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Anzac Day at Gallipoli

Gallipoli 2016 logo (Words: Gallipoli & Gelibolu with a graphic of a white poppy and a small green leafy branch)

On 25 April each year we commemorate the landings of the Anzacs on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey.

The joint Australian and New Zealand Dawn Service at Gallipoli will continue to be held each year at the Anzac Commemorative Site. The detailed arrangements for the service will be finalised in the coming months and information will be updated on this website as details are finalised.

The commemorative sites at Gallipoli are the sovereign territory of the Turkish people and holding the annual Anzac Day commemorations is only possible with the cooperation and generous assistance of the Government of the Republic of Turkey.

Safety and security

  • For the latest travel advice on the security situation in Turkey please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) smartraveller website.
  • You should register your travel plans with DFAT in case of an emergency.
  • Visitors are responsible for their own safety, welfare and security of belongings at all times.
  • Security and crowd management are the responsibility of Turkish security personnel with airport-style screening of visitors at the entry point to the commemorative site, including bag searches.
  • For cultural reasons, visitors may be separated into male and female lines to go through security checkpoints.
  • You should follow the instructions of Turkish security personnel at all times.
  • Conditions of entry will apply to the commemorative site.

To assist in your planning, the information below has been provided for attendees. Please note the information below is subject to change. You should revisit this website regularly for future updates and announcements.

On this page:

What to Expect at Gallipoli

Attending Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli is a once in a lifetime experience, but can be challenging even for young, fit and experienced travellers. Before deciding to attend the commemorations, it is important that you know what conditions to expect at Gallipoli.

To get an appreciation of what to expect when attending the Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli, you should ensure you read the information below.

Before you Depart Home

Travel advice

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) provides travel advice for Turkey on its Smartraveller website. It is recommended that Australians travelling to Turkey for the commemorations monitor this advice and register their details at the Smartraveller website. Registration means you will be advised of any changes to the travel advisory and allows DFAT to get in touch with you or your family in the event of an emergency.

Passport

You will require a current passport to travel outside of Australia and you will need to ensure your passport has at least six months validity after the date you arrive in Turkey. Contact the Australian Passport Office on 131 232 or visit the Australian Passport Office website for information if you need to apply for a passport or to renew your passport.

Visa

All Australians who visit Turkey are required to have an entry visa. You must apply for and receive your entry visa before you travel. To obtain a visa to enter Turkey apply online at the evisa website.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is essential and can cover the policy holder for insurable events that may occur before or during travel, such as trip cancellation/interruption, medical expenses for injury or illness, theft of valuables, baggage delay or damage and more. If you cannot obtain travel insurance to cover your personal circumstances, you need to consider the potential financial and personal risks before deciding whether to proceed with planned travel overseas. Further information on travel insurance is available on the Smartraveller website.

Getting to Gallipoli

The Australian Government does not provide any form of transport to or from the Gallipoli Campaign Historical Site for visitors attending the Anzac Day Dawn Service. The services are held in an isolated and remote area inside a national park. There is no permanent infrastructure or shelter at the site.

Given the current travel advisory, if you would prefer not to travel through Istanbul please talk to your travel agent about suitable options.

The Gallipoli Peninsula is a 5 hour drive from Istanbul. The nearest towns to the commemorative sites within the national park are Eceabat (20 kms), Canakkale (30 kms) and Gelibolu (45 kms), but there is no public transport available from these towns to the national park.

Each year the majority (95%) of visitors attend the commemorations as part of a guided bus tour. Numerous tour providers in Australia and Turkey offer tours that incorporate the Dawn Service. DVA recommends that visitors travel to the commemorations as part of an organised tour arriving by coach.

Private vehicles are not permitted to park near the commemorative sites and parking may be prohibited within the Anzac battlefield area. The parking location for private vehicles is at the discretion of the Turkish Jandarma and is subject to change. For security reasons, the parking location for private vehicles will be a significant distance from the commemorative site – likely to be several kilometres. If you are considering using a private vehicle, it will be your responsibility to get to and from the parking location of your car to attend the services. This will involve a walk of several kilometres along heavily travelled, unlit or poorly lit roads. For your safety and ease of arrival, we advise that travelling to the commemorations with a tour group is preferred.

