If you were raised on Vegemite, sunshine and Neighbours (or Marmite, ski slopes and Neighbours) you grew up with the ANZAC legacy being a strong part of your identity. Since before you can remember you were probably bundled into your warmest clothes and awoken at 4am on April 25th to make your way to the Dawn Service, or have at least waved to veterans from the crowd at one ANZAC Day parade.


The idea of visiting Gallipoli itself to honour the ANZACs, along with all of Australia, New Zealand and Turkey’s fallen soldiers and veterans, is one that has become increasingly popular over recent years – and it is something every Australian and New Zealander should experience at least once.


If the fact that your passport has a kangaroo or silver ferns on it is not enough to convince you, we’ve come up with five reasons you should reconsider.



  1. Begin to understand the impossibility of the mission


Bearing in mind that a visit to Gallipoli does not quite have the same effect on you as a trip to Disneyland, an important part of the sombre experience is to attempt to imagine the tragic events that occurred there. You have heard the stories, seen the movie and created numerous posters in primary school depicting the events, but this second-hand experience cannot compare to standing on the pebbly shore looking up at the steep cliffs beyond the short yet exposed plateau at the base of the bluffs.


At that point you can begin to try and imagine what it must have been like to arrive in a land so far from home, and be faced with an extremely daunting, deadly task.



  1. Remind yourself there are two sides to the story


The Battle of Gallipoli was not a one-sided event in which only Australians and New Zealanders lost their lives. Near 9,000 Australian casualties and almost 3,000 from New Zealand are undeniably significant numbers, but Turkey also suffered horrendously with casualty numbers upwards of 55,000 and over 100,000 injured.


These are sombre facts, but today Gallipoli is a reminder that despite our past differences each of these soldiers was a person with a family who undoubtedly mourned their passing. Just near ANZAC Cove, a memorial stands on a grassy bank overlooking what is now a sparkling, calm blue sea, with an inscription that shows the legacy of this battle extends far beyond the southern hemisphere.


  1. It’s just the bucket-list vibe of the thing


A visit to Gallipoli is almost a kind of Aussie and Kiwi pilgrimage. There are few events more steeped in antipodean culture than the Battle of Gallipoli, and if you are a traveller then leaving this one off your to-go list is as much of a crime as pretending fairy bread is just sprinkles on cheap bread or thinking Foster’s really is Australian for beer.



  1. It’s in Turkey: home of bazars, Istanbul, and Börek


Taking a couple of days off work to pop over to Turkey is not a very realistic idea, so you will probably want to combine your visit to Gallipoli with at least some further exploration of the incredible country in which ANZAC Cove is found. There are so many things to see, eat and do in Turkey, from hot balloon rides over the Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia to tasting the freshly-cooked fish sandwiches served off boats rocking on the Bosphorus in Istanbul.


  1. It fits perfectly in a European itinerary


A visit to Turkey can be combined with any number of options for travelling around Europe – whether you only get to know Turkey itself or make it one stop among a full schedule of country hopping. Add to that the fact that April falls in Europe’s spring and you have an already half-planned trip during one of the best times of year across the continent.


Ready to jump on a plane to Gallipoli? Take a look at the tours that go there here

Author’s Bio: Courtney Gahan is a serial expat, traveller and freelance writer who has bartered with Moroccan marketeers, seen the sun rise at Angkor Wat and elbowed her way through crowds on NYE in NYC.