This 4-day small-group tour provides the perfect opportunity to explore the Australian battlefields of the Western Front in comfort and convenience. We will walk in the footsteps of the Anzacs on all the main battlefield sites in the Somme, Flanders and the Ypres Salient.
The itinerary has been personally designed by Mat McLachlan, and the expert historians who escort this tour have been hand-picked by Mat.
Either begin your tour in Paris or Lille, a great option if you are catching the Eurostar from London or travelling from elsewhere in Europe!
Hotels used on this tour are centrally located 3 & 4 star accommodation.
Various departures between April and November 2023
Twin share from $2,199 per person / Single Traveller from $2,719
Add this memorable experience onto a European Holiday - tour or Cruise.
Call us today on 1300 414 198 and speak with our friendly travel team.
Day 1 - Paris to Ypres
Welcome to our Western Front tour! This small group tour departs from the Holiday Inn Express – Canal De La Villette Hotel in Paris at 8.30am for a 9.00am departure.
Leaving Paris behind and heading north towards the Belgian border. The first stop is the very moving 1916 battlefield of Fromelles, where Australia lost 5533 men during its first action on the Western Front. Here we will visit the Australian Memorial Park, VC Corner Cemetery (the only all-Australian cemetery in France), the site of the Australian mass grave at Pheasant Wood and the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Cemetery, where 250 Australian and British soldiers were laid to rest in 2010.
We will also visit the Fromelles Museum which tells the story of Australia’s disastrous involvement in the battle of Fromelles in 1916. Our final destination is the town of Ypres, our home for the next two nights. Between 1914 and 1918 Ypres was completely destroyed by shellfire and came to symbolise the horror of the First World War. In the evening we will enjoy a walking tour with our Historian around the rebuilt town, before coming together for a welcome dinner.
Day 2 - The Ypres Salient
The Ypres Salient was a bulge in the front line that curved around Ypres for most of the war. More than a million men were killed or wounded trying to gain control of this small patch of ground. Today we will explore the Australian battlefields in the Salient, places where the Anzacs made history in 1917. Our first stop will be the Passchendaele Museum, a provocative collection of relics and displays that chronicles the fighting in Flanders.
We will then visit the 5th Australian Division Memorial at Polygon Wood, where we will see the graves of Private Hunter and Sergeant Calder, the two Australian soldiers who featured in Mat McLachlan’s documentary ‘Lost in Flanders’.
Lunch is included at a local café. We then get a taste of the devastation caused by four years of continuous artillery fire at the cratered landscape of Hill 60, before visiting Tyne Cot, the world’s largest Commonwealth war cemetery. Tyne Cot sits in the heart of one of the most horrific battlefields of the war – Passchendaele.
Our final stop today is at the German Cemetery at Langemark, where we will learn about the men on the other side of the line. As we drive back to our hotel, we will see the magnificent Canadian memorial at Langemark, marking the spot where poison gas was first used in the war.
This evening we will visit the Menin Gate where the names of 54,000 missing British and Commonwealth soldiers are recorded, for the moving Last Post ceremony. The Ypres fire brigade has performed this bugle ceremony every day and in all-weather since the memorial opened in 1927.
The only interruption was during the four years of German occupation during the Second World War – the ceremony recommenced on the day the town was liberated. Two passengers will be invited to lay a wreath on behalf of our group.
Day 3 - Ypres to the Somme
Today we leave Ypres and travel south towards the battlefields of the Somme. Our first stop is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Experience – a unique new attraction that allows visitors to take a look behind-the-scenes at the work that is required to commemorate the 1.7 million Commonwealth casualties from the First and Second World Wars.
Next is the battlefield of Bullecourt, where Australia lost 10,000 men in two great battles in 1917. We will pay our respects to them at the Slouch Hat memorial in the centre of town and the Australian Memorial Park on the site of the German front line.
In the afternoon we will visit Pozieres, scene of the most costly battle in Australia’s history. 23,000 men were killed or wounded here in six weeks of fighting and we will pay tribute to them at the 1st Division Memorial and the Windmill. We will then see Mouquet Farm, where the Australians fought a bitter campaign against the Germans in August 1916.
Our final stop is the imposing Thiepval Memorial, which commemorates more than 70,000 British soldiers missing from the Somme fighting. After checking in to our central Somme hotel we will have free time to enjoy dinner. A packed picnic lunch is included today.
Day 4 - The Somme to Paris
Today we will explore the killing fields of the Somme, where Australian troops performed magnificently in 1918. Our first visit is to Adelaide Cemetery, where Australia’s Unknown Soldier lay before being reinterred in Canberra in 1993.
We will then visit the Victoria School in Villers-Bretonneux where a sign entreats that the schoolchildren ‘Do Not Forget Australia’. We will also visit the excellent Franco-Australian Museum at the school. We then travel to the Australian Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, where the names of almost 11,000 Australians missing in France are recorded and also visit the new Sir John Monash Interpretive Centre, which tells the story of Australia’s achievements on the Western Front.
Our next stop is the Australian Memorial Park at Hamel, scene of a great Australian victory orchestrated by General John Monash on July 4, 1918. We then farewell the battlefields and drive back to Paris, arriving at the Holiday Inn Express – Canal De La Villette Hotel at approximately 5pm. The tour concludes on arrival in Paris.
Included Meals: Breakfast