Destinations

5 of the best ANZAC day dawn services

Honour our diggers on April 25 at these special events around Australia.

As we rise at dawn to remember the men, women and children that gave their lives to the service of Australia this ANZAC Day, Woman's Day have found the best dawn services around Australia.

1) The Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

WHY IT'S SPECIAL

Marking April 25 in the Australian capital is an experience we should all have at least once.

DETAILS

At 4.30am, excerpts from letters and diaries of Australian servicemen and women are read aloud. The dawn service commences at 5.30am. At 6.30am there's an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ceremony. Visitors can book a breakfast inside the Memorial's Anzac Hall. The National Ceremony, including the Commemorative Address and marches, should not be missed.

2) The Great Ocean Road, Torquay-Allansford, Victoria

WHY IT'S SPECIAL

You might not know it, but Victoria's Great Ocean Road is the biggest permanent war memorial in the world and was built to honour those who lost their lives during WWI. It was constructed by returning servicemen and took 14 years to complete.

DETAILS

Visitors can pay their respects on Anzac Day at a number of services along the route, including the 6am Torquay ceremony at Point Danger, which is followed by a "gunfire breakfast" – bacon, eggs etc. The memorial arch at Aireys Inlet is worth visiting, too.

3) Townsville, Qld, Anzac Park Cenotaph

WHY IT'S SPECIAL

Townsville is home to our largest defence base, Lavarack Barracks, an important post during WWII.

DETAILS

The Townsville City dawn service begins at 5.30am in Anzac Park and is followed by a "gunfire breakfast" at the Townsville RSL. The parade through the Strand is especially rousing given the many military personnel stationed in the region. To explore Townsville's military background, visit the Army Museum of North Queensland or book a walking tour head to tourtownsville.com.au.

Desert Mounted Corps Memorial, Albany, WA

WHY IT'S SPECIAL

It was the departure point for the first troops heading to WWI, and is one of Australia's National Memorials.

DETAILS

In addition to the 5.30am dawn service, visitors can pay their respects at the National Anzac Centre. Get there the night before for the Convoy Campout, on April 24. Campfires, live performances and WWI-themed movie screenings are included.

The Cenotaph, Sydney, NSW

WHY IT'S SPECIAL

Sydney's bustling CBD transforms on this day and has done since 1928. Thousands of people attend.

DETAILS

The ceremony starts at the Martin Place Cenotaph at 4.30am – to coincide with the time troops landed at Gallipoli. Of course there's the Ode of Remembrance, the Last Post, a minute's silence, the Reveille and laying of wreaths. The march starts at 9am and runs till 12 – when pubs fill with punters keen to play two-up. Extra buses and trains are scheduled so check out transportnsw.info to plan your day.

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