of a local english speaking guide throughout the tour.
  • All entrance fees as per the itinerary.
  • Gratuities for both your local guide and coach driver
  • Boronia Travel Centre tour cap, ticket wallet and luggage tags
  • Tour reference book with plenty of maps and relevant information

Extras:

  • *Prices are per person twin share, including return flights with Singapore Airlines to Paris from Melbourne and Sydney. Other capital cities available upon request.
  • Single Supplements available at $1,265. If you are willing to share a room please contact us and we will note the details and will contact you if we can match you with a suitable person.
  • 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.
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Meals Included: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Day 1, Wednesday 26 August
Depart Australia via the designated tour flights with Singapore Airlines, meeting up with your historians in transit in Singapore before continuing on together to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

Day 2, Thursday 27 August
Upon arrival and clearing customs, transfer to the hotel for a mid-afternoon check-in to the hotel. Later you are invited to join our Tour Director, expert military historians and fellow tour members for a welcome drink in the hotel. (Dinner own arrangements)
Overnight: Millennium Hotel Paris Opera, PARIS, France

Day 3, Friday 28 August – SOMME BATTLEFIELDS
After breakfast we board the coach and travel north of Paris to 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 by the British 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 and onto the Windmill site, which war correspondent and later official historian CEW Bean wrote in his diary was an area “more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth”. We stop for lunch at La Taverne du Cochon Sale in the small village of Authuille. Afterwards we continue on via Mouquet Farm to Thiepval, where the great British memorial to the missing stands. It’s then onto Amiens, located on the Somme River and overshadowed by the largest UNESCO world Heritage listed Cathedral in France, Amiens will be our home for the next few nights. Later we’ll meet for dinner at a restaurant located on the picturesque canal waterfront. B L D
Overnight: Mercure Amiens Cathedral, AMIENS, France

Day 4, Saturday 29 August – AUSTRALIANS AT WAR
An interesting morning that begins with a visit to the Vignacourt 14-18 Interpretive Centre. During the war local farmers Louis and Antoinette Thuillier turned their farmyard into a photo studio and took thousands of portraits of Allied troops. Located within the original farmhouse, the exhibition displays some of the photographs which were only discovered in recent years. We will then explore The Underground City of Naours, a network of caves marked with thousands of graffiti drawings made by soldiers during the Great War. We then, passing by Chateau de Bertangles, the Australian Headquarters where General John Monash received his knighthood, travel towards Villers Bretonneux, stopping for a lunch at a lovely local family run restaurant. It’s then onto the village of Villers Bretonneux, recaptured by Australian troops after a short period of German occupation in April 1918, It displays many signs of the local people’s appreciation of Australian efforts there. We wander the Australian National Memorial and cemetery, the site of the official Dawn Service and spend time at the newly opened Sir John Monash Centre. It’s then onto the Franco-Australien museum situated in the Ecole Victoria (the Victorian School), rebuilt in the 1920s with funds donated by the Australian public and then Adelaide cemetery, the original resting place of the Unknown Australian Soldier now entombed in the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. B L
Overnight: Mercure Amiens Cathedral, AMIENS, France

Day 5, Sunday 30 August – BULLECOURT 1917 & REMEMBRANCE
Today we explore the main Australian battlefields of 1917. We travel to Bullecourt, via the battlefields of the 1916 Somme winter region around Butte de Warlencourt and Flers (where “trench foot”, and the wet and freezing cold was remembered by many soldiers as the worst experience of the war). We’ll visit Noreuil Australian Cemetery and Heilly Station Cemetery at Mericourt-l’abbe before touring the battlefield of Bullecourt where the AIF suffered 10,000 casualties in April/May. We visit the Jean and Denise Letaille War Museum and inspect the local memorials including the Bullecourt “Digger” and the Slouch Hat Memorial. We then return to Amiens for free time for the remainder of the day to wander the cobblestone streets and explore the magnificent Cathedral at your leisure. B
Overnight: Mercure Amiens Cathedral, AMIENS, France

Day 6, Monday 31 August – THE HUNDRED DAYS’ OFFENSIVE, 1918
This morning we begin at the Richthofen (‘The Red Baron’) crash site for discussion on the infamous German fighter pilot, and the nearby 3rd Australian Division Memorial at Sailly-le-Sec. Then to the tiny village of Hamel, where General John Monash planned and executed the brilliant operation which set the scene for the Allies’ final offensive of the war. Located on the site of the final objective of the Battle of Hamel, we visit the impressive Australian Corps Memorial commemorating over 100,000 Australians who served with the Australian Corps in France during the First World War. Afterwards we travel further east to Mont St Quentin – which was regarded by some British commanders as the ‘finest feat of arms by the Australians’ in the entire war – to see the famous 2nd Australian Division Memorial before stopping for lunch in Peronne, a town occupied by the Germans for most of the war and captured by Australian forces in early September 1918. This afternoon we follow the Australians’ final battles by looking at the breaking of the Hindenburg Line in September 1918. We visit the 4th Australian Division Memorial standing on the heights at Bellenglise, for discussions on the final offensive, Bellicourt to explore the tunnel and remaining German bunkers and to Calvaire Cemetery Montbrehain, where the AIF fought its last action of the First World War. We will also stop at Somme American Cemetery at Bony before making our way back to Amiens for a free evening for rest or to wander and eat at the many available cafes/restaurants. B L
Overnight: Mercure Amiens Cathedral, AMIENS, France

