Sydneysider Phil Hora bid goodbye to the city’s Northern Beaches to start a new life in France with his wife and daughter a decade ago. His adopted home is the old town of Arras, the most beautiful town in the Hauts-de-France region, and once the heart and centre of the Western Front.
Once there, Hora set about creating uniquely Australian battlefield tours for those keen to learn more about Australia’s contribution in France and Belgium during WWI.
Today, Sacred Ground Tours caters for singles, couples, families and small groups, some there to see where their relatives fought or died a century ago. Others come to experience where history happened and pay their respects.
To truly appreciate and understand the defining moments of Australia’s wartime history, it is best to experience the Western Front with a guide and, if possible, an Australian one.
“Our aim is to leave clients a little educated, moved and proud of Australia’s achievements on the Western Front,” Hora says.
“Our tours travel at a leisurely pace and small groups allow time to visit a special grave or to follow a relative’s footsteps, walk the fields where they fought,” he says.
Sacred Ground Tours offer three uniquely Australian day trips. These can be booked individually or combined for a two or three-day visit. The 3-Day Australian Tour covers all of Australia’s major action across the Western Front. Arras is only a quick 50-minute ride north of Paris, and pick-up/drop-off for the day tours is at your accommodation in town or at the train station.
Hora says Arras is full of charm and history and all who visit enjoy their stay. “We can recommend accommodation, hotels or guest houses our clients have happily stayed at,” he says. The 2-Day and 3-Day Australian Tour starts in Arras every Monday and Thursday. Travellers who have taken Sacred Ground Tours have been full of praise for Hora’s passion, knowledge and humanity.