12 of Australia’s most scenic ANZAC Day services

RSL Queensland 18 March 2024
  • ANZACspirit
  • History & commemoration

Discover some of Australia’s most remarkable spots to commemorate ANZAC Day.

Each year, thousands of ANZAC Day services take place across Australia. And every one of them is special in its own way – from the first glow of light at a Dawn Service, to the reflective stillness that bonds whole communities, to the haunting notes of a lone bugle heralding our fallen soldiers. 

However, the setting of some ANZAC Day ceremonies – from sweeping beaches to lofty summits – makes them all the more powerful, and worth paying a special visit. 

Whether you’re travelling or staying close to home on 25 April, here’s a few of Australia’s most remarkable spots to commemorate ANZAC Day. 


Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Australian War Memorial courtyard

The Australian War Memorial in Canberra is worth visiting any day, but even more so on ANZAC Day.  

Every ANZAC Day, the memorial hosts a Dawn Service, the RSL ACT Branch Veterans’ March, and the Last Post Ceremony – a moving service that occurs every afternoon in the stately, symbolically rich Commemorative Courtyard. 

Tickets aren’t required to attend the Dawn Service or Veterans' March. However, guidelines apply and you need to register to march

Tickets are required to enter the Memorial Galleries and attend the Last Post Ceremony. Advance bookings are recommended. 

More info: awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac-day.  


ANZAC Day Dawn Climb, Sydney Harbour Bridge 

Bugler ANZAC Day Sydney Harbour Bridge

Image credit: RSL New South Wales

One of the most unique and spectacular places to commemorate ANZAC Day is on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

Each year, RSL NSW charity partner RSL LifeCare hosts the ANZAC Day Dawn Climb – an intimate Dawn Service at the bridge summit featuring breathtaking city and harbour views, and a bugler performing the Last Post.  

Admission is limited, and a portion of each ticket helps RSL LifeCare Veteran Services support veterans and their families. 

More info: rslnsw.org.au/news/harbour-bridge-dawn-climbers-share-their-anzac-day-experience

Terrigal Beach, Central Coast

Terrigal Beach Memorial ANZAC Day

Image credit: Terrigal Wamberal RSL Sub Branch 

Terrigal Wamberal sub-Branch starts its ANZAC Day march at 5:15am, finishing at the Terrigal Foreshore War Memorial where the Dawn Service commences at 5:30am.  

Thousands line Terrigal Beach and foreshore for this solemn ceremony, which concludes with a beach landing of surfboats and an Iroquois helicopter flyover as the sun rises across the water.  

More info: twrslsb.org.au.  

Northern Territory  

Darwin Cenotaph, Darwin

Darwin Cenotaph Defence Images

Image credit: Defence Images

Set amidst leafy parkland overlooking the harbour, Darwin Cenotaph is one of Australia’s most picturesque – and poignant – places to mark ANZAC Day.  

It was from here that the Northern Territory’s service men departed during World War I, and it was here that the bombing of Darwin took place on 19 February 1942, claiming 252 lives (Australian War Memorial, 2024). 

The monument has withstood 63 Japanese air attacks, earth tremors and two major cyclones. Twice relocated, it now stands where the guns of the 14th Anti-Aircraft Battery fired what were possibly the first ever shots in defence of Australian soil. 

More info: rsldarwin.org.au


Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast 

Elephant Rock Currumbin ANZAC Day

Image credit: Currumbin RSL  

ANZAC Day at Elephant Rock on Currumbin Beach is as spectacular as it is unforgettable.  

With the sun rising over the sea and stunning lighting displays illuminating the rock, the Dawn Service here draws thousands from across the Gold Coast and beyond. 

Registrations are essential for seating in the ceremonial area (open to veterans, Sub Branch members and current serving personnel). 

After the Dawn Service and gunfire breakfast, a more intimate service takes place mid-morning at Currumbin RSL Sub Branch’s Cenotaph.   

More info: currumbinpalmbeachrslsubbranch.org.au/commemoration.   

Evelyn Scrub War Memorial, Atherton Tablelands 

Evelyn Scrub War Memorial Atherton Tablelands

Image credit: Sally Gray  

Behind a set of cattle yards, in a beautiful glade of gumtrees, a lone Cenotaph plays host to the Evelyn Sunrise Service. 

Known as Evelyn Scrub War Memorial, the Cenotaph is the sole reminder of the farming community that existed there prior to WWI. Sadly, more than 70% of the local men who enlisted were killed or wounded in the war. As a result, the community faded out of existence, leaving just the Cenotaph as a reminder of the past.  

The Cenotaph stood abandoned until the early 1970s. Since then, Herberton and Ravenshoe RSL Sub Branches have jointly maintained the site and, each ANZAC Day, run the Evelyn Sunrise Service.  

