Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tour 2018-07-02T12:39:44+00:00

Tour 1:
Guadalcanal & HMAS Canberra Anniversary – 4-9 August 2018

On August 7, 1942, Allied forces landed on the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, the first step in a battle that was to become the turning point in the Pacific War. Now Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours is giving you the chance to walk in the footsteps of the marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought in this iconic Second World War campaign, and to commemorate the anniversary of the battle.

Our 6-day tour visits the key sites on Guadalcanal and its neighbouring islands, giving you the chance to explore famous battlefields such as Alligator Creek, Bloody Ridge, Henderson Airfield, the Gifu, Mt Austen, Tulagi, the Matanikau River and more. Guadalcanal offers more war sites and relics than any other island in the Pacific, and this tour promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. The highlight is the moving anniversary commemorations on August 7. Australians were also involved in the campaign, and we will visit sites that tell their story – including a memorial service for the HMAS Canberra on the anniversary of her sinking.

There is also the opportunity to extend your tour to include the Solomon Islands’ world-famous diving, fishing or just having a few relaxing days by the water. We have special discounted airfares available for this tour!


Day 1,   4 August   Arrive Honiara
Welcome to our exclusive anniversary tour! On arrival in Honiara you will be met by a Mat McLachlan Battlefield tours representative at the famous WWII Henderson Airfield and then be transferred to our central hotel. After check-in we will meet at the lobby of the hotel at approximately 5.00pm and we then begin our tour with a visit to the US Memorial on Hill 73, which offers panoramic views over the battlefield. This evening at 7.00pm we will enjoy a welcome dinner at in our hotel, an excellent opportunity to get to know our travelling companions and Historian better. (D)

Day 2,   5 August   Guadalcanal Battlefields
Today we will explore the key battlefields from the campaign in and around Honiara. We will begin by visiting the Japanese Memorial on Hill 34 and the Japanese stronghold known as the Gifu, on the slopes of Mount Austen, where relics from the fighting abound. In the afternoon we will visit Alligator Creek, scene of the first major battle on Guadalcanal, and the famous Bloody Ridge, where a small band of marines held off a strong Japanese attack in September 1942. (B)

Day 3,   6 August   Tulagi
Today we man the boats. We will travel across the twenty miles of Iron Bottom Sound to the island of Tulagi. At 7.40am on August 7, 1942, US marines made the first landing of the Guadalcanal campaign at Haleta on Florida Island. We will  re-enact what can be regarded as the first step taken by US forces on the long road Tokyo. The 1st Raiders and the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines then pressed on with their Tulagi landings at Blue Beach. Later in the campaign Tulagi was an important Patrol Boat base, and this is where John F. Kennedy was originally stationed in 1943. During our day on Tulagi we will see the site of the Resident    Commissioner’s house and the fiercely fought over cricket pitch. In the afternoon we will see the smaller nearby islands of Gavutu and Tanambogo, which were also attacked by the Marines on August 7. The Japanese fiercely resisted all these landings, and we will walk the ground where the Marines fought their way ashore. We will then travel on to Purvis Bay where we will see the wreck of the American landing ship LST-342, which broke in half after being hit by a Japanese torpedo in 1943. The floating front half was towed to Purvis Bay and beached. In nearby Tokyo Bay we will see the sunken wreck of the Japanese destroyer Kikutsuki. The Kikutsuki was used during the original Japanese landings on Tulagi on May 3, 1942 and was sunk the next day by planes from Admiral Fletcher’s carriers Yorktown and Lexington, in what can be regarded as the opening shots in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Late in the afternoon we will return across Iron Bottom Sound to Guadalcanal. (B)
*Subject to weather conditions

Day 4,   7 August  Guadalcanal Anniversary
Today is the anniversary of the Allied landings and a significant day of ceremonies. We will first attend a commemorative service at the US Memorial, built to honour the more than 7000 men who were killed capturing the island. In the afternoon we will drive east and visit Red Beach, where Allied troops first landed on Guadalcanal, plus the ‘amtrac graveyard’, where dozens of WWII amphibious tractors remain in the jungle. We will also see the amazing outdoor museum at Vilu, which features wrecks of aircraft, tanks and guns. (B)

Day 5,   8 August   Honiara
Today is free at leisure to take some optional touring, perhaps snorkel on the wreck of a Japanese transport ship that was sunk during the campaign, or take the opportunity to sample the shops and markets in downtown Honiara. The choice is yours! (B)

Day 6,   9 August   HMAS Canberra Anniversary & Departure
Today is the anniversary of the sinking of HMAS Canberra during the naval Battle of Savo Island. We will conduct a memorial service and lay a wreath in honour of the 193 Australian sailors killed or wounded during the battle. Early this afternoon we will be transferred to the airport for our flight back to Australia. (B)


  • Services of an expert Historian
  • Extensive touring of the battlefield sites at Guadalcanal
  • 5 nights’ 4-star accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • All excursions, scenic drives, and sightseeing as described in the itinerary
  • Full day tour to Tulagi including boat transfer
  • Anniversary commemorations at the US Memorial and HMAS Canberra Memorial
  • Welcome dinner at the hotel and breakfast daily
  • Services of a Tour Manager, Historian, Driver and experienced Local Guides
  • Travel by comfortable air-conditioned touring vehicle
  • Tips to your Tour Manager, Historian and Driver
  • Souvenir cap, document wallet and luggage tag
  • Airfares
  • Travel Insurance
  • Excess baggage
  • Passport or visa assistance
  • Drinks or meals unless specified
  • Medicines or personal items
  • Valid for 2018 Tour
  • Cancellation fees apply
  • $795 per person – land only
  • Flights – we can arrange from most cities
  • Pre or post accommodation
  • Travel insurance
  • Contact us with your request and we will send you a booking form
  • A non-refundable deposit of $1000 per person
  • Balance is due 90 days prior to departure
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