Rumour has it that every available seat and patch of grass at the site will be taken, with 10,000 Australians and New Zealanders having successfully secured tickets in the ballot to attend the Dawn Service, along with senior Australian, New Zealand and Turkish government officials, Prince Charles and Prince Harry.
We’ve put together some tips to help our Fez Travel guests to physically and mentally prepare for attendance at the 100 year anniversary of ANZAC Day at Gallipoli in 2015.
Before you leave home:
1. Pack wisely – it’s really really cold at night at the Dawn Service site, so at a minimum you are going to need to have a beanie (that’s a winter hat for non-Aussie readers), a jumper, a scarf, a warm, weatherproof jacket, weatherproof pants, thick socks and warm, comfortable walking shoes as well as a compact sleeping bag. BUT it can really warm up in the daytime, so make sure you have layers of clothes and can get down to a t-shirt if required. Whatever you take with you, you will have to carry it around for around 20 or so hours, as you won’t be able to return to the bus after you leave it. You should be aiming to have everything in a day pack and carry a small, compact sleeping bag. And of course, triple check that you have your attendance pass with you! No pass, no entry, no exceptions – that’s the rules.
If you forget something, or if you prefer not to travel with a sleeping bag, our Fez buses will make a shopping stop along the way for last minute purchases.
2. Forget the contraband items – these include camping or cooking equipment (including folding chairs), flammable liquids, weapons, sharp objects, professional photograph equipment, selfie sticks and alcohol.
3. Get some extra walks in before you leave home – a moderate level of fitness is needed to attend the event – you should be able to walk 8-10km. Our guests from New Zealand will need to walk further than their Australian tour mates to attend the memorial service at Chunuk Bair (and by further, we mean around 3km further, up hill).
On the day of the 24th:
4. Transfer everything you need to your day pack: this includes attendance passes and passport (or photocopy of your passport); warm things – scarf, jacket etc; snacks; water; prescription medications; torch, suncream, camera; compact camera; basic first aid kit.
Be sure to pack carefully as you will NOT be allowed to return to your bus if you have any prohibited items in your day pack. It is critical to have these things packed in your day pack BEFORE the bus arrives at the site, as there will not be time to shift things from your luggage into your daypack once we arrive. Please note that although there will be food and drinks for sale at the site, you might also want to make sure that you have some snacks and extra, unopened bottles of water with you.
5. Familiarise yourself with the event timings:
The Gallipoli area will be closed to guests from 12.01am on the 24th April. Event organisers will undertake final preparations and security checks. The area will open again at 6pm on the 24th to admit visitors. We plan to have our Fez buses there before 6pm so that you will be able to queue up and have a good chance at securing a good spot. Authorities will close the road and entrance at 3.00am. Guests attending the ANZAC Day Dawn Service will wait overnight at ANZAC Cove until 5.30am on the 25th when the Dawn Service begins. After the Dawn Service, guests will make their way to either the Australian Service at Lone Pine (commencing at 11.00am), or the New Zealand memorial service at Chunuk Bair (starting time to be confirmed, but around 1.45pm). You will have several hours to do this, so don’t be stressed. You might also want to check out the walking directions on our ANZAC Day Information Page over at the Fez site.
People attending the Lone Pine service will not be allowed to leave the Lone Pine area until after the New Zealand service has finished. At this point, buses will be allowed to start making their way to pick up guests, firstly from Chunuk Bair, and then from Lone Pine – by this time it will probably be after 2.30pm.
On arrival at the site:
7. Make sure you take everything you need with you when you exit the bus as you will not be permitted to go back to the bus.
8. Bring the most zen version of yourself: when we arrive, there will be a lot of time spent waiting to get into the site and going through multiple security and attendance pass validation procedures, so we thank you in advance for your understanding. People with a spot on the grass will be asked to stand up from 3.00am to make space for the last people admitted at the gates at 3.00am. On the 25th, when all the services are finished, the tour buses will be allocated random numbers to come and pick you up – this can take several hours at a time when you are feeling a bit fragile, so once again you will need to channel your zen self 🙂
9. Pay attention to your bus number: Because of the ballot process for 2015, tour guides will not be allowed to enter the memorial service sites with you. After you go through the gates, the next time you will see your guide is after the Australian and New Zealand services have finished, when guides will be allowed to meet you outside the ceremony site to help you go to the meeting point for your bus. Before you leave your tour guide, please make sure that you are aware of the number of your bus, just as a precaution – this is important for meeting your bus on the 25th.
10. Most importantly, enjoy yourself – the chance to attend the 100 year anniversary is a once in a lifetime experience. You have planned a lot, and worked hard to get yourself to Turkey for the Dawn Service. Enjoy every moment of this emotional, and deeply touching event.