The 6:30am service attracts large numbers and is recognised as one of the Atherton Tablelands’ most iconic ANZAC Day ceremonies. Assembly time is 6-6:30am.  

The mountain air can be chilly and prone to mist, so warm, rain-resistant clothes are advised. 

More info: Herberton RSL Sub Branch / 0477 153 781. 


Cross of Sacrifice, North Adelaide 

Cross of Sacrifice North Adelaide ANZAC Day

Image credit: RSL South Australia 

Located in Pennington Gardens, the Cross of Sacrifice forms the heart of one of Adelaide’s loveliest ANZAC Day ceremonies. 

This historic memorial – modelled after the cross found in many Commonwealth war cemeteries – overlooks a beautiful network of paths, hedges and flower beds that also resembles a cross from above. 

When the ANZAC Day march finishes (usually around late morning), the Cross of Sacrifice service begins, filling the lush lawns with visitors wishing to pay their respects. 

Please note that there is no nearby parking. The gardens are grassed, and chairs are provided for those needing to sit.

More info: rslsa.org.au/anzac-day. 


Hobart Cenotaph

Hobart Cenotaph Defence Images

Image Credit: Defence Images

The oldest of all state war memorials in Australia, Hobart Cenotaph has gracefully overlooked Hobart city and the Derwent River since 1925. 

ANZAC Day commemorations were first held at the Cenotaph during its construction in 1925. During the ceremony, a solid zinc casket bearing the names of the 522 Tasmanians killed in WWI was set in the monument’s base. 

The Cenotaph originally commemorated Tasmanians who served in WWI, but has had subsequent additions to acknowledge all conflicts in which Tasmanian soldiers have served. 

Seating is available but fills up fast, so it’s best to arrive early. 

More info: Contact RSL Tasmania via admin@rsltas.org.au or (03) 6242 8900 during business hours. 

Kingston Beach War Memorial

Kingston Beach War Memorial Tasmania

Image credit: RSL Tasmania 

Unveiled in 2023, Kingston Beach War Memorial sits right beside the beach, looking out to sea towards the rising sun. It serves as a reminder to the many people who walk along the Esplanade of the service and sacrifice of members of the Kingborough community in times of peace and war.  

Kingston Beach War Memorial replaces the older, less accessible Kingston War Memorial, which was located further away from the shore. 

More info: Email kbrslsubbranch@bigpond.com or call RSL Tasmania on (03) 6242 8900 during business hours. 


Mt Macedon Memorial Cross 

Mt Macedon Memorial Cross

Image credit: RSL Victoria 

Each ANZAC Day, a Dawn Service takes place at the Mt Macedon Memorial Cross, considered one of Victoria’s most significant war memorials.  

Located at the summit of Mt Macedon – which features picnic and barbecue areas and bushwalking trails – the cross stands 21m high and commemorates all who served in global conflicts.  

It’s reached via a short, sealed path with lookouts offering spectacular views towards Melbourne.  

More info: visitmacedonranges.com/tourism-listing/mt-macedon-memorial-cross.  

Cowes War Memorial, Phillip Island

Cowes War Memorial Phillip Island

Image credit: RSL Victoria

Cowes War Memorial (also known as ANZAC War Memorial) on Phillip Island hosts a stunning Dawn Service each year, with visitors treated to a magnificent sunrise over the sea. 

Overlooking the ocean, the memorial was erected in 1920 to commemorate local men who died or were killed while serving in WWI. According to Brigadier General Charles Brand, who unveiled the memorial, 39 out of Phillip Island’s population of 450 left with the Australian Imperial Force. Thirteen died, and their names are inscribed on the granite memorial column.  

New inscription plaques have since been added to the monument to commemorate other conflicts. 

More info: rslvic.com.au.  


WA State War Memorial, Perth

Western Australia State War Memorial

Image credit: RSL Western Australia 

Located at the top of Kings Park, Western Australia’s State War Memorial precinct is beautifully backdropped by the city of Perth, its rivers and the Darling Range beyond.  

The memorial precinct consists of five main elements – the Cenotaph, Court of Contemplation, Flame of Remembrance, Pool of Reflection and ANZAC Bluff Commemorative Plaque – that collectively honour fallen service personnel and the conflicts in which they served.  

Each ANZAC Day, more than 40,000 people gather here to attend the Dawn Service and watch the sun rise behind the Cenotaph.  

The precinct also hosted Perth’s first inclusive sunset service on the eve of ANZAC Day 2023, providing extra accessibility measures including audio description, wheelchair access, Auslan, low sensory facilities, and ACROD parking. 

More info: rslwa.org.au/events/anzac-day


Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you go to commemorate ANZAC Day – as long as our service men and women are close to your thoughts. 

Attend an RSL Sub Branch service, take a quiet moment to reflect at home or donate to the ANZAC Appeal, and help keep the ANZACs’ legacy alive.  


Plan Your ANZAC Day