This tour is organised by the Israel Travel Centre (Sydney). Unlock the Past will have a dedicated group within a larger tour offering a number of value-added benefits. If we get 30 or more will have our own dedicated tour bus and guide. If less we will still travel together, but on a bus shared with others.

This tour is also marketed in Australia as a centenary war commemorative tour. It is timed around the special commemorations marking the centenary of the Light Horse Charge of Beersheba on the last full day of the tour, 31 October 2017. This event has special significance to many Australians, the reason some in our group are on the tour. But it will be a highlight to all, including those in group who are doing the tour as a general Holy Land tour (which it is as well) and conference.

Click on the map image at the right for a larger map.


DAY 1 | day of arrival


Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport where you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel.

Enjoy a relaxed walking tour telling stories of the ANZACS and the three battles that took place in and around Tel Aviv and Jaffa.

The evening is free to explore options for dinner at the many great restaurants and cafes in this buzzing city.

Overnight:  Tel Aviv (check in at 2.00pm) (B)

DAY 2 | spies and wine


Travel north to explore the ancient port city of Caesarea built by Herod the Great.

Stop for a coffee break at Jaser Al Zarka – The Blue Bridge built over the Crocodile River by the Germans and Turks in honour of Kaiser Wilhelm’s visit to the Holy Land.

Visit Aaronson House at Zikron Yaacov, a former private home that is now a museum about NILI, a Jewish spy ring that supplied intelligence to British military leaders against the Ottoman Turks.

Lunch in the historic quarter of the city and enjoy wine tasting this afternoon at the Carmel Winery & Culture and a visit to a barrel room in one of Baron Rothschild’s underground cellars.

Overnight: Unique kibbutz hotel for country style hospitality in the Galilee (B,D)

DAY 3 | Golan Heights Off-Road & Brewery Visit


Start the day with a tour of Kibbutz Degania – the world’s first Kibbutz and hear the story of the Pioneers who came in 1910 and decided to build something different – a Kibbutz.

Visit the relatively unknown Turkish Pilots Memorial in the fields of Kibbutz Haon, the Railway Station at Semakh and the Light Horse Memorial on the Sea of Galilee waterfront and hear the story of the Battle of Semakh.

Experience a jeep tour of the Golan Heights with a view of the Syrian Israeli border and an explanation of the Sykes Picot agreement that still holds in the area today!

Enjoy a tour of the brewery making beer from the fresh waters at the source of the Jordan River.

Overnight:  Galilee Kibbutz (B,D)

DAY 4 | From Nazareth to the Jordan Valley


Visit the magnificent Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. Stop by the German WWI Military Cemetery with wooden crosses made from the propellers of crashed airplanes.

Enjoy a visit to Nazareth village (Option for Biblical lunch). Explore the Crusader Castle of Belvoir where we hear the stories of the Crusaders and Saladin’s inability to take the Castle by force.

Travel along the fertile Jordan Valley stopping by the Bridge built by General Allenby. Visit the site of the original Baptism on the Jordan River at Qaser El Yehud.

Overnight: Jerusalem (B)

DAY 5 | Jerusalem New City


Drive by the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament and visit the Shrine of the Book to see the original Dead Sea Scrolls. See the model of Jerusalem as it was during the time of King Herod.

Experience a moving visit to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.  And later stop at the Trappist Monastery at Latrun and then tour the Latrun Tank Museum, the biggest of its kind in the world.

Overnight: Jerusalem (B)

DAY 6 | Ancient Jerusalem


Visit the Jerusalem Commonwealth Cemetery on French Hill and named after Allenby’s good friend General French who was killed in the Battle for Jerusalem.

Continue on for a rooftops tour of the Old City. Walk the Via Dolorosa and stop at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Place a note at the Western Wall and visit the Jewish Quarter.

Stroll the oriental markets of the Arab Quarter. Walk along the walls from Jaffa Gate to Mt. Zion. Visit the Dormition Abbey and the Room of the Last Supper.

Enjoy a special guided tour of the fascinating Christ Church Heritage Centre at Jaffa Gate – the oldest Anglican Church in the Middle East.

Overnight: Jerusalem (B)

DAY 7 | Floating in the Dead Sea


Drive to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth.

Enjoy at nature walk at Ein Gedi, and hike to the water falls. Visit the mountain fortress of Masada built by Herod the Great and the last stronghold of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans.

Enjoy a float this afternoon in the salty waters of the Dead Sea, and the mud which is well known for its curative effects.

