Anzac Day commemorates the anniversary of the arrival of Australian and New Zealand soldiers on Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. This year, it will take place on Tuesday April 25. And if you’re wondering what to do in Melbourne on Anzac Day, don’t worry. From memorial services to age-old traditions like two-up, there’s lots of ways to stay busy on the public holiday.
1. Wake up early for the Dawn Service
Head to the Shrine of Remembrance and commemorate the Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women at the Dawn Service. This traditional event starts from 5:30am.
Veterans, war widows, Australian Defence Force members, Scouts and Guides, and school students can access free public transport on the day. There will also be extra trains and trams, as well as shuttle buses, to help you get around Melbourne on Anzac Day. Find out more here.
2. Watch the Anzac Day March
After the Dawn Service, stick around and watch the Anzac Day March in Melbourne. It will start at 9am on Princes Bridge, and continue down St Kilda Road towards the Shrine of Remembrance. After that, there will be a Commemoration Service, followed by the laying of wreaths.
If you can’t make it in person, the Shrine of Remembrance will live stream everything from the Dawn Service onwards on their Facebook and YouTube page. Learn more here.
3. Get brekky
After the Dawn Service and the march, you might be feeling a little hungry. Pop into a nearby café or restaurant for your breakfast or brunch needs. Places like Brick Lane Melbourne, Young & Jackson, Stalactites, Campos Coffee, Arbory, HER, Lune and more will be open in the morning. Do check individual websites for opening hours.
4. Explore exhibitions at the Shrine of Remembrance
Journey around the Shrine discover a range of permanent and special exhibitions. Learn the history and stories of LGBTQ+ people in service at Defending with Pride. Discover the history of First Peoples’ service in the Australian Defence Force at For Kin and Country. And find out about entertainers on the front line in Tour de Force. Learn more here.
5. Play a round of two-up
Two-up is a game that is illegal to play in Australia except on one specific day — Anzac Day. You’ll often find this game played at pubs and RSL clubs.
The iconic Young & Jackson on Swanston Street, for example, will be playing games of two-up from 10am.
Armadale’s Orrong Hotel will host its annual Two-Up tournament in the courtyard. It’ll kick off from 1pm. While you’re there, enjoy a beer and classic pub fare, with happy hour from 2:30pm until 6pm.
6. Watch an Anzac Day Clash
Collingwood and Essendon will reprise their roles in the traditional Anzac Day clash at the MCG. See them play at 3:20pm, either at home, at the G, or in your local pub. The pre-game ceremonies, which includes a recognition of veterans, a flag ceremony and the playing of the ‘Last Post’, will likely start around 2:40pm.
Meanwhile, the NRL is also getting in on the action, with Melbourne Storm taking on the New Zealand Warriors at AAMI Park. This should be a good one with both Australia and New Zealand represented. The game starts at 7pm.
7. Feast on lamb at Botswana Butchery
Looking for a special lunch on Anzac Day? Why don’t you head over to Botswana Butchery on Flinders Lane and try their Anzac menu? They’re putting up a bit of friendly competition between Australia and New Zealand by comparing their lamb. Try New Zealand Lumina slow-roasted lamb shoulder, Australian Roaring Forties slow-roasted lamb shoulder, citrus salad and duck fat potatoes, alongside paired wines.
This experience is suitable for groups of four or more, and costs $110 per person. It’s available from April 17 to April 25. Learn more here.
8. Treat yourself to yum cha at Hawker Hall
This venue in Windsor is serving up yum cha from April 22 to 25. Treat yourself to steamed and fried favourites, like spring rolls, dumplings, BBQ pork buns, spring onion pancakes and more. This lunch at Hawker Hall is available from 12pm to 4pm, and bookings are highly recommended. It costs $45 per person. More info here.
9. Whisk yourself away to Sorrento
Heading out of Melbourne on Anzac Day? Why don’t you pop in to The Atrium at The Continental Sorrento? They’ll open to the public for breakfast, so you can head over straight after the 6am Dawn Service at Sorrento War Memorial. They will serve a wattleseed damper with your meal instead of sourdough. Sausages in the ‘Pretty Familiar’ dish will be made from wallaby and saltbush. After breakfast, the day will flow naturally to the Anzac Day footy match, with live entertainment after the game.