Nothing says adventure like a road trip, especially when it’s just you and the open road. But if your dream is to drive Route 66 – the most famous highway in the USA – you weren’t the first and you sure as hell won’t be the last set of wheels to touch the tarmac.
Bypass the tourist traffic, stay off the sealed roads and stick the pedal to the metal on these stunning scenic routes:
Perth >>> Broome
My odometer has racked up a fair few miles over the past year in Australia. I’ve driven the Great Ocean Road, circuited Tasmania, travelled up the East Coast and ventured into the outback but these wheels are still rolling and the West Coast has me revved up for another road trip. Highlights include rock-pools and rainbow gorges in the Karijini National Park, sunset camel rides along the sand in Broome, dolphins at Monkey Mia and whale sharks along the Ningaloo Reef.
Grossglockner High Alpine Road: Fusch an der Glocknerstrasse >>> Heiligenblut
36 bends, 48 kilometres and a 2504 metre elevation make for a wide-eyed drive: just try and keep your eyes on the road! The highest surfaced mountain pass in Austria winds through the largest national park. Ramble through green meadows, ogle snow-capped summits, walk on glaciers and wow over waterfalls – all whilst keeping your eyes pealed for the illusive ibex. Complete your road trip with a photo in front of the 3798 metre high Grossglockner Mountain…and a compulsory yodelayheehoo!
Route 62: Cape Town >>> Oudtshoorn
Route 62 shares the starting point of South Africa’s Garden Route without sharing the fame. Take the inland alternative to see double the adventure and half the traffic. Foray into the ‘real South Africa’ for game reserves, mountains, rural towns, wildlife ranches and quaint farm stalls. Highlights include hot springs at Montague, ostrich riding in Oudtshoorn, caves dripping with stalactites in Cango and one of the longest wine routes in the world. Got time to spare? Why not loop back to Cape Town by driving the Garden Route in reverse.
Gothenburg >>> Stockholm
Sweden’s two largest cities, Stockholm and Gothenburg, both attract their fair share of foreign interest but what about everything in-between? The hinterland separating the capital of the East Coast from the capital of the West is Scandinavian scenery at its most stunning. Begin by heading North to lunch on caviar in Lysekil before traversing inland to two of Sweden’s 97,000 lakes. Catch an opera in the courtyard of a fairy-tale castle on the Vättern before crossing the Vänern to cycle around Visingsö Island. Meet the sea again in Källvik on the Baltic coast before straight sailing up to the nation’s hipster hangout, Stockholm.
Ruta 40: Cabo Vírgenes >>> Ciénaga
From the Southern tip to the Bolivian border, this epic road trip spans the entire length of Argentina – covering 5224km, crossing 11 provinces and passing by 20 national parks. There’s no shortcut and even straight shooting and serious speeding couldn’t impact the immensity of this expedition.
But take you time and the miles will fly. Six weeks is long enough to enjoy the diversions and detours but really, the longer the better. Highlights include salt flats, great lakes, cactus dotted deserts, mighty mountains, ski slopes and an abundance of juicy steak and full-bodied wine. Buen provecho!
Route 1: Reykjavik >>> Reykjavik
The closest thing to the moon landing you can experience on earth. Explore some of the most desolate and uninhabitable territory on the planet with a lap of this isolated isle. With looks that could (and would) kill, this ring road circuits Iceland’s diverse and unspoilt wilderness – dive tectonic rifts, walk glaciers, bubble away in natural hot springs and climb slumbering volcanoes all in the same trip.Warning: this is no idle afternoon drive; this is an X-rated road trip.