The Best Things to Do on ANZAC Day 2024 in Melbourne

Here's where to rise for the dawn service, indulge in a spot of two-up and pay your respects.
Concrete Playground
Published on April 22, 2024

ANZAC Day in Australia is a time of reflection, two-up and a few icy pints of Carlton Draught. Of course, whether you're raising a pint on your way home from a march or learning the rules of the national sport for the first time, you'll want to be mindful of the historical significance and commemorative nature of the day between schooners.

Here's our round-up of the best things to do in Melbourne this Thursday, April 25, as we pause to remember the fallen. Eating ANZAC biscuits isn't one of them, but we suggest you do that anyway.


Larry Koester

Wake Up for an ANZAC Day Dawn Service

Australians have been rising early since 1916 to commemorate both fallen and still-serving military personnel during the annual Dawn Service. And for 2024, the Shrine of Remembrance in the Royal Botanic Gardens will once again play host to its traditional early morning ceremony. It all kicks off at 5.30am with a Welcome to Country, followed by the ANZAC Day march leaving from Princes Bridge at 9am. After that, you can catch the commemorative service and wreath-laying held in the Shrine of Remembrance forecourt.

Of course, with thousands of people set to descend on the area to pay their respects, planning your trip in to the Dawn Service is important. Public transport services will be running to public holiday timetables — for any ANZAC Day transport information, head to the PTV website. Hungry after the service? The nearby The Kettle Black will be open and cooking brekkie from 7am, while Duke's Coffee Roasters in the CBD will be pumping out morning brews from 8am without adding on a weekend surcharge.

For a complete list of RSL club services on the day, head to the RSL website.


Head to an ANZAC Day March

Medals are shone and proudly donned as veterans, their descendants and serving personnel march through Melbourne's CBD for the annual ANZAC Day Parade. Commencing at 9am, the parade will begin at Princes Bridge, travel down St Kilda Road and finish at the Shrine of Remembrance in the Royal Botanic Gardens.


Play a National Sport: Two-Up

Take advantage of one of the only days in the year when the national sport of Two-Up is legal and squeeze into a Melbourne pub or RSL hosting this beloved ANZAC Day tradition. Convert those notes into gold coins, place your bets and watch those sacred two-up coins fall. We recommend hitting up one of more than 100 RSLs across the city — or one of the pubs below — for a spirited crowd and maybe a few discounted brews.

Abbotsford pub The Yarra Hotel kicks off its ANZAC Day comp from 1pm, and runs its sausage sizzle throughout the arvo to raise money for Legacy. And over in Armadale, The Orrong Hotel will be hosting two-up in its leafy courtyard from 1pm, while the kitchen serves up its usual lineup of modern pub fare.


Watch a National Sport

Apart from the grand final, the ANZAC Day clash between Essendon and Collingwood is the biggest — and busiest — game on the AFL calendar. Some background for the uninitiated (or just some facts to throw at your mates during the ad breaks): the first ANZAC Day clash happened back in 1995, and it ended in a draw with both teams on 111; Collingwood has since won 16 matches, while Essendon sits on ten.

Even if you don't fancy venturing to the MCG, you'll be hard-pressed to find a pub in Melbourne that's not screening the game. We suggest heading to the Imperial Hotel, where you can reserve a spot in front of one of the 20+ big screens and enjoy some legit pub grub while you're at it. Fellow CBD spots like the newly revamped Duke of Wellington and Garden State Hotel also have some quality dining options for the footy-watching crowd. Or, head Northside to Hotel Collingwood, which is screening the clash live and loud on all screens, and has a very solid beer tap list to match.


Tuck Into a Limited-Edition ANZAC Day Pastry

If you like flaky pastries, the folks at Lune Croissanterie have probably already won over your tastebuds. There's a great reason for that — their regular wares are next-tier, and its special one-offs are even better.

For the month of April, Lune has whipped up something particularly enticing in the second category: ANZAKAs, aka sweet and salty caramelised kouign-amann made with a classic ANZAC biscuit dough inside, then tossed in brown sugar. It's available in store at the brand's Fitzroy and Armadale outposts.

Stokehouse has also cooked up a limited-edition lamington made with hokey pokey mousse, raspberry sorbet and coconut just for ANZAC Day. Head to the seaside spot to score one of these decadent sweet treats for $25 a pop.


Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet - on one of the best one-day hikes near Melbourne

Cameron Murray Photography for Visit Victoria

Enjoy a Much-Deserved Nature Fix

Public holidays don't come around every week — and if you'd like to spend this one making the most of the great outdoors, Melbourne certainly isn't short on options. Soak up some nature while stretching your legs on one of these picturesque walking trails in metro Melbourne or hit up one of the best coastal walks in Victoria. Or escape the city buzz altogether, pack some gear and tackle one of these top-notch overnight hikes found across Victoria.

Published on April 22, 2024 by Concrete Playground
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