Previously a very small number of visitors have arrived by taxi, but they have found this to be problematic. There are no taxi ranks or public phones available in the national park to call a taxi after the services. If a taxi does agree to pick you up, it may have to wait several hours in the coach queue before arriving due to traffic restrictions. Tour operators do not allow visitors who are not on their tour to ‘get a lift’ with them, after the services, to the nearest town.

The Gallipoli Environment

The Anzac Day commemorations are held within the Gallipoli Campaign Historical Site, which is in an isolated area within a national park and has no permanent infrastructure or shelter. You will be exposed to the elements in all weather conditions for the entire period you are onsite – which can be up to 24 hours. Very basic and limited facilities including temporary seating, lighting and portable toilets are available onsite for the period of the commemorations. Limited rubbish disposal facilities are available, and where possible, visitors are asked to take rubbish with them.

There is no running water or power onsite, except for those in use for the services.

You will need to bring adequate supplies of non-perishable food – there are no cooking facilities onsite. Bottled water is available onsite and limited supplies of Turkish food and water can be purchased from vendors onsite.

Mobile phone coverage is available at the commemorative sites.

Changes to conditions of entry and additional security screening for Anzac Day commemorations in Gallipoli

As a result of enhanced security arrangements, additional security screening will occur at all entry points. These restrictions include:

  • Open bottles of liquid will not be allowed on site.
  • Visitors will be asked to remove all electronic devices such as iPads and laptops, to be submitted for separate security screening.

Arriving at Gallipoli

Several kilometres from the Anzac Commemorative Site, tour coaches and their passengers will be welcomed by a member of the visitor services team. Each coach will be registered and given a coach identification number. Each passenger on the coach will be provided with a tag with the coach identification number, helping passengers to identify their coach number when departing Gallipoli on 25 April. When picking visitors up after the service coaches will not arrive in numerical order. Important information will also be provided during the coach registration process. Coach registration is likely to commence an hour before the Anzac Commemorative Site opens.

Once your coach has been registered, it will drive to the coach set down point at Beach Cemetery, which is about 1km from the Anzac Commemorative Site.

When you disembark your coach, you should take everything you need for your entire stay, including any medications you may require, as coaches must depart the area and you will not be able to access your coach again until you depart on 25 April. Please ensure you have everything you need for the overnight stay ready in a backpack or small overnight bag ready before you disembark your coach.

Timing of the Commemorative Services

The Anzac Commemorative Site, where the Dawn Service is held, closes to the public on the morning of 24 April. Following a full security sweep, the Anzac Commemorative Site will open for visitor entry later than in previous years (likely to be around 10pm on 24 April).

Coach registration at Mimoza Park Otopark will commence an hour prior to the site opening. The road into Anzac Commemorative Site is closed to further arrivals at 3am on 25 April.

The pre-service reflective program will run prior to the Dawn Service. The reflective program includes documentaries and interviews about the Gallipoli campaign, as well as musical performances by the Defence Force band.

The Dawn Services commences at 5.30am and concludes at 6.30am.

Timings of other services on Anzac Day will be provided once confirmed. Please revisit this website for further details.

The Weather

Visitors will be exposed to the elements, without shelter, for several hours (including overnight) and can experience all weather extremes. The Anzac Commemorative Site is in an exposed location in a national park.

Typically, in April, it can be warm in the afternoon but drop to below 0 degrees Celsius in the early hours before the Dawn Service. Rain and very cold wind and severe wind chill are also possible, as is unseasonal heat. Sunburn and hypothermia are risks. Rain was experienced on site overnight on 24 April 2016. Visitors should ensure they are prepared for a night in the open in all weather conditions.

You should ensure you have sufficient warm and protective clothing for all weather conditions, including wet weather gear and blankets.

Health, Fitness and First Aid

A moderate level of fitness is required as visitors can expect to walk several kilometres over 24-25 April. The terrain includes reasonable flat sealed roads, cobblestone paths, sloped and uneven gravel tracks and grassed areas (which can become slippery or muddy when wet) as well as very steep ungraded paths. Access to seating in the stands requires climbing stairs.

Visitors will often need to stand and queue for long periods at times, for security screening to enter the commemorative site, as well as for the limited public amenities. If the site is nearing the safe capacity, visitors on the grassed areas will be asked to stand.

