11 Day Fully Escorted Battlefield Tour
Proposed for April 2023
We are the only tour operator to provide an Australian Historian to accompany you throughout this once in a lifetime experience.
The Western Front 2023 Battlefield Tour has been specially designed to include the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux, and to participate in the moving Last Post ceremony and wreath-laying at the Menin Gate Memorial. These services reflect on the thousands of soldiers that died and is a truly heartfelt experience for those that attend.
Your expert Australian historian has a deep interest in military history and has travelled and written about these battlefields for many years, and contributed to various Australian military historical projects relating to the Australian War Memorial. They will recount the Australians’ stories at the key battlefield sites, memorials and war cemeteries you’ll visit in the Somme and Flanders battlefields and are always willing to assist with your family research requests to ensure you have a unique and personal experience.
Our tour also focuses on a unique range of activities and the venues have been carefully selected to enable you to experience the provincial charm of the areas visited. Along the way you will meet and dine with local French people for whom the memory of the diggers remains strong – an exclusive experience never to be forgotten!
Your battlefield trip will begin and end in Paris, with a spectacular farewell dinner cruise on the Seine. You will also enjoy the services of an expert local Tour Director to take care of your every need, while travelling in luxury in the most modern air conditioned coach featuring toilet facilities, free WiFi and double the legroom of a standard coach. You’re welcome!Enquire Now
Visit the main World War One Somme and Flanders battlefields where the AIF suffered thousands of casualties during 1916-1918.
- 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
- Visit the newly opened Sir John Monash Centre at Villers Bretonneux
- Attend lunch with local villagers at Bullecourt – an exclusive experience never to be forgotten
- 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.
- A stop at Compiegne, where the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918.
- 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 and battlefield guide.
- 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. We understand that you might want to have a break occasionally.
- 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
- *Prices are per person twin share. Land package only.
- Single Supplements. 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.
- 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 – 1916 SOMME BATTLEFIELDS
Following a mid-afternoon check-in to the hotel, you are invited to join our Tour Director, expert battlefield guide and fellow tour members for a welcome drink in the hotel. (Dinner own arrangements)
Day 2 – 1916 SOMME BATTLEFIELDS
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 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, with its chilling pronouncement, Australian troops … fell more thickly on this ridge than on any other battlefield of the war. We stop for lunch at le Tommy café and museum in the small village of Pozieres. Continue on via Mouquet Farm to Thiepval, where the great British memorial to the ‘missing’ stands. We then travel to Arras for check in and dinner. B L D
Overnight: ARRAS, FRANCE
Day 3 – 1917 BULLECOURT & ARRAS
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”, the wet and the freezing cold was remembered by many old soldiers as the worst experience of the war), passing through 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 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. 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, returning to Arras, we pay a visit to the Wellington Tunnels, 350m of tunnels 22m below Arras, which were used as billets for British troops preparing for the Arras offensive in April 1917. Tonight is free to wander the town and enjoy the evening in the town square. B L
Overnight: ARRAS, FRANCE
Day 4 – FROMELLES ARMENTIERES & IEPER
This morning we leave the Somme region heading for Belgium and the ancient town of Ieper (Ypres, as it was known during the war). On the way 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 continue on to the Cobbers Memorial, and VC Corner on the Fromelles battlefield, before stopping for lunch at a lovely estaminet in a nearby village. Afterwards we cross the border into Belgium travelling via Armentieres and the Messines Ridge, the 3rd Australian Division’s first major action. We then move onto Ieper, our base for the next two 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. The remainder of the evening is free to explore our new surroundings. B L
Overnight: IEPER, BELGIUM
Day 5 – FLANDERS BATTLEFIELDS
Today we concentrate on the Australian experiences in the Third Battle of Ypres where the AIF suffered over 38,000 casualties in eight weeks – its greatest losses of the war. We explore the battlefields at Hill 60, travel down the Menin Road to Polygon Wood where the 5th Australian Division Memorial stands, and visit the Passchendaele Memorial Museum at Zonnebeke where we will have lunch. Afterwards, we visit the enormous Tyne Cot Cemetery which contains over 11,000 burials that include two Australian VC recipients. We return to Ieper for free time in the afternoon to explore the town square, and 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 L D
Overnight: IEPER, BELGIUM
Day 6 – 1918 SOMME BATTLEFIELDS & VILLERS BRETONNEUX
This morning we depart Belgium, returning to the Somme to explore the sites of many Australian battles during 1918. The village of Villers Bretonneux, recaptured by Australian troops after a short period of German occupation in April 1918, displays many signs of the local people’s appreciation of Australian efforts there. We wander the Franco-Australien museum situated in the Ecole Victoria (the Victorian School), rebuilt in the 1920s with funds donated by the Australian public then following lunch in local restaurant, visit the Australian National Memorial, the site of the official Dawn Service and the newly opened Sir John Monash Centre. We also make a stop at 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. It’s then onto Amiens, located on the Somme River and overshadowed by the largest UNESCO world Heritage listed Cathedral in France, it will be our home for the next few nights. B L
