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TRAVEL & LEISURE

The Best Things to Do This ANZAC Day in Melbourne

Where to rise for the dawn service, indulge in a spot of two-up and pay your respects.
By Jasmine Crittenden and Marissa Ciampi
April 23, 2019
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The Best Things to Do This ANZAC Day in Melbourne

Where to rise for the dawn service, indulge in a spot of two-up and pay your respects.
By Jasmine Crittenden and Marissa Ciampi
April 23, 2019
  shares

ANZAC Day in Australia is a time of reflection, two-up and copious amounts of Carlton. Whether you're inhaling ANZAC biscuits or learning the rules of the national sport for the first time, be mindful of the historic 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, which, at both the going down of the sun and in the morning, you will remember.cp-line

Mt Macedon

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 Dawn Service. Be at the Shrine of Remembrance in the Royal Botanic Gardens well before the 6am ceremony commencement. Organisers are expecting big crowds, as usual, and anticipate that the area will be well crowded by 5am. There's nothing like paying your respects as the bugle brings up the sun.

With thousands of people descending on the area, planning your trip in is important. Luckily, there'll be a heap of extra public transport services running. Additional metropolitan trains and trams on all city-bound routes will begin running from about 4am, and free shuttle buses will be heading in from select RSLs around the city. For all ANZAC Day transport information, head to the PTV website. Hungry after the service? The CBD's Mail Exchange Hotel will be cooking breakfast for Dawn Service-goers from 7am.

The state's second biggest Dawn Service is happening at Mt Macedon. Held under the 21-metre tall Memorial Cross at the mountain's summit, the service will kick off at 5.45am. While it's not accessible by private cars, a host of free buses will head up the hill — departing from a range of locations starting at 4.15am and returning after the service. For a complete list of services on the day, head here.

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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 8.30am sharp, the parade will begin at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets, travel down St Kilda Road and finish at the Shrine of Remembrance in the Royal Botanic Gardens. After the march, a commemorative service will be held on the Shrine Forecourt. After the parade, you can grab a breakfast burger or pizza — and a hot mug of coffee and rum — from the floating bar Arbory Afloat, which will be open from 7am.
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PLAY A NATIONAL SPORT: TWO-UP

Take advantage of one of the only days in the year when this national sport is legal and squeeze into one of many Melbourne pubs and RSLs 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 discounted brews.

The CBD's Mail Exchange Hotel will be cooking breakfast for Dawn Service-goers from 7am and hosting two-up from midday. Over in South Melbourne at The Palace Hotel, the games will begin at 11am apart from two -up, expect pie specials all day, The ANZAC Day clash on in every room and cold brews aplenty in the beer garden.

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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 won 14 matches, while Essendon sits on 9.

The game is, of course, sold out, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a pub in Melbourne that's not screening it. We suggest heading to the Garden State Hotel, where you can reserve a spot in front of the big screen on the venue's top floor, then grab a pint and some legit pub grub while you're at it.

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DRINK FREE POTS IN ST KILDA

The Grosvenor Hotel in St Kilda is commemorating ANZAC Day with free beer, but there's a catch — the beachside pub is only giving out free pots from the first siren until the first team scores in the ANZAC Day clash. If there's one situation where you don't want your team to score, it's this. Not many (if any?) quarters finish scoreless, so luckily there's more to the deal. The pub is serving up $10 pints all day.

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CATCH A GIG IN RICHMOND

If you're looking to kick on once the two-up and footy excitement dies down, head to Richmond where The Corner Hotel is hosting US rhythm and blues band Vintage Trouble. The group is making its grand return to Aussie shores for this year's Byron Bay Bluesfest, and lucky Melburnians will get to catch the act on a much loved local stage. All four band members will be in the house, including singer Ty Taylor, guitarist Nalle Colt, bassist Rick Barrio Dill and drummer Richard Danielson. Tickets will cost you $65 a pop, or big-time fans can purchase VIP tickets that include the pre-show soundcheck party and meet and great with the band.

Published on April 23, 2019 by Jasmine Crittenden

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