Limited medical support is provided by local Turkish health authorities from the evening of 24 April to the morning of 25 April. If you require any medical aides or equipment, including medications, wheelchairs or mobility aids, you will need to bring these with you.

You should bring your own prescription medication (if required) and basic first aid supplies, including non-prescription pain relief medication and band-aids. The medical support provided is equipped for medical emergencies and is not designed to treat minor ailments.

If visitors wish to attend both the Dawn Service and New Zealand service later on the morning of 25 April, they will need to walk between the Anzac Commemorative Site and Chunuk Bair. Coaches and private vehicles can not transit visitors between these sites due to traffic restrictions. This walk involves a very steep climb up Artillery Road (equivalent to climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge or 30 flights of stairs) as well as an additional uphill walk from Lone Pine at the top of Artillery Road, uphill for a further 3.2km up Second Ridge Road from Lone Pine to Chunuk Bair. The total distance is 6.4km, the majority of this distance being a steep and challenging climb.

Children and Infants

Please seriously consider how well your child or infant would cope with the travel and environmental conditions at Gallipoli, including the overnight in the open in cold temperatures, with no shelter. It is important to remember that there are only limited toilet facilities, with no infant changing or parenting facilities at the commemorative site.

Seating at the Commemorations

Seating at the commemorations is not allocated or reserved (other than a limited area for Assisted Mobility visitors who register on-site) and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Seating is available in temporarily erected metal grandstands with plastic bucket-style seats or on grassed areas (with no seats). Some seating may have restricted views, however large screens are available to view the service.

You should be aware that large groups may not be able to sit together and you may be separated from your group and/or tour guide. You should make sure you have your tour guide’s contact details in case you are separated.

Assisted Mobility Visitors

Attending Anzac Day is physically challenging and given the conditions, can be potentially hazardous to the very young, very old or those with medical conditions. You should advise your doctor of the conditions you are likely to experience and seek their advice about your suitability to safely travel to Gallipoli and attend the Anzac Day commemorations.

Extremely limited onsite assistance is available to visitors who have a health or mobility issue. Visitors will need to request this assistance at the information tent when they arrive at Gallipoli. The number of places available for Assisted Mobility visitors is very limited and will be allocated on a most-at-need basis. Access to this assistance cannot be guaranteed.

Eligible Assisted Mobility visitors will be provided with an access pass to access the assisted seating area and are able to have one carer with them to provide personal assistance. Onsite assistance comprises reserved seating, access to several dedicated toilets and transport from the coach set down point to the Anzac Commemorative Site if required.

There is a distance of approximately 400 metres from the entry point to the Assisted Mobility seating area over uneven ground and assisted mobility visitors will need to traverse this distance unaided.

While staff are allocated to monitor the assisted mobility seating area we are unable to provide one-on-one or personal carers or provide medical aids and wheelchairs on request. If mobility aides are required visitors should ensure they bring them when they depart their coach.

What to Take

Prior to arriving at Gallipoli, you should have everything you need (including any medications, warm and wet weather clothing and appropriate footwear) ready and packed in a small bag or day-pack (no larger than that allowed as carry-on luggage on a plane).

On arrival, you should disembark your coach with your small bag/day pack. After disembarking your coach, you will not be able to return to your coach to collect any forgotten items or return any prohibited items. You will not be able to access your coach again until you are picked up on 25 April after the conclusion of the services.

What to pack:

  • Wet weather and windproof jacket and pants
  • Warm, thermal clothing, jacket, beanie, hat or cap, gloves, scarf
  • Warm blanket
  • Comfortable, sturdy walking shoes
  • Prescription medications (if required)
  • Non-perishable food and snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • Torch
  • Compact camera
  • Basic first aid kit, including bandaids and non-prescription pain relief medication
  • Mobile phone (noting there are no phone charging facilities)
  • A small bag or day-pack for carrying the above items.

What is Prohibited?

All visitors to the commemorations will undergo security screening and bag searches by the Turkish authorities on entry to the sites.

