Australian Remembrance Trail

  • 
                      Australian Remembrance Trail
  • 
                      Australian Remembrance Trail
  • 
                      Australian Remembrance Trail

The Concept

This itinerary focuses on Australia’s involvement in WW1 and follows the Australian Remembrance Trail through Belgium and France. You will see first-hand the efforts of the local communities over many years to commemorate the Australian service men and women who fought so valiantly to protect their villages and communities. Groups will visit the sites of major battles featuring Australian soldiers, museums and memorials, famous cemeteries along with many other points of interest.

There is a unique opportunity for students to participate in some volunteering and/or social justice programs as part of this tour program. It is exclusive to G.E.T Educational Tours and further details will be provided upon request.

Itinerary Day By Day

DAY 1 AUSTRALIA – BRUSSELS (D)

Check in for your flight from Australia to Brussels.

DAY 2 BRUSSELS – YPRES (B, D)

On arrival (morning), you will be met by your private coach at the airport and transferred to our preferred accommodation in Ypres region (90 mins). Free time on arrival, with dinner provided this evening.
Our accommodation is well suited to school group and serves exceptional meals in a small town nearby to Ypres. There are great activities on site such as soccer ovals, indoor games room, WIFI, and much more.

DAY 3 YPRES - MESSINES (B, L, D)

After breakfast at your accommodation spend the morning in Messines visiting the Tourist Information Centre and Museum, St. Nicholas Church and Tower, The Peace Pool, The Irish Peace Tower and the New Zealand Memorial.

The Messines Ridge was a key section of high ground that overlooked the fields south of Ypres and was tightly held by the Germans for 3 years until losing control at the Battle of Messines, June 14th 1917. Evidence of trenches and bunkers remain scattered throughout the landscape and farmland. Students will learn in detail the manner in which Australian and New Zealand troops supported their Allies to regain this crucial high ground, and it is considered one of the great successes of the Allied Forces during WW1.

 After lunch, board your private coach for the short trip into Ypres where you will meet your guide outside the ‘In Flanders Field’ Museum, housed in the magnificently restored Cloth Hall. Commence your tour of this moving memorial focusing on the human experience of war, highlighting the personal testimonials of the locals during this time. Teachers should allow a minimum of 2 hours. There is a cafe and bookshop/souvenir store on site. Enjoy some time with your group as you explore the town of Ypres before boarding your private coach and returning to your accommodation for dinner and some relaxation time.

DAY 4 YPRES – POPERINGE – YPRES (B, D)

After breakfast and some relaxation time, travel by private coach to Poperinge. The Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery was the location of field hospitals behind the Allied Front Line, and the adjacent visitor’s centre is dedicated to the work of the medical services. Take some time to walk through the cemetery, one of the most beautiful and moving burial grounds in all of Belgium. Your coach will then take you into Poperinge for lunch (own expense).

 After lunch, visit Talbot House, established by the Australian Reverend Phillip Clayton in December 1915 as a respite from the horrors of the front line. The house is now a living museum, and is a great place for school groups wishing to participate in a social justice program – contact us for more information on what assistance your school may wish to offer. Ecumenical services can also be held in the chapel upstairs and can be arranged for your groups. For schools interested in assisting the Talbot House community program, allow the afternoon for these activities.

 For all other schools, enjoy some time this afternoon to participate in a range of sporting and social activities at your accommodation, or spend some time wandering around the beautiful city of Ypres and learning more about its rich history before enjoying an early dinner at your accommodation.

 After an early dinner, board the coach for the short trip back into Ypres for the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate, held at 8pm every night. The Menin Gate marks the spot where the soldiers would leave town on their way to the front line. Carved into the wall are the names of 54,896 British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in WW1 and whose graves are unknown. You will then be returned to your accommodation for the evening.

DAY 5 FLANDERS FIELDS (B, L, D)

After breakfast, board your coach and meet your guide. Your guide will take you to Hill 60 and Caterpillar Crater, where there is a moving memorial to the Australian Tunnelling Company, and you will learn about the incredible danger these men faced in extreme conditions. The area is completely untouched for the last 100 years, the remains of German bunkers still visible amongst the trees and on the hill.

 Your guide will then take you onto Polygon Wood and explain in detail the involvement of the 5th Australian division who captured the wood on September 26th 1917. The cemetery contains the graves of 2,108 Commonwealth servicemen, and a memorial to the 378 New Zealand officers who died here with no known grave. On the hill is the memorial to the 5th Australian Division, and is the location of the annual Anzac Day ceremony in Flanders.

 Polygon Wood is also the location of the burial site of the ‘Zonnebeke Five’. You will learn much more about this incredible story over lunch at nearby Cafe ‘De Dreve’ whilst viewing the documentary’ Brothers in Arms’ and talking with the owner, Johan Vandewalle. You will also be moved by the reverence the local people have for Australians, and the incredible bravery shown by our Australian Soldiers at this site will touch each and every participant.