Day 7, Tuesday 01 September – TO THE YPRES SALIENT
We leave Amiens and the Somme region heading for Belgium and the ancient town of Ieper (Ypres, as it was known during the war). En-route we’ll see Forceville Cemetery, one of three “experimental cemeteries” built by the Commonwealth War Graves, which became the model for all other CWGC cemeteries, before stopping at Vimy Ridge, the spectacular Canadian Memorial, where we will participate in the tunnel tour. After a lunch stop we make an important stop at Fromelles to see where the Australian and British troops participated in a costly and unsuccessful attack on 19/20 July 1916. We will explore the Battle of Fromelles Museum and the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Cemetery where the 250 men whose remains were found in 2010 now rest. We also see the Cobbers Memorial, VC Corner and Hitler’s blockhouse on the Fromelles battlefields. We then travel to Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, the site of the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, bombed in 1917 and where four Australian nurses received Military Medals, for “great coolness and devotion to duty” that night. Afterwards we cross the border into Belgium and onto Ieper, our base for the next few days. After settling in and freshening up, together we will attend the Last Post Ceremony at the nearby Menin Gate Memorial during which we will participate in the wreath laying. Every evening since 1928, traffic around the imposing arches of the Menin Memorial is stopped while the Last Post is sounded beneath the gate by the local firemen. This tribute is given in honour of the memory of British Empire soldiers who fought and died there. The remainder of the evening is free to explore our new surroundings. B L 
Overnight: Novotel Centrum, IEPER, Belgium

Day 8, Wednesday 02 September – BRUGES
Today we visit the picturesque medieval city of Bruges, with its wonderful art, architecture, canals, chocolate and lace shops. We will join a local guide who will escort us on a walking tour along the quaint cobblestone streets. Afterwards enjoy lunch or ice-cream and waffles in one of the many little cafes, or a scenic boat cruise along the canals. Later we return to Ieper for free time to explore the town square, perhaps visit the In Flanders Fields Museum, located inside the famous Cloth Hall. Dinner this evening is in a restaurant located in the old casements of the city, in what were formerly barracks used by British troops during the war. B D 
Overnight: Novotel Centrum, IEPER, Belgium      

Day 9, Thursday 03 September – YPRES SALIENT 1917
This morning we begin by visiting the reconstructed German Bayernwald trenches at Wijtschaete before proceeding to Ploegsteert, where we will visit the Plugstreet 14-18 Experience, and the Berks Cemetery Extension / Hyde Park Corner (Royal Berks) Cemetery. There we will be able to directly compare the modern ground to contemporary photographs of Australians at Hyde Park Corner and the entrance to the Hill 63 Catacombs. Following lunch, we visit Prowse Point Military Cemetery and walk via Mud Corner Cemetery to the atmospheric Toronto Avenue Cemetery discussing Australian casualties and the experience at Messines. We then move to the New Zealand Memorial at Messines taking in one of the best overall views of the battlefields. Returning to Ieper, we stop at Hill 60 Tunnellers’ Memorial and explore the craters by foot. This evening is free to enjoy the picturesque town square or join the historians for a stroll along the ramparts. Ypres (Ieper) is fascinating and ancient town, and is known to have been raided by the Romans in the first century BC. Renowned for its linen trade with England, Ypres is mentioned in the Canterbury Tales. Since its almost total destruction during WW1, the medieval Cloth Hall has been reconstructed to its original and imposing magnificence. This majestic building has World Heritage significance. B L 
Overnight: Novotel Centrum, IEPER, Belgium 

Day 10, Friday 04 September – YPRES SALIENT
We begin today travelling down the Menin Road to Hooge Crater Museum and cemetery and then Polygon Wood. Our lunch stop will be at a lovely local restaurant in Zonnebeke (Koklikoo) before making our way to the enormous Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing. The largest Commonwealth War Cemetery, it contains over 11,000 graves including two Australian VC recipients. We continue to The Brooding Soldier (St Julien Canadian War Memorial) and the huge German war cemetery at Langemarke before returning to Ypres via Essex Farm Cemetery, where Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army Medical Corps wrote the poem ‘ In Flanders Fields’ in May 1915. B L 
Overnight: Novotel Centrum, IEPER, Belgium  