Restrictions are imposed and enforced by the Turkish authorities. The following items have previously been prohibited in the commemorative areas:

  • Dangerous or hazardous items
  • Large flags (please note that the wearing of flags as capes is disrespectful and is discouraged)
  • Advertising or marketing messages
  • Drones and remote control devices
  • Sporting equipment (footballs, inflatable balloons etc.)
  • Any disruptive items (whistles, musical instruments etc.)
  • Large backpacks or luggage (airline carry-on size is acceptable)
  • Camping equipment (tents, folding chairs, camping mats, cooking equipment, etc)
  • Opened bottles of liquid
  • Flammable liquids or items, weapons or sharp objects including umbrellas
  • Large or bulky objects (for example chairs, musical instruments, etc)
  • Hiking poles (Medical and mobility aids such as walkers, walking sticks and wheelchairs will be permitted subject to medical need)
  • Professional photographic equipment (including zoom lenses, audio visual or cinematographic equipment)
  • Camera tripods and selfie sticks
  • Alcohol is prohibited in the Gallipoli Campaign Historical Site – intoxicated persons will be refused entry
  • Smoking is prohibited in the stands and enclosed areas

Prohibited items will be confiscated and may be destroyed.

Laying Wreaths or Floral Tributes

Wreath laying by invited official representatives will occur during the services. Members of the public who wish to lay a wreath or floral tribute will have the opportunity to do so at the conclusion of the service.

If you wish to lay a wreath or floral tribute, you will need to bring this with you and register your details at the information tent. The proceedings will be announced by the Master of Ceremonies who will call individuals in order to lay their wreath or tribute.

Please note that you will need to organise your own wreath or floral tribute. It is your responsibility to carry it with you, care for it and transport it to the Anzac Commemorative Site/Lone Pine Memorial. There are no facilities or arrangements for storage or transport of personal wreaths at the commemorations.

Departing the Gallipoli Peninsula

Following the conclusion of the services, coaches will commence loading. Please wait inside the commemorative site with your coach group until your coach number is called.

There may be hundreds of coaches at the commemorations, so long waits and delays can be expected. You should not make any onward travel arrangements or connections for the afternoon or evening of 25 April. Please be patient while the process occurs.

There are several coach loading zones for visitors. Coaches will not arrive in numerical order, so it is impossible to predict in advance which loading zone would be utilised by which coach. Arriving coach numbers will be called by an announcer and displayed on screens.

Once your coach number has been called, visitors should move to the coach loading zone and board the coach after it has come to a complete stop. Please follow the instructions of service officials and be mindful of your safety.

Visitors who arrive at the commemorations in private vehicles are responsible for returning to their vehicle to depart Gallipoli. Visitors who arrive at the services by taxi are responsible for their own departure from the peninsula.

Visitors who choose to depart Anzac Commemorative Site on foot after the Dawn Service must ensure that they have previously arranged with their tour provider where they will be picked up from.

Guides and Apps

The Gallipoli and the Anzacs website has guides that can be downloaded as MP3 files or in print versions, providing audio and walking tours about the historic sites to visit on the Gallipoli peninsula.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) War Graves app provides information about the cemeteries at Gallipoli and allows you to search for the location of an individual’s war grave.

The ABC’s Gallipoli the First Day Centenary Edition app provides an overview of the Gallipoli campaign, eye witness accounts and commentary.

Assistance to the Commemorations

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs receives a great many requests from groups and individuals wishing to contribute to the Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli.

The Dawn Service at Gallipoli follows a traditional format and structure agreed by the governments of Australia, New Zealand and Turkey. Many hundreds of thousands of Australians are descendants of a veteran of the Gallipoli campaign and feel an emotional connection to the commemorations. Given this, unsolicited offers or requests to provide content or perform a role within the ceremony will not be accepted. This includes offers of artefacts or relics, bugles or other musical instruments, songs, poems, speeches or readings.

Conservation Volunteers provides volunteers to assist with the annual commemorations at Gallipoli. Conservation Volunteers advertise for applications each year. More information is available at the Conservation Volunteers website.

The choir that supports the services at Gallipoli will be finalised in the coming months.

Conservation Volunteers and the choir are both engaged through an open tender process.

Medical support is provided by Turkish health authorities. Interpreters are provided by the 18 March University in Canakkale.

The Gallipoli Campaign

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has developed the Gallipoli and the Anzacs website - a major award-winning educational web site containing text, documents, graphics, timelines, video and audio about Australians in the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War.

The following books are a starting point if you are interested in learning more about Gallipoli.

Contact Us

For further information about the Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli email Gallipoli@dva.gov.au or phone the Department of Veterans' Affairs on 1800 555 254.

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