Fresh air, great scenery and the open road - road trips are without a doubt one of the most incredible ways to travel. The freedom to go where you want, when you want, with unlimited adventures at the turn of a key.
As the saying goes it’s not about the destination, it’s the journey … so why not make it one to remember? With around 64 million kilometres of open roads, the journey can be a tricky one to choose, so here’s a few absolute must road trips to do whilst you’re young.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
The name says it all, if you’re looking for some incredible coastal views, this is the route for you. Extending 285km between Torquay and Warrnambool in south-western Victoria, the Great Ocean Road winds its way along some of the most scenic views around. The 4 hour drive comprises of dramatic cliff-hugging curves where mountains meet the deep blue ocean, a rainforest, beautiful national parks, rivers, waterfalls and SO MUCH native wildlife. And if you fancy taking a pit stop? The Southern ocean trail route offers wayyyyy more than your average gas station. Bushwalking, surfing, quaint seaside villages, galleries, museums and heritage attraction are just a few of the off road activities to choose from.
This 4 hour drive can soon turn into an unforgettable 4 days. Absolute MUSTS include visiting Bells Beach (made famous thanks to the surf flick ‘Point Break’) for a truly authentic surf stop, taking a dip at Apollo Bay (an extremely cute coastal village where you can also go horse or bike riding), seeing the Seals by Sea tour at Cape Bridgewater, swimming with dolphins at Queenscliff, and visiting the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Geelong Oh, and don’t forget to make time to stop at the Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks towering 65 meters above water.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Not one for the faint hearted, this route is not only insanely beautiful, it’s also one hell of an adventure. The unforgettable off-road camping trip takes 4 days, from Tupiza to the Salar de Uyuni in the country’s Wild West. Expect to see jagged cliffs in Tupiza, followed by the red, green and white lakes, sulphuric springs, small Andean communities, llamas and endless amounts of alpacas as you journey towards the world’s largest salt lake. Laguna Colorada, a bright red lake surrounded by thousands of pink flamingos, is one of the many spectacular scenic treats in store. But the highlight is most definitely Salar de Uyuni, an endless white desert contrasting with the deep blue skies, boasting some seriously hallucinating mirror reflections in the midst of absolute nothingness.
The Big Sur, USA
The holy grail of road trips, nothing quite compares to California cruising along the Big Sur. The 145km stretch winds through coastal cliffs above the blue ocean and sandy beaches of some of California’s most idyllic spots. Taking around 85 miles / a couple of hours the trip is fairly short, however there are a load of recommended spots to stop off on route. The 80ft waterfall of McWay Falls (south of Carmel), headlands trail across Pfeiffer Beach (which is around a 3 mile walk) and Point Lobos State Park are all recommended, but beware these places do get pretty busy so choose your timing wisely.
If you’re coming south from Monterey, be sure to stop at the Big Sur Bakery for some seriously tasty morning pastries. Oh, and if you really want to do this in style, renting out a Mustang is absolutely the way forward to make the most of the coastal views whilst soaking up the Cali rays with the roof down!
Highway 1, USA
And if you have a little more time on your hands? Why not hit up Highway 1, a scenic route that connects two of America’s greatest cities, from the cool neighbourhood of San Diego to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, plus a whole heap of incredible stops in-between. Expect surfer vibes in the classic beach town of Huntington Beach, shopping amongst A-List celebs in LA’s iconic Santa Monica Boulevard, vintage feels and Spanish architecture in Santa Barbra, various wineries, and then even more laid back beaches and surfing paradise in Camel, Monterey and Santa Cruz. Allow a fair few weeks to make the most of each of these amazing locations.
Route 1 (The Ring Road), Iceland
A landscape peppered with waterfalls, volcanoes, geo-thermal pools, glaciers, rugged snow-caped mountains, glacial lagoons and maybe even a glimpse of the northern lights deserves to be explored. Covering 800 miles along Route 1, this road trip pretty much takes you around the entire periphery of Iceland, and gets top marks in terms of dramatic landscapes. Just be mindful about the weather conditions and time of year you’re planning to travel and give yourself at least a week to make your way around the likes of the Blue Lagoon, glacier hiking, horseback riding, and stopping off in cute little Icelandic towns like Hveragerði.
Amalfi Coast Road, Italy
Pastel hillside villages, historic churches and dramatic coastlines make up the views along the famously winding roads of the Amalfi Coast. Deemed by UNESCO as “an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, with exceptional cultural and natural scenic values,” the coast was awarded a spot on the World Heritage list in 1997, and once you’ve driven along the 75 minute coastal road, you’ll understand why. Highlights include the emerald waters in the marine cave in Grotta dello Smeraldo, the lush gardens in Ravello and of course the colourful town of Amalfi itself.
Milford Road, New Zealand
Possibly the most scenic route on the planet, the Milford Road is all Lord of the Rings landscapes, snow powdered mountain tops and clear lakes. But this incredible landscape isn’t reserved exclusively for hobbit exploration, oh no, Milford Road is all yours to explore! This South West New Zealand beauty is 170km (75 miles) long and is home to the Fiordland National Park, rainforests, the surreal Eglington Valley (filled with glacier ice), the waterfalls of Milford Sound, Lake Gunn nature walks and the Mirror Lakes. If you’re driving along this route during the winter make sure you’re comfortable with some fairly slippery driving conditions as you strap up for one hell of an adventure…