Overnight:  Dead Sea/Beersheba (B,D)

DAY 8 | Following the Path of the ANZACS


Today we closely follow the path of the ANZACs leading up to the attack on Beersheba. Travel along the Besor River. Cross the Hanging Bridge to the Besor Dam built by the ANZACS.

Stop by the restored Turkish “Patish” Ruins and hear the story of Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen’s “Haversack Ruse”, where he deliberately left false clues of a major attack coming from Gaza instead of Beersheba.

Continue to the Hatzerim Air Force Museum, where you will find a huge collection of airplanes and helicopters, all previously standard equipment of the Israel Air Force. Hear the story of this brave fighting force.

Finish the day at Abraham’s Well and Visitors’ Center – situated on the banks of the biblical Beer-Sheva River, at the gates of the Old City. Discover the innovative heritage site dedicated to showcasing the life of the Patriarch Abraham.

Overnight: Desert cabin accommodation OR Beersheba / Arad hotel (B,D)

DAY 9 | Battle of Beersheba Commemoration


Enjoy a special day in Beersheba commemorating the centenary of the achievements of the Australian soldiers in World War I.

The day will begin with an exciting parade through the streets of the city. We then continue to one of the key highlights of the tour – the moving ceremony hosted by the Australian Ambassador and various dignitaries at the Beersheba Commonwealth Cemetery** – expected to be packed with people who have come to give their respects to the fallen. There will be speeches, prayers and a solemn service.

Join in the opening ceremony of the new ANZAC Museum in Beersheba which will be dedicated to the history of the Battle of Beersheba, and built by the Beersheba Municipality in cooperation with the Australian Government, the Australian Embassy in Israel and the Pratt Foundation. The museum is expected to be completed and officially inaugurated on 31 October 2017.

Visit Tel Sheva for an overview of the main battlefield sites in the area. A special ceremony will be hosted by the New Zealand Embassy here specifically commemorating their unique contribution to the taking of Beersheba at Tel Sheva.**

Witness the exciting re-enactment of the Charge by the Australian Light Horse Association and the WW1 Heritage Society. A large contingent in full World War One battle attire and pageantry plan to re-enact the ride in 2017, the 100th anniversary of the great charge.

Late in the afternoon the commemorative closing Australian event with dignitaries and VIP’s will take place at the Park of the Australian Soldier** (limited numbers). The Park was established by the Pratt Foundation in 2008.**

At the end of the day, we enjoy a festive farewell dinner at an authentic Middle Eastern Restaurant in Jaffs or Abu Ghosh.

Overnight:  Tel Aviv:  (B,D)

** These are ticketed events with limited capacity. Attendance requires pre-registration, which is being coordinated by the Israel Travel Centre of behalf of registered tour participants. Passes are allocated on a first-serve basis. Book soon to avoid disappointment.

UPDATED ADVICE 15 March – tickets to the events will be provided to all who book the tour at this stage. Although some in our group won’t have family connections to the war in Palestine 100 years ago the activities and places visited during the day should be an interesting and educational bonus to the tour. There is no compulsion to attend the ceremonies, but with thousands of visitors and numerous other tour groups we need to keep together or in reasonable proximity.

DAY 10 | Day of Departure


Transfer to Tel Aviv Airport for departure on your onward flight – if not staying for the conference or if continuing with private travel in Israel.

The genealogy conference starts at 9am for those booked for this – see conference page for details.


GEnealogy Conference – DAY 1


Go to conference page for details

Genealogy Conference – DAY 2


Go to conference page for details

Additional Information

•      Airport meeting assist upon arrival
•      Airport transfers
•      9 nights’  twin share accommodation in 4 star hotels
•      Breakfast daily on tour
•      Four hotel dinners
•      Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on BB basis
•      One festive farewell restaurant dinner
•      8 days touring with licensed English-speaking guide
•      Modern motor coach for all touring
•      All entrance fees as per the itinerary
•      Travellers gift packs (bags, hats, maps)

•     Dead Sea: Leonardo / David Dead Sea
•     Desert Huts: Sfinat Hamidbar / Camel Land / Kfar Hanokdim
•     Galilee: Kibbutz Maagan / Ginnosar / Deganya
•     Jerusalem: Olive Tree / Prima Royale / Prima Kings / Harmony / Arthur
•     Tel Aviv: Metropolitan – superior rooms / Mercure / Center / Cinema