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.
April 21, 2022
ANZAC Day in Australia is a time of reflection, two-up and a few icy pints of Carlton Draught. 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 Monday, April 25, which, at both the going down of the sun and in the morning, you will remember.
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. And in 2022, after a couple of years of COVID-19 disruptions, 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 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 CBD's Young & Jackson will open its doors from 6.30am and the Duke of Wellington will be cooking up breakfast from 8am.
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.
After the restrictions of the past two years, organisers are encouraging as many veterans as possible to come along — but for those who can't make it, the march is also being live-streamed over on RSL Victoria's Facebook page.
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.
Young & Jackson will be hosting two-up from 10am, while fellow CBD pub the Mail Exchange kicks off its ANZAC Day comp from 12pm. And over in Armadale, the newly revamped Orrong Hotel will be hosting two-up in its leafy courtyard from 1pm, while the kitchen serves up its usual lineup of contemporary pub grub.
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 15 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 — as well as the Hawks v Swans game that's happening earlier that day. We suggest heading to the Imperial Hotel, where you can reserve a spot in front of a big screen and enjoy some legit pub grub while you're at it. South Wharf's Common Man has a whole range of seating options, and food and drink packages for those wanting to make a day of it. Or, head Northside to Hotel Collingwood, which is screening the clashes 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 ANZAC Day, Lune has whipped up something particularly enticing in the second category: ANZAK KAs, aka sweet and salty caramelised kouign-amann made with a classic ANZAC biscuit dough inside, then tossed in brown sugar. It's only available in store from Friday, April 22–Monday, April 25 — and yes, getting in quickly is obviously recommended.
ENJOY A MUCH-DESERVED NATURE FIX
Public holidays don't come around every weekend — 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 escape the city buzz altogether, pack some gear and tackle one of these top-notch overnight hikes found across Victoria.
And if you'd like to make a weekend of it without committing to too much physical exertion, check out these free camping spots located near Melbourne.