Day 11, Saturday 05 September – RETURN TO PARIS
This morning we check out and return to Paris. Upon arrival and check in, the remainder of the day is free for personal sightseeing and exploring. This evening join our farewell dinner for a cruise along the Seine, seeing the beautiful sights of Paris by night. B D
Overnight: Millennium Hotel Paris Opera, PARIS, France    

Day 12, Sunday 06 September
This morning after breakfast, sadly the tour comes to an end with a group transfer to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport for our return flight to Australia with Singapore Airlines or, for those continuing on their travels, it’s au revoir! B

Day 13, Monday 07 September
Following a morning transit in Singapore, arrive into your preferred Capital city early evening.

** Itinerary subject to change due to prevailing circumstances.

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Millennium Hotel Paris Opera

Housed in a 1920s Belle Époque-style building, this refined hotel is just 500 m from Opéra Garnier and the famous Galeries Lafayette. It offers soundproofed accommodations and a glass-domed French brasserie. The air-conditioned guest rooms feature period decor including chandeliers and antique-style furniture. Each room has facilities for making tea and coffee. The hotel’s brasserie serves classic French cuisine. Meals can be taken on the terrace which lines Boulevard Haussmann. Guests can also enjoy a drink by the fire in La Bibliothéque lounge bar. From Millennium Hotel Paris Opera it is possible to walk to the Musée du Louver (17 mins).

Novotel Centrum, Ieper

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.

Mecure HotelMercure Cathedral, Amiens    

Located in the heart of Amiens, just 50m from the cathedral, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site, the Mercure Amiens hotel is the perfect destination for leisure. The historic Saint Leu district, the floating gardens and Jules Verne’s house are all just a stone’s throw from the hotel. Airy, modern rooms include free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, as well as work desks. Upgraded rooms and suites have Nespresso coffeemakers, iPhone/iPad docks and/or pull-out sofas, while some suites add private terraces and cathedral views. Amenities include a contemporary French restaurant and an all-day cocktail bar.

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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…

We had the most marvellous trip through the Western Front through France to Belgium, we were in the front row at the Menin Gate Ceremony, what more can I say, again Rob our tour guide rose to the fore and those of us with pilgrimages were not disappointed, I know that my husband and I have come home with more of an understanding of the whole war and where our ancestors fitted into the overall picture, I can’t thank Boronia Travel enough for the planning, hotels, sight seeing, wonderful special dinners and the standard of the whole experience that you had a part in organising, many, many thanks Peter, I can’t thank you enough either with your help from our first booking to our return to Oz.  We will definitely refer Boronia Travel to our friends, many thanks again for  all your help in making this trip one of a lifetime. (We did actually get to all the Battlefields that we requested).”
Margaret Weston

We really enjoyed our Battlefield Tour thanks to Aaron and John being so organised and calm. We learnt so much from you and it was wonderful to share the stories from other descendants.  I congratulate you on the very efficient manner in which you remembered everyone’s special battlefield place, and how you helped us to pay our respects. It made it very special. I do hope that you had a safe trip home. Many thanks for looking after us so well and for all the wonderful times we had on our tour. Regards and all the best.”
Sandra Walker

” Thank you for making the trip so special, I didn’t know what to expect when I left Australia and it has dawned on me just how special it was. The first day home, I found myself going over the whole trip. It was just amazing and I’d like to say thank you once again for making it so interesting because it really hit me when I got home how important it was. I couldn’t have wished for better people to share it with too. The group of people were just great. I thought I was pretty lucky with the tour. Everything about it was great.”
Roslyn Beauchamp, Queensland 

“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”.
Lesley Kerr

“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 

“Thank you for your organisation of the best, and I do mean the best tour I’ve ever been on.”
R Thompson, Stradbroke Island

“Thanks so much for making it such a memorable trip for my mum. She was ecstatic about all the lengths you went to for her to celebrate her father’s life.”
K Holz, Melbourne

“I am writing to simply thank you for a wonderful experience that I will never forget. It was a privilege to be on the Tour… The Australian War Memorial should be congratulated for making these tours possible with such outstanding historians and leaders.”
L Brear, Blackburn South

“Working through Boronia Travel provided a proven platform to leverage off. They were professional at all stages and provided a tour package and guide well matched for the demographic. The itinerary was flexible and was negotiated each day by the tour manager and OIC, and provided participants a balanced experience”.
Matthew LamertonAustralian Defence Force Academy

“I can honestly say that it was one of the most amazing and enjoyable experiences of my life! Every aspect of the tour far exceeded my expectations.”
R Masters, Koo Wee Rup

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.

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