Welcome to Istanbul! Make your way to our centrally-located hotel & check-in any time after 2pm, then get ready for a cultural & historical experience like no other. This afternoon, take time to relax or maybe do some exploring, then this evening we’ll meet up with your Tour Manager & travel buddies for your pre-trip kick start meeting – where you’ll learn all about the adventure you’re about to start. Istanbul is literally a city where East meets West & such a great place to visit. From icons like the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar & the Hagia Sofia, there is so much to be discovered here. You’ll discover them all (& more) on day 4, on our return to Istanbul from Gallipoli. Tonight, if you feel like exploring you could head to the Grand Baazar for some shopping - it’s an unforgettable shopping experience. Your Tour Manager will give you plenty of pointers about where to head. With carpets, jewellery, spices, music, electronics & more, the place is buzzing, so make sure you’ve got your haggling hat on as there are some amazing bargains to be had. If you’re up for it, you could experience a bit of Istanbul’s nightlife! Try your hand at backgammon in a sidewalk cafe & watch the crowds go by as you sip on Turkish coffee. Chill out in a tea garden, or take to the time-honoured tradition of the hammam (steam bath house) get scrubbed down on heated marble stones.
Istanbul to Gallipoli
This morning, we’ll start on our pilgrimage to the site of the region’s bloody battle, Gallipoli, where your ANZAC adventure begins. Access may be restricted during the afternoon, but we’ll have you in prime position to access the site as soon as it opens. Tonight feel the buzzing atmosphere with many other travellers as we "camp out" under the stars at ANZAC Cove, where World War I troops landed & await the Dawn service tomorrow morning. Note: Camping out at Anzac Cove will get chilly, and could be wet, so make sure you bring warm clothes, a waterproof jacket & a sleeping bag to keep you snug. There’s also 8kms of walking involved so bring your comfy walking shoes.
ANZAC Day at Gallipoli
We’ll wake up before sunrise to experience the magical & very moving ANZAC Dawn Service, before we walk in the footsteps of the soldiers up the very same cliffs as the ANZAC troops did in 1915. We’ll pay our respects to the thousands of fallen heros later today - at Lone Pine we participate in the Australian Memorial Service, followed by the New Zealand service at Chunuk Bair. After this truly unforgettable experience, we’ll return to Istanbul for our last night of the trip.
After breakfast, we’ll head out to explore the city on a guided tour. There is so much to see & experience here so get ready for an action packed morning. First up, show you one of the city’s major draw cards & one of its iconic buildings, the stunning Blue Mosque. It’s an amazing building with a series of domes & minarets dominating the skyline, complete with a breathtaking interior of tens of thousands of blue tiles. You’ll stop for a look at the Hippodrome of Constantinople – an outdoor square once the centre of sporting & social events during the Byzantine (Roman) Empire. After this we’ll take a look at the famous Hagia Sofia church (now a museum) to give you a feel for the ancient Constantinian empire. We’ll then head the Basilica Cistern for a look at the ancient underground cisterns that lie beneath the city. Entry’s not included to the sights you’ll see & learn about today, but there’s the opportunity to enter if you wish, at an additional cost. Your 4-day ANZAC adventure ends back at the hotel at 12.30pm.