Overnight: AMIENS, FRANCE
Day 7 – VIGNACOURT & NAOURS
An interesting morning, we begin with a visit to Vignacourt 14-18 Interpretive Centre, located within the original farmhouse, the exhibition displays some of the thousands of photos taken of Allied troops during the war by Louis and Antoinette Thuillier and 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. Then passing by Chateau de Bertangles, the Australian Headquarters where General John Monash received his knighthood, it’s back to Amiens to wander the cobblestone streets and explore the magnificent Cathedral at your leisure. Later we’ll meet for dinner at a restaurant located on the picturesque canal waterfront. B D
Overnight: AMIENS, FRANCE
Day 8 – MONT ST QUENTIN PERONNE & HAMEL
We travel further east this morning to visit the sites of Australian actions during the final months of the war. We’ll inspect the St Quentin Canal entrance at Bellicourt, then head to Mont St Quentin, its capture by the Australians regarded by General Sir Henry Rawlinson as the “finest single feat of arms of the war”, to see the 2nd Australian Division Memorial. Then to Peronne, a town which was occupied by the Germans for most of the war and captured by Australian forces in early September 1918, for lunch at a local restaurant. Later we travel 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. We return to Amiens for an early night in preparation for Anzac Day. B L
Overnight: AMIENS, FRANCE
Day 9 – ANZAC DAY
A special day for Australians. We have an early rise to join thousands for the special Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. We will return to Amiens following the ceremony to freshen-up and rest. Later, we’ll meet for a lovely lunch at a local restaurant near the Amiens cathedral. B L
Overnight: AMIENS, FRANCE
Day 10 – COMPIEGNE & PARIS
We conclude our tour of the battlefields returning to Paris via 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. 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 11 – The tour comes to an end following breakfast and check out. 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.
Mecure Atria Motel, Arras
Opposite the TGV train station and close to the historic center of Arras, this 4-star hotel boasts comfortable rooms and is ideally located close to the Louvre-Lens museum and the Notre Dame de Lorette and Vimy memorial sites. The restaurant offers contemporary and innovative cuisine.
Mercure Arras Centre Gare hotel is ideally situated right into the city center, in front of the Railway station. Nearby “Les Places”, Belfry of Arras, Fine Arts Museum, Museum Letaille Bullecourt and Wellington quarry.
Mercure Arras Centre Gare Hotel is also well situated from Louvre-Lens Museum and Stadium Bollaert-Delélis, the memorial of Vimy, Notre-Dame de Lorette. It’s also just a short walk from the city’s pedestrian streets and the Town Hall belfry which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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.
Hotel Companille Centre, Amiens
This air-conditioned hotel is located in the center of Amiens, 50m from Amiens SNCF Train Station and a 10-minute walk from the famous Gothic cathedral. It offers rooms with free Wi-Fi.
Guest rooms at Campanile Amiens Center-Gare have a modern decor and are equipped with a flat-screen TV. They each have a work area and an private bathroom with a hairdryer. All rooms are serviced by a elevator.
A buffet breakfast is served each morning at the hotel. For other meals, the hotel’s restaurant offers French dishes, which can be enjoyed on the terrace when the weather is nice. A snack service is also available. The reception desk is open 24 hours a day and offers a safety deposit box.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…
Western Front – Anzac Day Tour 2018
“Firstly we must apologise for the time it has taken us to thank you for such a great adventure. As you knew we came home via Amsterdam and Singapore and we are now only getting our feet back under the desk after catching up on stuff that occurred whilst we were away. Well, what can we say, the experience far exceeded our expectations. We have travelled with Insight before and their level of service, coaches and commitment to service can not be faulted. But this trip had two extra bonus, Nick Fletcher on one bus and Graeme Beveridge, one our bus, and what an absolute gentleman. His knowledge of the Australian/Commonwealth involvement within the Western Front is second to none, his compassion and commitment in ensuring that everyone was able to be involved, yet was sensitive enough to allow people to have their own special time.
From the minute we stepped off the plane in Paris till the time we said our goodbyes at the conclusion, the trip was fantastic, a once in a lifetime experience. Both the two tour directors, John in our bus and Brad in the other ensured that we travelled as a group with a little bit of banter and fun between the two groups which made for a great journey.
Peter seemed to be there but not be there if that makes any sense. He made sure if we needed any assistance in any way, he was the go to man, he was a joy to travel with. All we can say is that we are very glad we chose Boronia Travel for this trip as the memories will remain with us for as long as we live. You have a very well organised travel adventure and we can not find a single recommendation for improvement. Well done to the whole team.”
Colin Bird & Sue Buckingham
Western Front – Anzac Day Tour 2018
“I’d like to thank the Boronia Travel Centre team for having organised such a wonderful tour. My original intent in committing to go was to “fill in” what I had missed in July 2016 and attend the Villers Bretonneux 100th commemorations. What you provided was all of those and more and for that I am very grateful. The planning and execution was spot on for which you, Brad and Nick are to be congratulated. Nick Fletcher’s input was just outstanding. His knowledge and preparedness to provide responses to all of the questions thrown at him made for fantastic background information for all those on the bus.”
“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