Can you recommend an Australia-run tour operator for Gallipoli ?
MY WIFE, TWO DAUGHTERS AND I HAVE BOOKED A ONE-WEEK STOPOVER IN ISTANBUL THIS JUNE. A DAY TRIP TO GALLIPOLI IS TOP OF OUR TO-DO LIST BUT THERE ARE SO MANY TOUR OPERATORS THAT OFFER DAY TRIPS FROM ISTANBUL THAT IT HAS BECOME CONFUSING. IS THERE AN AUSTRALIAN-RUN, OR AT LEAST AUSTRALIAN STAFFED, TOUR OPERATOR OUT OF ISTANBUL THAT HAS THE YEARS, EXPERIENCE AND POSITIVE RATING?
The people to talk to are Melbourne’s Boronia Travel Centre . They’re the official travel agent for the Australian War Memorial’s Battlefield Tours. Boronia has been arranging tours to Gallipoli for 19 years and they are heavily involved in the commemoration ceremonies that will take place this year, the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. According to John Waller, Boronia’s proprietor, they can tailor whatever kind of tour you want, but if you want the very best, he recommends a private, guided tour with your own vehicle and guide from Istanbul. Your guide will be Turkish, as they all are for private tours, and Boronia will guarantee a high quality experience with an expert who will give you an in-depth view of Australia’s role in the campaign. If you have a particular area of interest, or even a relative who fought at Gallipoli, your guide can focus on that aspect.
Travel time from Istanbul is five hours each way, so be prepared for a long day, with an early start. Cost for such a tour will be a little over double the price of a guided coach tour but feedback suggests that this will be money well spent.
This question and answer first appeared in The Tripologist column of Fairfax’s Traveller. Read more at www.traveller.com.au