 After lunch head to the Memorial Museum Passchendaele. A most impressive memorial museum, it stands as the symbol to senseless military violence in its most cruel form. Take your time and discover all there is to see here, through images and movies, historical artefacts, and the impressive underground dugout tunnel and trench system. Allow 2 hours.

*Please note – there is also an option for students to complete the Passchendaele ‘Platoon Experience’. Contact us for more information; please also note that this is an all-day program.

 On returning to your accommodation, your coach will take you to Tyne Cot Cemetery. Tyne Cot is the world’s largest Commonwealth war-grave cemetery, and over 70% of them belong to unidentified soldiers. The sight of its uniform graves stretching into the distance is utterly humbling. Return to your accommodation for dinner and some rest.

DAY 6 MESSINES – AMIENS AREA (B, D)

After breakfast, check out of your accommodation and board your private coach and travel to France and visit the Battle of Fromelles Museum. The story of Australia’s disastrous first battle on the Western Front is told here, and there are moving tributes to many of the 5000 men who became casualties which your guide will explain to you in some detail. Adjacent to the museum is the new Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery.

 Your coach will then take you to VC Corner Cemetery and Memorial, the only cemetery on the Western Front dedicated exclusively to Australian Soldiers. Just 200m down the road is the Australian Memorial Park, featuring the famous statue ‘Cobbers’ and is a great place to pay your respects to the many Australians who fought and died here.

 Depart for Amiens with your coach around 3pm and arrive at your hotel around 4.30pm. Check in and enjoy some free time before dinner at a local restaurant.

DAY 7 AMIENS AND THE SOMME BATTLEFIELDS (B, L, D)

After breakfast this morning, take a break from the Remembrance Trail and, with your city guide, visit the largest Gothic cathedral in France, Notre-Dame d ’Amiens. Enjoy wandering through this 13th century church which miraculously escaped destruction during WW1, before enjoying a walk through the streets of Amiens and having lunch at a traditional French Restaurant in the old city.

 In the afternoon, depart for Albert and Peronne, two significant towns for Australian groups. The Museum of the Great War in Peronne details the capture of Mont St Quentin, site of the Second Australian Division’s greatest victory, and The Somme Museum replicates the squalor of war as well as can be expected with its 250m long, 10m deep tunnel. Your final stop today is at the Pozieres War Memorials, where you will pay tribute to those soldiers ‘Known only unto God’ before returning to your accommodation in Amiens, and dinner this evening.

DAY 8 AMIENS AREA – PARIS (B, D)

Check out after breakfast and board your coach to travel to Paris. Stop along the way to visit the Franco-Australian Museum, the Australian National Memorial and the Sir John Monash Centre in Villers-Bretonneux. This memorial marks the 10,982 names of missing Australian soldiers from WW1. On arrival in Paris late-afternoon, you will be issued with a 2 Day Paris Visite Card for zones 1-3. Dinner at your accommodation this evening. Optional - After dinner, head off to climb the Eiffel Tower to the second floor (subject to availability) and enjoy the magnificent evening view of Paris.

DAY 9 PARIS (B, L, D)

After breakfast, enjoy a free morning for sightseeing at your teachers’ discretion. A packed lunch has been included for today. This afternoon you will be taken by coach on a city tour with a focus on the French Revolution. This evening, visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the eternal flame at the Arc de Triomphe, a fitting end to your trip and a time to reflect on the atrocity of war. Your farewell dinner tonight is at one of our favourite French restaurants nearby the Arc de Triomphe, before heading back to your accommodation for the night.

DAY 10 PARIS - AUSTRALIA (B)

After breakfast, transfer to the airport on your private coach and board the flight home to Australia.

DAY 11 AUSTRALIA

Arrive home.

Inclusions
  • Return international economy airfares including pre-paid taxes and charges
  • 4 nights’ youth accommodation in the Ypres area with breakfast and dinner
  • 2 nights’ accommodation at 2 star hotel in the Amiens area with breakfast and dinner
  • 2 nights’ hostel accommodation in Paris with breakfast and 1 lunch and 1 dinner
  • Lunch at Café “De Dreve”
  • Lunch at local restaurant/café in Amiens as stated in itinerary
  • Farewell dinner at local restaurant in Paris
  • Private coach as required for Belgium – Ypres area – Somme – Paris
  • Coach transfer Paris accommodation - airport
  • 2 Day Paris Visite card zones 1-3
  • Full day guide for Flanders Fields
  • Half day guide for Fromelles, VC Corner and Pheasant Wood area
  • Full day guide for Amiens and the Somme Battlefields
  • Half day guided coach tour of Paris “French Revolution”
  • Entrance fees to: Talbot House, In Flanders Field Museum, Memorial Museum Passchendaele, Battles of Fromelles Museum, Museum of the Great War, The Somme Museum, Franco-Australian Museum at Victoria School
  • Eiffel tower climb (2nd floor) – subject to availability
Exclusions
  • English speaking tour escort (available at additional cost - strongly recommended for all groups travelling without a French speaking teacher)
  • Single room supplement (available at additional cost)